Rockingham Raceway Park pre-race notes

Carolina 500 Ready to Roll at "The Rock" ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (May 1, 2008) -- The Carolina 500 weekend is just a day away, and it will be a record breaking weekend of racing with plenty of celebrities participating in the...

Carolina 500 Ready to Roll at "The Rock"

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (May 1, 2008) -- The Carolina 500 weekend is just a day away, and it will be a record breaking weekend of racing with plenty of celebrities participating in the reopening of "The Rock".

When championship driver Tony Stewart waves the green flag on Sunday, the 50-car ARCA RE/MAX Series field will be racing for the richest purse in ARCA's 56-year history -- more than $324,000. Oh, by the way, 50 cars is the largest starting field in the ARCA RE/MAX Series modern era.

Stewart's two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Greg Zipadelli will lead the field to the green flag, driving the pace car just after country music star Josh Gracin sings the national anthem.

Celebrities will not only participate in pre-race activities, but post-race as well. The race winner will receive the trophy from "The World's Strongest Redneck," Steve McGranahan. The North Carolina native possesses the world record for ripping 11 decks of cards in 28 seconds with his teeth and one hand. McGranahan has appeared on numerous TV shows, including "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and "Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge".

Veteran Drivers Vs. Young Guns

The Carolina 500 will be an interesting competition between ARCA RE/MAX Series veterans and young drivers looking to make a name for themselves. Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner Ken Schrader, nine- time and defending ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel and five-time Daytona race winner Bobby Gerhart lead the veterans gunning for the checkered flag.

Among the Young Guns looking to steal the veterans' thunder are: Joey Logano, who will make his ARCA debut at age 17; Austin Dillon, 16-year old grandson of NASCAR championship team owner Richard Childress, who will take his S.A.T. exams Saturday before qualifying; Bill Davis Racing development driver Michael Annett; and Roush-Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Current point leader Matt Carter, the son of Travis Carter, who was the crew chief for then Ellerbe, N.C., resident Benny Parsons when he won the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship at Rockingham, will be seeking his first series victory this weekend.

Free Parking

Parking is free on Rockingham Speedway property. Just follow the signs along the roads leading to the track and follow the directions of the parking attendants. No charge!

Thunder Cup -- PBG Classic Race

On Saturday at approximately 3:15 p.m., the exciting Thunder Cup Cars will run a 20-lap race at Rockingham Speedway -- the PBG Classic at The Rock. This race is a part of the King of the Oval Series where the top-two finishers in points receive an invitation to compete against other Thunder Cup competitors for an ARCA race later in the year.

The INEX Race to the Top Challenge will reward one Thunder Cup Car [formerly Thunder Roadster] competitor a chance to compete in a 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series event in a fully-funded entry.

The recipient will be the winner of the invitation-only Top Challenge Thunder Cup race at Elko [Minn.] Speedway during the Oct. 2-4 RACEceiver Legends and Thunder Roadster Asphalt Nationals.

Twelve Thunder Cup competitors will receive invitations to the event through competition in their regional Race to the Top Thunder Roadster Series. There will be six regions with two drivers from each region receiving invitations to compete in the Top Challenge. The regions are North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Nevada and Northern California.

Pre-Race Pit Tours

Any fan who would like to get a close-up view of the action before the Carolina 500 starts may do so by participating in a pre-race pit tour. Sunday, starting at 8 a.m., grandstand ticket holders can purchase a pre-race tour for only $10 per person that allows access onto the race track and pit road until 10 a.m.

Be sure to arrive early on Sunday to beat the traffic and see the action up close.

Pre-race passes may purchased at the turn 1 crossover gate at the bottom of Grandstand Section 29. Just look for the access gate leading onto the track.

Benny Parsons Tower

During pre-race ceremonies, Rockingham Speedway will honor one of NASCAR's greats -- former Ellerbe, N.C., resident, Benny Parsons. Don't miss this special ceremony and help us remember a legend.

Special Kids Pricing

Due to popular demand, Rockingham Speedway has added children's ticket prices for Sunday's Carolina 500. Children were already half price for Savage Energy Pole day -- only $5 for two rounds of qualifying, a Thunder Roadster race and ARCA RE/MAX Series driver autograph sessions. Now, children 12n years and younger will be admitted into the infield for only $5 on Sunday. There will be unreserved bleachers in the infield and plenty of space for lawn chairs and blankets for families wishing to see the race.

On-track activities begin Friday, May 2,, at 2 p.m. with practice for the Carolina 500. Grandstand admission is free. Savage Energy Pole Day is set for Saturday, May 3, with the first round of qualifying at 10 a.m. The second-round of qualifying is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Stewart will wave the green flag to start the Carolina 500 on Sunday, May 4, at noon.

For more information or to order tickets for the May 4 ARCA RE/MAX Series Carolina 500 and the Nov. 1 Hooters Pro Cup American 200, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our Web site at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.

-credit: rs

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ken Schrader , Frank Kimmel , Bobby Gerhart , Steve Harvey , Benny Parsons , Michael Annett , Jay Leno , Austin Dillon
Teams Bill Davis Racing