The “Motor Mile” name change is coming around to all aspects of the Radford, VA race facility. As with any change like this, it takes a little time for all the pieces to fall into place. The oval track had taken the name “Pulaski County Motorsports Park” early on this year (2023). With that was also the kart track and the “Rusty Wallace Racing Experience” availability for fans to get a taste of driving a stock car.

The drag strip took a little more time to show the new colors. The oval and strip are still separated with website domains but the “Pulaski County” moniker is now on both web and social media sites.

Schedules are full for both sides and all that is needed is a little more local support.

With that, we took a day to visit the strip during an “IHRA Sportsman Spectacular” event. The International Hot Rod Association has gone through some changes itself but the sponsors and participants are pushing forward with a charge.

There were plenty of entrants and variety of division and body style. Performance was tested up front with paired racing later in the day balanced with some handicap applied to starts. The “Sportsman Spectacular” did deliver over the day. It is all too easy for this format of racing to fall behind but the event flowed easy enough.

Well… The rain delay did hold things a bit… A bit over an hour… But they ran it well up to the next rain… Sunday may have a little more on the schedule…

The point is that racing is on at the drag strip side of Pulaski County Motorsports Park. The variety on the schedule and the level of competition is often on the edge. There is plenty of time left this season to make your way there.

On that… The last Thursday in July is a national showcase of the facility and the region as the Superstar Racing Experience comes to the oval. This will be the 3rd SRX race of the 2023 season and sure to be a “must see” for race fans.

The trick will be to push that attention into the remainder of the Pulaski County Motorsports Park season. Come on out and enjoy some “home town” racing.

Photos: IHRA Sportsman Spectacular – Saturday, July 15, 2023 – Pulaski County Motorsports Park

The weekend of June 4 was a bit wide open for short track racing. The choices were all open. The dirt at Natural Bridge or Wythe was on and South Boston was running a “triple crown” preview for the upcoming Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200.

However… Motor Mile in Radford was running hot on two levels. The Saturday night speedway action for June 4 Heroes Night presented twin Late Models and Limited Sportsman races with Super Street, U-Car and Pure-4. The oval action had fast company with a full weekend running the straight line on the drag strip. Motor Mile Dragway also had a full paddock so the choice was made to double down in Radford,

The Drag Strip is running a full local schedule for 2022 so there is time to catch it. Friday Night Fury and Brackets are on tap into August with local street challenges and more sprinkled in. The paddock and staging has a large area for competitors with a call tower and VIP suite at the start line. There is plenty of seating on both sides of the lanes for spectators. We had a window to check it out before action got started at the oval.

Test and tune went off Friday with the Brackets getting on Saturday and into Sunday. It took a few runs and some questions to get it straight but we caught up. The variety of racing was wide open. Classics, vintage and street were all mixed in during the day while the oval was getting the teams to the infield. There were even some juniors racing and they were just as quick on the throttle as the adults. This will be on the list for a follow up visit.

Motor Mile Dragway – June 4, 2022 – Photo Gallery

The oval at Motor Mile Speedway was set for a full Saturday evening beginning with a tribute to all who have served in the military and in public safety. Racing went off on the evening schedule on time but quickly set the stage for some excitement. Points racing for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series was on tap with support series filling the schedule.

The “Total Car Care” Mod-4 were shaken up under the green flag as Jonathan Hall got turned around on the start. The restart came off OK and, despite a banged up race car, Jonathan Hall managed a third place finish. Doodle Lang put his #22 in Victory Lane as Kevin Canter came in second.

The next challenge ran the first of two Collision Plus Limited Sportsman races. The finish was not much different from the start. There were some deep challenges but most fell back as the top three at the finish started in the top four positions. The winner, Daryn Cockram, also started on the pole. Karl Budzevski and Jacob Porter finished second and third. Brad Foy, who started outside of Cockram, fell back a bit to hold sixth at the end.

For Super Street, presented at Motor Mile by DCT Towing, brought the challenge as the front starters fought for position early on. Daniel Eakin and Scooter Hollandsworth were close but the #16 of Hollandsworth lost some tack and fell back. Hard charging a few spots back, Bryce Blake managed to climb up for a second place finish behind Eakin. Scooter held on for third.

We’re mid-season at Motor Mile and the Price’s Body Shop Late Model division is showing signs of growth. A track this size with this kind of facility should be drawing more drivers. Granted… Late Model racing is not a cheap run but for southwest Virginia there is not a lot of racing but for the dirt at Wythe and some hot laps in coal country at Lonesome Pine. So… Bring it on!

For the first of the twin 50 lap features, it was another front challenge for Kyle Dydley and Mike Looney. Bryan Reedy started on pole but couldn’t keep the chargers in the mirrors as Cory Dunn made it by. Dunn and Looney raced the front for several laps but a fiery caution brought the race to a stop. Zeke Shell likely had a fluid leak that sparked up into a front end fire in turns three and four. Shell came out of the #1 OK but was out for this one. The restart allowed Kyle Dudley to get back into the challenge and as the final laps wound out, Dunn fell back to third as Dudley and Looney traded the front by bumper lengths. For race one, it was Dudley, Looney and Dunn in first, second and third. Pole starter Reedy put the #17 in for fourth.

The second Collision Plus Limited Sportsman event rolled out and shook up. The field chased the front from the mid and forward. The pole starter, Drew Bond, fell back to fifth at the finish. Karl Budzevski took the win as Dale Cline and Jacob Porter came across the line in second and third.

With racing well under the lights, the Blue Ridge Church U-Car / Pure 4 combined to make a couple of restarts to get around for lap one. At the finish, it was Cary Thomason on top for UCar and William Hale took the top spot in Pure-4.

The final feature of the evening brought the Price’s Body Shop Late Models back to the track. Early racing bunched up in turn three and four and the attrition for late racing began. Kyle Dudley, who had won the first Late Model feature, got jammed up in it and was out of the contest. With Dudley out, the front was contested by Mike Looney and Cory Dunn but it was Looney that held the lead at the end. Dunn held the second and Bryan Reedy came up for third.

Motor Mile Speedway – Heroes Night – June 4, 2022 – Full Gallery

France. For Americans, France is not top of mind for racing until it comes time for 24 Hours of Le Mans or Formula 1 at Monaco. (Yes, Monaco is actually its own entity but you can only get there along the French Riviera “really rich” or by sea “really, really, really rich”).

Most are unaware of rally sport racing which is practically as common in Europe as short track late model racing is here in America. From open wheel to motorcycles, France has hosted a long history in motor sport. However, as Americans, we rarely acknowledge it. Most of us relegate France to some big, bicycle race that was cool while our guy was over there kicking it only to be kicked himself for dope cheating (another time).

A brief look at French racing sets the stage as an introduction to a man who now makes Roanoke his home. He has a bit of a wheel man background, he is a respected professional photographer in the area and continues to be fascinated by speed.

Early 1990s France – Flathead Hot Rod photo by Benoit Pigeon
France – Hot Rod road trip with Benoit Pigeon
France – Roadside Hot Rod – Photo by Benoit Pigeon

Benoit Pigeon is, at first glance, a humble and reserved gentleman. As a photographer, his professional focus is also a bit reserved. He very well may be the “go to” camera man for product photography in the region. Furniture, jewelry, industrial, electronics… And yes, cars!

It is quite likely you’ve seen his work on billboards and other advertising in the area. He has a long history with furniture manufacturers and retail centers. He has the required eye for detail and lighting which is essential for making even the most mundane stand out. For his automotive images he takes this attention to detail down to the highlight bouncing off the smallest bit of chrome.

As a driver, he is a family man and a business man so, yes, he has a mini van. However, as he was coming of age back in France, his driving instruction included hands on lessons from Maïté Poussin and husband Jaques Poussin. Benoit was getting first hand driving lessons from rally-cross champions! During this time he was working at a Renault automotive shop which was also an Alpine dealer which catered to sports car enthusiasts. His fascination with cars was being further reinforced. His first race experience was a visit as a kid to a drag race event in southern France. Later, in the mid-1980s, he visited a drag racing school in Florida. He garnered some funny car and dragster track time which led to a magazine article on the experience.

Florida – Drag Racing School – Benoit Pigeon getting wheel time on the strip

Benoit even pulled a stint with French car manufacturer, Citroen, driving and testing at LaFerte Vidame where Peugeot / Citroen has a private track. The area of the historic palace and fortress with the track close by has been host to car shows and races.

He still had his photography interest floating in his mind and attended photography school, which set his path to land in Roanoke. He met the woman who would be his wife while she was attending a close by university. This led him to America. New York, to be specific. He worked at a custom, professional photographers’ photo lab. From New York, he came to Roanoke and camera / photo store Ewald Clark and then to became a working photographer at Moody Graphics.

He went on his own, developing clients from known associates and expanding his experience as he went, He came to New York in ’92 and has been running his own commercial photography business in Roanoke since 2005.

For racing, Benoit has an impressive resume and his work has been featured in varied print and online outlets. His knowledge of photography and the nature of racing at a drag strip is a key to his image quality. There really is only one chance to grab the shots as those cars power off that line. Watching the lights and the tires compress and feeling the vibrations from the engines all calculate to the timing of clicking off the shutter. His photos bring you into his view and his world within a fraction of a second.

Cover and feature photos in RPM magazine by Benoit Pigeon

He’s very good at it. He has also developed a reputation for shooting and showcasing the cars for their owners. From specified highlight photos for an article or wall art photos of clients’ cars, Benoit Pigeon has the eye and experience to get it done beautifully.

Benoit’s commercial website: Pigeon Photography
Find more race photos: Bang Shift online

Benoit Pigeon – Micro Gallery