The big news this week is the arrival of the European stars to Charlotte Motor Speedway for round 17 of the MXGP series. Tim Gajser and crew will be up against a strong contingent of U.S. stars in the likes of Eli Tomac and other boys of Uncle Sam. Justin Barclay and his staff are in the process of completing the one-mile long “SuperCourse” at The Dirt Track, which is on the Charlotte Motor Speedway grounds. Today, I made the ten-minute drive over to the Speedway to watch former NASCAR driver, Scott Riggs, break in the track. I walked the entire course, and while I’ll hold any strong opinions until the track is complete and the racing has finished, I can offer up a few thoughts.
For starters, the first turn is going to be intense. “But John, every first turn is intense,” you’ll say. You’re right, but the one at Charlotte has a slight downhill, a fairly long straight, and then a sweeping 90-degree left bank turn that follows the concrete wall for quite a ways. It’s going to be fast for the racers and exhilarating for the spectators. The track surface is somewhat varied, with red clay and dirt. I can’t in good faith say that the soil is great, but the crew has been sifting through to pull rocks and dump truckloads of water. As for the layout, parts of the track are a bit narrow, but there’s a nice variety of obstacles that should wow crowds and be fun for racers. Instead of going on and on about the track, form your own opinions with the pictures I took Tuesday afternoon at The Dirt Track.
Scott Riggs used to race Amateur motocross and did Loretta Lynn’s. Then he turned his attention to four wheelers, where he did well. Scott’s dad figured that he should put Scott in a car. Riggs went on to have a lucrative career. These days he continues to ride motocross for fun.
A look down from the step-up jump.
The mechanic’s structure on the left is still being set up. This is one of the few sections of track that spectators won’t get to see much of if sitting in the 15,000-seat grandstands.
For tickets and more information, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com