June 1, 2023 1:25 pm
This past weekend, NASCAR racing returned at North Wilkesboro Speedway something that a lot of fans here in North Carolina didn’t expect to happen. Jeremy Markovich of NC Rabbit Hold covered the All-Star race and shared his experience of the event with Hayes Permar. He discussed how the track almost had a Cameron Indoor Stadium effect due to you being so close to the action and making it more intimate.
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Hayes Permark filling in to Adam Gold can watch golf or soccer and or both for the next couple days.
Graham Hill producing the show. As we mentioned there are cool local sporting events going on in North Carolina. Right now they are both of them are centered near the Triangle V Soccer Tournament over in Cary. Corn Ferry Tour Stop in Raleigh over at Raleigh Country Club. Another super cool sporting event took place in our state this past weekend.
There's a little bit of rain for some of the events but we did get a NASCAR All-Star race in at North Wilkesboro Speedway which is something many people thought they would never see. Here to talk about that phenomenon from the NC Rabbit Hole which you need to be following, subscribing and if you can be a paid subscriber okay do the right thing. Check out NC Rabbit Hole and check him out on Twitter at Deftly Nain. It is the North Wilkesboro Speedway Whisperer Jeremy Markovich. How are you doing man?
I'm great hope you are. All right I am curious have you written about a subject more than the North Wilkesboro Speedway? And that sounds like a mocking question but I think it's it's a very cool story and it has given you reasons to continue writing about it but I'm just curious is this your most contented topic?
I think I have written about two subjects if not more at least that much. One was another weird magical thing which was back in I don't know like almost like 10 years now a couple of guys hanging around Charlotte were like hey you know what we ought to do we ought to like make some full court press to change the Charlotte bobcat's name to the Hornets. Everybody's like that's never going to happen and then it did so I wrote about that quite a bit back in the day and there's also if Charlotte OG Charlotte folks will know there used to be a restaurant there it's actually still there but in a different form called the Penguin.
I covered that for some reason for like 10 years in fact I was getting calls like two years ago from people like have you heard about this thing that's happening over there now and I'm like what I'm still on the beat so I have written about a lot of things but this is something that's been near and dear to my heart for for like a decade now. All right a top three most covered story for Jeremy Markovich all-time so let's just start there what you'd been you'd seen racing happen there because there had been a race there a little bit ago I get my categories and names confused you can keep you straight on that but what what felt different about a NASCAR all-star race there than just seeing racing in general back at North Wilkesboro? I think it was just like a stamp of legitimacy over the years North Wilkesboro has been has just been empty I mean anybody who's driven by there you know up until recently excuse me has known that it's been there's nothing going on there and there have been attempts over the years to get things back and the issue was always that you didn't really have the owner's approval right like the owner for a very long time was Bruton Smith. Bruton Smith really didn't want to do anything there so nothing happened there and you had some people trying to make a go of it but like in general the short track racing business is a tough business to be in so unless you have the owner of the track someone with deep pockets who's interested in making it happen it's probably not going to happen and the thing that changed was he was really interested in making it happen Marcus Smith really fell in love with sort of the possibility of that place and anybody who's been there and his was there back in the day and was has been there for these races knows that it's a completely different experience that you get at any other kind of cup race right it's small it's very intimate it's very you feel very close and one of the things that the reporters and drivers that were there were saying was like look people here are super into it like at bigger tracks sometimes like the driver introductions people kind of ignore that there they were all in they were all over and they felt like they were right there in front of you which literally they were I was standing there like the closeness to all of the racing there was another thing about it so I mean it was just it was just amazing to see what happened last August when you know late models raced there and Dale Jr. raced there and then just to watch all of the kind of the pageantry of NASCAR be there it was a very surreal experience just to see that in that place.
It is Jeremy Markovich check out the NC Rabbit Hole you can see a story he wrote you know right afterwards and I thought it was cool because it was kind of two parts like I don't even know what to say but also you kind of threaded a pretty cool story in there that I'll let people go read of you touched on some there but I thought you summed it up kind of nicely at the end. My question in reading it I got the impression of North Wilkes-Barre Speedway almost as a Cameron indoor stadium of NASCAR where like Duke is the number one brand in college basketball and there's no reason if they wanted to they could probably build a 40,000 seat stadium and sell at least 35,000 of them a lot of times and many times sell it out and make a lot more and make a lot more money but somebody wisely has said wait a minute we'd be giving up what what it is and then it wouldn't be the same if we you know went to 15 or 18 or 20,000 whatever is it that kind of feel with North Wilkes-Barre and do you think that's the the atmosphere that they create and and tout going forward? I mean I think it is I mean you you you don't have that closeness in some of the great races that you do have I mean like Daytona and the Indianapolis 500 that we just saw even Charlotte's a great environment for a race but it's you know those are gigantic huge tracks and there the racing is obviously very very different those are super speedways where the speeds are much higher and the strategy is a lot different. At North Wilkes-Barre I mean it's close it's tough it's a it's tough on the drivers um you have to be a really good driver to win at North Wilkes-Barre and as we saw like Kyle Larson figured it out like he was the dude who got like oh yeah he cracked the formula and he just mopped the floor with everybody so you you you have that and it's a different kind of racing it's a different kind of feel and I think one of the other interesting things about North Wilkes-Barre too is just a place is you know it's not like it's not like uh NASCAR has has been sort of like has changed recently I think everybody kind of looks back in the 90s and the big expansion and and the era that that that closed places like North Wilkes-Barre and Rockingham um as saying like look you know NASCAR kind of got out over its skis a little bit too far they went to markets that weren't traditionally racing markets and they went to places that aren't weren't weren't all about racing and kind of got away from its roots um but it had been moving toward the super speedway era since the 60s so it's not like that was a new phenomenon what is new is a couple of things one is that TV money is now much of a bigger part of the equation than just straight up ticket sales like back in the day all of you know you had to sell tickets that's how you made money now television makes a gigantic amount of money for not only the speedway the the NASCAR and its drivers but also the tracks and then something else that a really smart guy Jim Utter who writes for motorsports.com told me was that the pandemic really changed the equation for things because now you can't have you know at least initially you couldn't have fans and so what what could you do if you went to a place where you weren't necessarily thinking like how many people can I pack into this place it allowed things like you know racing in in the LA Coliseum it it kind of gave rise to things like having a dirt race at Bristol and and and it said like hey you know what we could actually make this work in North Wilkes-Barreau it's important that we get a lot of people in there but if if if it looks good on TV and we're making many that way why not do something that is objectively cool like having a race at a heritage racetrack that has been literally dead for 25 years. Very cool Jeremy Markowitz joining us check out the NC Rabbit Hole. A piece of this story that really spoke to me was somebody had to have enough money to sink to sink some money into a thing that was going to take some money being sunk into it and realizing that that's going to be the case and the vision though is that maybe long term it actually can be a profitable venture and and just in my own you know personal experience that that spoke to me at this time right now I've tried to you know bring life to something that might cost you a little bit to get started but more importantly what is the next possible step for the Speedway to me it seems like and I know I don't know the rules of who gets to pick where the all-star race is but but like why do I do the all-star race there every year it seems like the perfect event it's not quite it's as it's as we're seeing in other professional sports events all-star things are kind of hard to hold a lot of attention and drivers sometimes are like I'd rather have more relaxing week so you're keeping them close to Charlotte where a lot of them live it's more of a spectacle than an actual event that matters like I'd vote for make that the all-star and then if you're a true NASCAR fan maybe you don't go every year but we're like hey we've never been to North Wilkes-Barre that's an experience like we got to do that one time is that a possibility or what what are the next options for for the track well I think there's two there's two sort of parallel things that they're looking at one is when you talk about racing you want to get all you want to just bring all you want to just bring more racing back to that facility I think people are now kind of have fallen in love with the potential of that place and so you're going to get a lot more of these like lower kind of minor league circuits late models you might maybe you know the truck race there was actually pretty good that I watched on that Saturday you're going to get some more of that and I think like to get that going you know there are some ideas for like Marcus Smith was asked are they going to repave the track are they going to make because the current surface they were racing on was from 1981 like before the race Petty and Waltrip were both like you know what like we raced on this actual track like this is the same pavement that we raced on some of the drivers have kind of said you know what like it makes it challenging like tire wear is really a big part of that but maybe paving or doing a little bit of something there to make the racing a little better and improving that they've already got the safety features in place the infrastructure is already in place now maybe do some stuff that maybe makes the racing a little bit more exciting than it's been in the past the other track that is there that I think everybody is very aware of and if you talk to anybody is that this place is going to have to exist as more than just a race track that you race at occasionally you know talking about holding that place as a concert venue having events there having all kinds of things there car shows the fact that it's back open and and it's going to be like a working venue again that means that you can kind of you any idea the sky's the limit I mean Terry Parsons who was really the one of the people one of the many people in Wilkes County who pushed very hard to make this happen to get racing back and to get the track back open again has said that they you know she told me a while back that they have enough ideas to do things at the track for the next two to three years so it's not just racing it's going to be all kinds of stuff that's coming there and it's going to be exciting to see what they do there because again you know not everybody's a race fan even in Wilkes County people love racing there but it's maybe maybe you don't like racing but you might go see a concert there you might go see a car show there's the sky's the limit there and now that they have this great venue there they just get to figure out what to do with it it's it's kind of a great problem to have my final question for Jeremy Markovich when you and Ryan McGee get together I noticed you you name checked utter and gluck no Ryan McGee love in your story I'm very disappointed about that but uh I am too but when when when you and when you and McGee get together and write uh the book about North Wilkes-Barre Speedway what's it gonna be called oh man uh I you know I mean it's like I don't know like the the strange afterlife of a Scooby-Doo racetrack that that came back to life like it really we're gonna have to work on that Jeremy we have to work on it yeah I wasn't ready for this I know I shouldn't put you on the spot because you you will come up with a good one I just it's hard when you're doing it live on radio but I know by the way I looked for McGee I couldn't find him I found gluck I found utter I found okay I'll put I'll put this on McGee where were you McGee was he at SEC meeting uh SEC meetings or something following around for a quote no that man gets around he did not get around to finding me at the track but that's okay I was trying to find we'll we'll cross paths and make them and get a better book title for you yeah excellent Jeremy Markovich check out the NC Rabbit Hole do the right thing be a paid subscriber to support his great work um he tells some awesome stories in North Carolina oftentimes colliding with sports because we have a great sports history um Jeremy thanks so much for the time man talk to you soon thanks for having me the new Chevy Silverado HD puts you in command own strength with its enhanced available Duramax 6.6 liter turbo diesel v8 own the lake with its available advanced towing technology and own technology with an available 13.4 inch diagonal touch screen the new Chevy Silverado HD own work own play own life learn more at chevy.com find new roads Chevrolet
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-01 15:05:13 / 2023-06-01 15:11:50 / 7