We don’t know. That refers to the current (July 16, 2022 to “Maybe”, “Unknown” and “What…?”) situation and drama that is Natural Bridge Speedway.

The place has been around since the 1950s. However, there are some issues that are pulling at the calendar at this 3/8 mile clay oval. There are some definite facility issues. The drag strip has been down for a while and the chances of it coming back to speed are slight. The oval, which has been hosting a weekly schedule, is on the edge of an implosion. There are stories of staffing issues, deteriorating structure and facility components, race winners not being paid, security and/or safety concerns and just plain indifference to the racers and fans.

On top of all that, water in the infield facilities (such as it is) just isn’t…

Now… This is where it gets a little… weird. A few days before race day, (Saturday 7-16) some chatter opened up on the NBS Facebook page. (The website, by the way, has been off for a while… Like the infield water…) There was an announcement that a fellow, apparently native of the area, was stepping in as promoter / director. This man immediately made a show of his plans. There was Facebook Live (since deleted) and big promises. Driver payouts, things getting fixed, big plans in the works for big events, a truck show…

To Be Fair…

Te be fair… He seemed to have a wide range of support… On paper, anyway. The FB Live presentation went wide and wild and then there was another FB Live as a kind of rebuttal clarification on the first that also strained the guard rails of staying on topic.

By race day, it seems there were many bits of the strategy as presented that were scratched. We now know, or have been presented with, an “after event” narrative. Friday practice was scrubbed as no EMT/Ambulance was available. A scoring computer was missing… Radios that were, at best, vintage to start with, were inoperative and/or broken and missing… The infield water situation has already been mentioned… There were property tax issues (?)… Track treatment water trucks and the water supply for them… Tow vehicles…

For race day, it did start with a “truck show”. A hip-hop hi-rise truck show. Oddly cool but also seemingly out of place…? Just a bit.

Qualifying was scrubbed as timing and scoring was dependent on a computer that was either missing or simply inoperative. Starting order was determined by draw. Despite numerous declarations of a definite green at 7:00pm, the actual first race start go off about 20 minutes late.

Not bad… They got in the National Anthem.

Natural Bridge Speedway is a 3/8 mile clay-dirt track. The surface has been raced on, graded, conditioned, watered, compressed and raked for 60 years or so. In short, it is dirt track racing and it gets sideways fast.

The crowd was actually really good, as far as appearances go. The car count for racing was pretty good, also. The crates ran the largest field but there were enough in the other divisions for good runs. There were some spins… One went over the edge top of turns 3 – 4 (OK, it seems… The ambulance didn’t go hot…) A purple car chased a multi-color car… A little car fought a bigger tire…

The show on the track was quite good. The fans were engaged. The racing went off, for the most part, easily enough. Staging and out for the green flag was set with little confusion despite having no real radio communications. The end result, from a fan looking in standpoint and from what was witnessed, was an evening of very good racing.

The show leading up to the show might have had elements borrowed from a train wreck. As of this writing, the fellow who ran NBS for those few days quit the gig, decided not to quit the gig and was, apparently, removed from the gig and seems to be still talking about the gig.

Who is driving this train now…? How much money was spent…? Whose money…? We think the drivers and positions were paid so there is that… Is there racing this coming weekend…?

We have no idea… but here are some photos!

July 16th, 2022 at Natural Bridge Speedway.

OK. This one was a bit out of “roaming range” for the average weekend. However, Winchester Speedway hosted United Racing Club Winged Sprints and we were already in the area for other business. The Sprints gave us a convenient excuse to skip out and check out the racing at Winchester. We wanted to check the contrast of the paved MSR Sprints we witnessed at South Boston with the dirt action for the URC Sprint cars. Winchester racing did not disappoint.

URC Sprints taking off at Winchester Speedway

URC Sprints were guests sharing the track with Limited Late Model, Mid Atlantic Modified and UCar with Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association events. The evening racing was sponsored by J & D Truck And Auto Repair, also located in Winchester.

We picked a pretty good night to visit. Each of the classes for racing put double digit entries on the track with multiple groups of practice and heat races to give fans a good preview for the features. The stands were filling up as teams warmed up. The larger seating held the announcer tower centered on the concrete bleachers on the flag tower and start / finish front stretch. A smaller set of bleachers were opposite on the back stretch but also gave a bit of a view of staging and team work areas.

Now… Let’s take a minute here. Racing at Winchester goes back to 1936 running almost side by side with the local airport. It has passed through several hands to the current owner, Greg Gunter, who also owns a popular honey outlet in the area. The concrete bleachers were built in the early 1970s. To be straight, the restrooms and some of the lower areas under the stands could use a makeover. However, like many local tracks, the focus on attracting drivers and cars to race to keep fans in the seats is a balancing act of available funds so some things are on a persistent “to do” list.

There is very little in the infield at Winchester. There is a basic inspection rollover and no buildings at all. The water equipment for track prep, tow / push vehicles, emergency ambulance crew and a couple of porta-johns are about it. A few of the UCars made the base inside but most, including the Late Models, Modified and Sprints were all staged in a much larger area outside of the back stretch and turn 3.

It should also be noted the local fans who populated the stands on this warm, May evening did not seem concerned about anything but the show on the track. Events and timing went fairly smoothly, for the most part. The start of the features were a bit off as the schedule was juggled and some did not get the memo but once the track went hot it went off well.

Three wide Late Model racing at Winchester Speedway

Racing is quick on these dirt tracks. Winchester is no different. Drivers had to make every effort in the heats to make a good start in the feature. Racing was close and drivers made use of multiple lines to get around. Of course there were some spins and one UCar driver went end over top but came out OK. For an evening of racing, the dirt at Winchester offers a good show. An open mind on expectations of the rest rooms may help, but the racing…? The racing is fast, close and lap to lap action keeps the eyes on the track. It’s worth a run to check out some racing at Winchester.

Results from J&D Auto-Truck Repair Night at Winchester Speedway.

URC Sprint Feature One

  • Josh Weller
  • Jason Shultz
  • Adam Carberry

URC Sprint Feature Two

  • Kevin Darling
  • Jake Karklin
  • Andy Best

SCDRA / UCAR

  • Andrew Hoffner
  • Robbie Carrol
  • Jason Jarvis
  • Shawn Payne
  • Rusty Poston

Limited Late Model

  • Wesley Bonebrake
  • Jonathan DeHaven
  • Justin Fulton
  • Bubby Tharp Jr
  • Craig Parrill
  • Levi Crowl

Mid-Atlantic Modified

  • Andy Anderson
  • Michael Altobelli Jr
  • Rick Hulson
  • TJ DeHaven
  • Justin Cullum
  • Mike Franklin

Full Photo Gallery Below

PHOTOS from Winchester Speedway – *Photos are display / showcase purposes only* Images available for sale from the evening may be purchased from official source: WRT Speedwerx

A visit overdue, perhaps. One of the race tracks within an easy distance which has been on the list but not visited has now been crossed off the list.

Natural Bridge Speedway. A dirt track close to the natural formation and park which holds the namesake. Racing has been going on there since the 1950’s. A visit was well overdue and when the track posted a November event, plans were put in motion. Some quick inquiries to the track were made and the visit was set.

The forecast turned from a pleasant Friday to a sunny, but very cool, Saturday. Forecast had evening temperatures in the 30s. OK fine… some gloves and long johns and off we go.

A dirt track is a different animal from the usual for Missed Gear. After this visit there should be more. Not just to NBS but others in Virginia. However, Wythe is 2 hours and Virginia Motor Speedway is even further in the opposite direction. Natural Bridge is around 40 minutes. With that, next season should bring more visits to NBS. If nothing else but to get more acquainted with the cars, styles and drivers of dirt tracks.

The afternoon and evening went off, to be fair, a little rough. A schedule was, apparently, somewhere. Times for practice, qualifying and green flag racing were a little loose for interpretation. However, we did learn that new owners were still working to get the kinks worked out and this race was another chance to roll through an event before the 2022 season.

Like paved ovals, the dirt track ran Late Model, Sportsman, Street Stock, Pure Stock and UCar. Some look the same as the paved track counterparts but the Late Model and Sportsman have very disticntive body styles for sideways power sliding through the turns. Pointed and angled front sections keep the nose down through the turns while the raised and open rear sections allow the cars to get in close in the slides. Overall, it is an exciting form of racing with close quarters and sideways action in every turn.

As of this writing we’re not really sure who won each division. Getting a feel for the action of dirt racing and the layout and flow of the track was a priority on this visit. Knowing the flow of a hot track with infield motion is a necessity for everyone’s safety. For the next visit we’ll be that much more ahead of curve.

For now, a photo gallery of our first visit to Natural Bridge Speedway is below.

Where to go for racing this weekend? Your options are kind of wide open for May 21-23… However, you might want to pack the sunscreen for the day events. It’s forecast to be quite a burner. Beyond that, make sure you have some gas. (If it were up to us, we’d throw every resource at finding the ransomware perps and drop a little gift on them courtesy of the US Air Force… But that’s us…)

(Oh… We’d also save some left-over Covid toilet paper to highlight the yards of every idiot that put gas in plastic bags, storage totes and Tupperware. Face it, you’re dragging us all down with your stupidity…)

Late Models, Super Stocks, Dirt Mods… They are all running! Highlights for the weekend are on two wheels this weekend. Virginia International Raceway is hosting Moto America with 3 days of high speed and low leans on the road course. This is the first open fan event of the season for VIR! Virginia Motorsports Park is straight-lining it with XDA Drag Bikes.

Dominion Raceway, Motor Mile Speedway, Langley Speedway and Lonesome Pine are hosting Late Models, Sportsman, Super Trucks, UCars and more. Motor Mile even has NASCAR Champion and Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace hosting and signing autographs!

Virginia Motor Speedway, Wythe Raceway and Natural Bridge are slinging dirt with side by side, sideways action. The dirt tracks are hosting great events with some of the best racing in Virginia!

It does not matter what style of racing you prefer or where you are located… There is racing within your window of opportunity. It is forecast to be a little warm this weekend so hydrate, gas up and go racing!