• 66°

Salisbury Quarter Midget Racing, training the next generation of drivers

By Jack E. Neubacher

N.C. Quarter Midget Association

SALISBURY —  Do you know a young boy or girl that would like to drive a real race car? On Saturday, they will have their chance.

The North Carolina Quarter Midget Association, located right here in Salisbury, will hold another of their popular “Arrive & Drive” promotional days where children between the ages of 4½ and 16 can drive a real quarter midget race car on a real race track.

The track is located at 1130 Speedway Blvd, just off I-85 exit 72, Peach Orchard Road. During the event, the club provides an operational race car and all the mandatory safety equipment required for racing, including fire suit, certified helmet and racing gloves.

The cost is $15 and each child will receive 15 laps on the track with guidance from the track officials and flagman.

In years past, these promotional days have brought out young boys and girls for many reasons. Some visit just to have fun, while others to celebrate a birthday party with their friends, and many to see if quarter midget racing might be a sport that they would like to participate in full time. Whatever the reason for their visits, all the young drivers that participate walk away from the experience with smiles on their faces.

The track length is designed to keep speeds under control but still lets these young racers hone their skills of driving a fast line, working on a pass, and just being involved in spirited competition.

As in all racing, there is the competitive spirit during the races plus the camaraderie of friendship between the participants off the track. While waiting for their next event, you can find the young drivers and siblings playing ball, riding bikes or scooters around their 20-acre playground, or just chilling out playing video games together.

The club offers competition in 12 divisions based on driver age, experience and motor type. An intensive rookie training program gets young drivers started and teaches them the rules of racing. From Red Rookie through Modified World Formula, there is a class for all young racers.

At the track, NCQMA members compete in two local race series each year:

• The weekend Championship Series holds weekly races on specific Saturdays during the racing season that runs from April through November.

• The Summer Heat Series races on two Tuesday evenings each month during June, July and August.

Each race day, you will find between 50 and 70 cars at the track from NCQMA club members who come to Salisbury from all over North and South Carolina, and even a few from neighboring states.

To complement these local series of races, many families also participate in the Dixie Shootout Regional Series, which includes races at NCQMA and also four other tracks in the southeast. Over Memorial Day weekend, NCQMA played host to the regional participants with double header races that had drivers scheduled to race both Saturday and Sunday.

Dixie Shootout officials said, “This gives our young participants a chance to meet, compete with and become friends with other kids of mutual interest from other states.” On their most recent visit, the Dixie Shootout had 253 cars in the scheduled two-day competition.

Racing, be it in the top series of NASCAR or the newest rookies at a quarter midget track, is a real family affair. Parents and grandparents don’t just watch the action, they are active participants. You will see family members all around the track in volunteer positions to make sure the race day runs smoothly. Others can be found working on the mechanics of the cars and acting as the driver’s handler during the race.

One of the biggest and most rewarding chores for a group of handlers is helping all the racers during a race. If a driver has a mishap on the track and damages a car or loses a chain, there will be a group of fellow handlers ready to jump into action and get the driver back on the track before the caution is over.

One handler told us, “We will stand the car right up on its nose, driver and all, with one handler holding the driver’s head up, and we’ll get that chain back on within a lap or two.”

The original dream of having a quarter midget track here in Salisbury started back in 2002 with Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, leading the way. He was one of the many top drivers to get his start in racing in the quarter midget division.

In addition to his brother Terry, a two-time NASCAR champion, other drivers who started in quarter midgets include Jeff Gordon, Ken Schrader and J.J. Yeley.

Terry Labonte said, “I know if Bobby’s involved with it, it’s a first-class facility because he’s going to see to it that it gets done right and wants it to be something we can all be proud of.” The track opened in the spring of 2004.

For an evening or Saturday of racing excitement, everyone is invited to come out and cheer on these young racers. It’s the best bargain in town. Admission to the grounds and grandstand is free.

You can find more information about the club at www.NCQMA.com and on Facebook at NCQMA.



Blotter: Police respond to shots fired call outside of Salisbury home


County tied for fifth among counties for most COVID-19 deaths


‘Nudge from God’: 10 years after diagnosis, Rockwell man to receive kidney from live donor


Salisbury police warn residents after increased trailer thefts


Elon heightens alert as 32 test positive; Wake Forest in good shape to continue instruction as is


Corn picker catches fire at Knox Farm, destroying nearly eight acres


House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown


Supreme Court vacancy looms large in 2nd NC Senate debate


Additional COVID-19 death reported in Rowan; Cooper announces small business relief


Asheville man charged with heroin possession following traffic checkpoint


Susan Cox conceding school board race, putting support behind opponent


Rowan-Salisbury Schools will survey families, stakeholders about next superintendent


Library to reopen for in-person visits Oct. 1


Rowan Sheriff’s Office K-9s to receive bulletproof vests


Man charged with sex offense, raping teen


Commissioners receive analysis of county’s development application process


Man arrested in Spencer in connection with Charlotte murder investigation


County government losing assistant manager, social services director


RSS will collect information on full K-5 return


KCS sees smooth transition back to classes, unlikely to transition to all in-person for K-5


Barrett emerges as court favorite; Trump to pick by weekend


Tillis says Trump will extend offshore drilling pause to NC


12% of all Rowan COVID-19 cases currently active


Blotter: Concord man faces drug charges after hotel disturbance call