Myrtle Beach Speedway is bringing some major NASCAR pedigree this weekend to help cap a big week at the track.
Thad Moffitt, a grandson of Richard Petty and a fourth-generation Petty driver, and Ty Gibbs, a grandson of Joe Gibbs and a second-generation Gibbs driver, will compete in the NASCAR Whelen Late Model races at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday.
MBS Sales, Marketing and Track Announcer Mike Neff said it highlights the speedway’s role in the grassroots of NASCAR. He pointed out that some of the sport’s heavyweights – such as Petty himself, David Pearson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – have raced here before.
“There’s been a long line of drivers that have come through and raced in Myrtle Beach just because of the experience they get here from running on this track the way it’s configured and the asphalt and the skills that it brings to them,” Neff said. “It builds a good racing resume and a good skill set. So it’s cool to have the recognition of past drivers that have come through here knowing that they want to send their kids through here because they feel it will build their skills and build their character in racing.”
It’s a cool deal just from a perspective of the history of Myrtle Beach Speedway that we go all the way back to the Cup races back in the ’60s. David Pearson has won here. Richard Petty has raced here and that was even before it was paved. And now that it’s paved Dale [Earnhardt] Sr. made a point that Dale Jr. raced here. He felt that if you could win at Myrtle Beach Speedway you could win anywhere.
MBS Sales, Marketing and Track Announcer Mike Neff
The night’s racing – which will also include races in the Charger, Mini Stocks, Vintage Cars and Skid Plate series – will accompany the Horry County Fair that runs at the track through Sunday.
Last year, the fair made its first appearance at the track, but no racing was held.
“We planned it out this way,” Neff said. “… We scheduled it so that it was before peak season around here so we could kind of highlight local and let local people have a chance to get out and enjoy something in the area before the tourist season really kicked in.
“And now this year with putting a race in here it not only highlights local for people to just get out and enjoy what Myrtle Beach has to offer, but it gives us a chance to highlight what we do at the racetrack. And we’ve got the opportunity to hopefully expose racing to a large audience that has never been to a race here at the track.”
Thad Moffitt is a grandson of Richard Petty and fourth-generation Petty driver.
Moffitt, 16, won his first stock car race in the Challenge division of the Southeast Limited Late Model series last season, and he finished 16th in his ARCA debut last weekend at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.
Ty Gibbs is a grandson of Joe Gibbs and second-generation Gibbs driver.
Gibbs, 14, began racing at Millbridge Speedway and Salisbury, N.C., and has won races in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series at Greenville-Pickens Speedway this season.
“It should be a whale of a show,” Neff said. “We’ve got some really big hitters that are coming in that are going to be racing with Thad and Ty and we’re going to put on a show for the fans for sure.”
Action begins at 1:45 p.m. with a meet and greet in which drivers will be available to sign autographs and pose for pictures, pits open at 2 p.m., the grandstands open at 5 p.m. and racing begins at 7:30 p.m.
With racing being held in conjunction with the fair, Neff believes the weekend will highlight the versatility of Myrtle Beach Speedway these days.
“We’re hoping that’s going to get some people to come through the gates and sample our wares, as it were,” Neff said. “It also highlights the fact that – like we like to say around here: we’re an entertainment destination; we’re not a racetrack. We have 16 race dates this year. We have 44 non-race dates this year. We’ve actually got more stuff going on that is not racing-related than we actually have racing-related. We like to do a wide variety of things.”
If you go
What: Fan Appreciation Night
When: Racing starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Myrtle Beach Speedway
Races: Late Models (40 laps); Vintage (15 laps); Mini Stocks (20 laps); Chargers (30 laps); Late Models (40 laps)