With new classes, new touring dates, and new prizes up for grabs, 2016 promises to be one of the most exciting years in the history East Carolina Motor Speedway. Few people are more eager for the new year than East Carolina promoter John Vick.
“We’re excited about the 2016 season,” Vick said in an interview with Short Track Scene. “The momentum is building to this season.”
For their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the enthusiasm involves the addition of several classes to their regular Saturday night program, as well as an extra prize for their track champions.
“We added the Bomber class this season,” Vick said. “We’re getting ready to add the Chargers and Legends to the schedule.”
“And we’re running for rings this year,” Vick continued. “Not only will there be trophies, but the track champions will receive rings. The artwork is on our Facebook. They are absolutely beautiful.”
2016 will also mark the debut of two touring divisions at the Robersonville, North Carolina facility. Firstly, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model Tour will be making its maiden voyage to the 3/8-mile D-shaped oval on July 30.
“East Carolina used to run Super Late Models,” said Vick, referring to a time when Late Model Sportsman classes were a regular part of short tracks in the region. “All of our drivers, fans, everybody is excited to bring them back. And we hope to build on it and bring them back next year.”
Also for the first time ever, East Carolina Motor Speedway will play host to a NASCAR touring division in 2016. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will make its first trip to ECMS on September 3.
“Our fans and drivers are extremely excited,” Vick said about the Southern Modified Tour date. “Heck, I’m excited, because I get excited about everything. That’s going to be a great opportunity for the fans to come to our track.”
The East Carolina Motor Speedway weekly season will conclude with the 3rd Annual Ronnie Barnette Memorial. In last year’s event, Deac McCaskill claimed the 200-lap Late Model Stock feature. However, the race was moved to the first weekend in December after its initial November 7 date was a washout.
This year’s Ronnie Barnette Memorial is scheduled for September 17, which will allow the event to serve as their Whelen All-American Series finale while also giving them more flexibility if Mother Nature intervenes again.
“We’re trying to make our last race our biggest race,” Vick said about the date change. “Weather does play a part in eastern North Carolina, with both hurricanes and winter storms. We just want to get that race in and make it a huge success.”
There’s also plenty for Vick to be excited about off the track at East Carolina this year.
“Lizard Lick Towing will be kicking off our season opener [on April 16]. We’re going to have a big July 4th show with a concert and fireworks, with a big headliner we’ll announce in a couple of days, hopefully. And it will be a headliner.”
“We’ll be selling alcohol at the facility this year,” Vick added. “We’re redoing concessions, bringing in bologna burgers, other things you would expect at a race track.”
With all the changes coming to East Carolina Motor Speedway, it’s easy to see why Vick is excited for 2016.