NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina Adds to History

 
 
Modified Racing at Historic Bowman Gray Stadium
Modified Racing at Historic Bowman Gray Stadium
Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina is tied to the birth of NASCAR. It was one of the first tracks NASCAR visited in 1949. Alvin Hawkins and Brian France Sr. promoted races at the track in those first years of NASCAR. Richard Petty won his 100th NASCAR race at Bowman Gray. Ralph Earnhardt, Glen Wood and Lee Petty raced at the quarter-mile track in the early days of stock car racing.
Packed Bleachers at Bowman Gray Stadium
Packed Bleachers at Bowman Gray Stadium


The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will add to the NASCAR history at Bowman Gray Stadium on June 4 and it will be captured in documentary form in a film called "One Night In June."

Bowman Gray Stadium hosted its first NASCAR Grand National race in 1958. On June 4, the track will host its first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. The track is home to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Track promoter Gray Garrison said the K&N Pro Series will bring the first full-body cars to the track since the Grand National days. The last NASCAR Grand National race at Bowman Gray was in 1971.

"It's just a who's who of racing basically when you look in the record book at Bowman Gray," Garrison said. "There is so much historical stuff there that's where a lot of it came from."
Ralph Earnhardt at the Historic Bowman Gray Stadium
Ralph Earnhardt at the Historic Bowman Gray Stadium


Ben Kennedy and Robert Johnson are two drivers who will provide a link from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race to the NASCAR roots of the track. Kennedy is the great grandson of Bill France Sr. Johnson is the son of Junior Johnson. Both drivers will be entered in the K&N Pro Series race at the track.

"We got the new generation too," Garrison said. "I think it's going to be an eye-opening experience for a lot of them because we're probably going to be the smallest track that they'll run on the circuit. It's a quarter-mile, flat bull ring. We are a unique little track here in North Carolina. A lot, a lot of history."
Night Racing at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina
Night Racing at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina


Junior Johnson, Davey Allison and Tiny Lund are among the winners at Bowman Gray Stadium. Richie Evans and Jerry Cook won modified races at the track. Richard Childress used to sell peanuts in the stands before he became one of the most successful NASCAR team owners.

"NASCAR thought it would just be a good match to run a K&N race here," Garrison said. "We're kind of in the hot bed of racing here in North Carolina. They just felt like it was going to be a good match to run and come back full circle with the Hall of Fame here in North Carolina. Ben Kennedy, I guess that would be first, second, third, fourth generation, competing in the K&N Series. They thought it would just be good historically. We all sat down, talked about it and we decided to run one and see what happens."

What will happen is anybody's guess. It's the first time in 40 years full-fendered stock cars will be on the tiny track. Garrison said he doesn't know how the race will play out, but he knows it will be fun to watch.

"We were going into this with some apprehensions," Garrison said. "Our appresenhiveness is when you get a batch of young, aggressive drivers on a small, quarter-mile track, there's an excitement going to be happening. Not sure how much or where, but it's going to be exciting, I can guarantee you that."

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