It’s been nine years since Steve Zacharias began his job as general manager at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
In that time he’s seen the track grow to new heights, and even helped win a championship himself.
Now, Zacharias is planning for his next move as he prepares for the final races at the track.
Zacharias moved to Myrtle Beach from Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2012 when the new owners at Myrtle Beach Speedway – a NASCAR-sanctioned 0.538-mile semi-banked asphalt oval track in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – asked him to join the track as GM.
Zacharias has a lot of memories at the track he’s called home for nearly a decade.
“It’s been a lot of work but we finally got it where it’s supposed to be,” he said. “And unfortunately, she comes to an end in a couple weeks.”
Myrtle Beach Speedway will close for good at the end of this month after hosting races for 62 years.
When Zacharias took over GM duties, he was a former driver himself who started racing when he was 5 years old.
The new GM worked to bring more events to the track, like a county fair, monster trucks, and car shows. He also tried to get the car count up for the weekly racing series. After a lot of work, Myrtle Beach has averaged about 18 cars in every division for the last four years, Zacharias said.
“Its’ been fun. It’s been hard work for sure,” he said. “We started off where we didn’t really have many events, didn’t have much car count. We had to put a lot of effort into gaining strength in the facility to get everything stable.
In 2017, after one of his good friends, Terry Evans, was killed in a car accident going home from the track on August 2 of that year, Zacharias got back behind the wheel of a race car, finishing Evans’s season in Myrtle Beach’s super trucks division as a way to honor his friend.
“He was leading the points when I took over and I drove his truck for one year and we won a championship to kind of finish off what he started,” Zacharias said.
It was the people Zacharias met at Myrtle Beach that will provide him with the best memories.
“I keep telling everybody, the biggest thing I take from here is the friendships and the group that we’ve created, race-wise,” he said. “We’ve all become a family and we know each other from the late model division all the way down to the vintage series. We’ve all been together for the last nine years. Taking that and carrying it on to the next thing is most important.”
Zacharias won’t be away from the race track for long. He and two others from Myrtle Beach – Brian Vause and Savannah Brotherton – recently took ownership of Florence Motor Speedway, about an hour-and-a-half north in Florence, South Carolina. The trio hopes to continue what they were doing at Myrtle Beach and just move it up the state a few miles.
“I think we learned a lot while we’ve been here,” Zacharias said. “To try to reinvent the wheel right now is probably not the smartest move so we’re going to just pick up what we have here and just plop it down where Florence Motor Speedway is now.”
Zacharias hopes to make Florence a NASCAR-sanctioned track in 2021. The new owners’ first race at Florence will take place on September 4.
Myrtle Beach will host its final race on August 15. The Sun Fun 101 will feature late models, chargers, mini stocks, and Carolina mini stocks.
“I’m hoping for good weather and hopefully car counts will be all right where everyone can come out and get their last fill of the place and hopefully enjoy themselves and take away hopefully one good last memory.”