WINSTON SALEM — On Jan. 13, Bowman Gray will hold a preview for the upcoming season. The event will be held at Smith-Reynolds Airport at 3817 N. Liberty St. in Winston-Salem. Admission is $10 for adults. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Alvin Hawkins and Bill France opened Bowman Gray Stadium for NASCAR racing in 1949. Bill Blair Sr. started from the pole in that first race that was won by Fonty Flock. Bill Blair’s son, Bill Blair Jr., will be on hand as well as members of the Hawkins family for the 2018 Bowman Gray Preview with the “Legends of the Madhouse.”
“The Stadium,” as most know it today, is the longest running, continually NASCAR-sanctioned track in the country. It is set to open for the 70th season in April.
The Bowman Gray Stadium Preview with the “Legends of the Madhouse” will bring many of the Bowman Gray stars together with many of the “Legends of the Madhouse” under one roof for the second year. The preview brings the Champions and Rookies of the Year of Bowman Gray’s four divisions along with many other Bowman Gray drivers together.
Modified Champion, Burt Myers, along with Tim Brown, James Civali, Randy Butner and Rookie of the Year, Bobby Measmer Jr., headline the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Division Drivers. Sportsman Champ Derek Stoltz, John Holleman Jr., Taylor Branch, “Tiger” Tommy Neal, Dylan Ward and Zack Ore cover the Texas Steakhouse Sportsman Division. Street Stock Champion Jake Creed, Rookie of the Year, Amber Lynn, Taylor Robbins and others represent the Q-104 new Country Stadium Stock cars on hand, and Stadium Stock Champ Wesley Thompson, Rookie of the Year, Grayson Keaton, A.J. Sanders, Chris Allison and Chase Hunt also will be on hand.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame will be well represented at the 2018 Preview. HOF inductees Rex White, Jerry Cook and the Wood Brothers, Glen and Leonard will be on hand to meet the fans and sign autographs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. In addition to those inductees, the daughter of Hall of Fame driver and 26-time BG winner, Curtis Turner, will represent the Turner legacy at Bowman Gray. Other Bowman Gray “Legends” expected include Jimmy Hensley, Max Berrier, Ralph Brinkley, Junior Miller, Spider Kimel, Melvin “Puddin” Swisher, Billy Middleton, Don Smith, Jimmy and Johnny Johnson, Al Hill, Jim Brewer and a host of other drivers with ties to the stadium.
There will be a racing “simulator” featuring a chance to beat one’s favorite driver in a one-on-one race. “Lightning McQueen” will be on hand for the kids, and several “vintage” race cars bringing back the way racing was in the good-old-days. As mentioned, there will be a big autograph session and a big auction by Funwood Auctions offering fans a chance to pick up sheet metal from their favorite BG team or some Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams, race tickets to Martinsville and other memorabilia beginning at 1 p.m.
The event benefits two charities in the Bowman Gray Stadium Racing Ladies Auxiliary and the “Forever is Tomorrow” foundation. The Ladies Auxiliary hosts the annual awards banquet for BGS drivers and provides scholarships to deserving students along with several other charitable fund raising activities. The “Forever is Tomorrow” foundation is dedicated to raising awareness for kidney disease and raising hope to those fighting the disease. Both are 501(c)3 foundations.