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Southern National Motorsports Park Reopening; Thanksgiving Classic Returns

The Thanksgiving Classic, one of Late Model Stock Car racing’s most prestigious races, will return in 2021

Andy Marquis | STS

One of Late Model Stock Car racing’s crown jewel events is returning in 2021.

The Thanksgiving Classic will be contested at the high-banked, 4/10-mile Southern National Motorsports Park complex in Lucama, North Carolina in November and Southern National Motorsports Park will reopen to spectators in June – the first time the grandstands have been open at the track since a CARS Tour race in March 2020.

The 2019 running of the Thanksgiving Classic was postponed to March 2020 while the 2020 running of the race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Diaz confirmed to Short Track Scene, and on Facebook, that the Thanksgiving Classic would be back and, contrary to rumors, the track will be reopening in June when the ARCA Menards Series East heads to the track for the first time in series history.

“Southern National Motorsports Park fans are the best,” Diaz told Short Track Scene.  “They have been real patient with me and I appreciate that.  Most know that we are only running a few select dates this season because I am focusing on Mason’s racing this season a little more and my daughter’s graduation from college.  It takes my whole family to run the track and I need to focus on them this year.”

Diaz’s son, Mason, races full-time in the ARCA Menards Series East and Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour.  His daughter, Trinity, is graduating from The George Washington University in May with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Sports Management.

The 2021 season will begin on Saturday, June 12th when the ARCA Menards Series East along with the Southern Ground Pounders Vintage Racing Club and East Coast Flathead Ford Racing Association – as well as another class to be announced.  The following day, Limited Late Models will headline racing.

Southern National also has dates planned for July 24 (CMD Drift), July 31 (Monster Trucks), August 14 (MASS Street Stocks), September 19, October 9 (Carolina Mini Stock Challenge), and October 31.  Another race will be held in July with a date to be announced in the coming days.

The Thanksgiving Classic will be run on its usual Thanksgiving weekend with the main event, a 200-lap Late Model Stock Car race, running on November 28.  Ordinarily, the Thanksgiving Classic is the conclusion of the season for Late Model Stock Car racing, but Carteret County Speedway has already announced a race set for December 14.

Southern National Motorsports Park ran a handful of races in 2020 with general admission grandstands closed in accordance with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines relating to COVID-19.  The track was able to have fans watch from one of the over 180 trackside spots that wrap around the racetrack.

While the Thanksgiving Classic was canceled, Southern National Motorsports Park did host one of the biggest moments of the season last year when Josh Berry clinched the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship on a Sunday afternoon in October by sweeping twin races.

Marquis comes from St. Charles, Maryland and has a widespread background in journalism, having covered politics in Washington and Maryland as well as nearly every form of auto racing, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA Motocross and IHRA Drag Racing. Now living near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Marquis covers Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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