East Carolina Motor Speedway and NASCAR announced Saturday night that the Robertsville, N.C., track will join the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for 2014.
The .375-mile high-banked paved tri-oval will feature NASCAR Late Model Stock Cars as its premier division, and will be the only will be the only Friday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track in North Carolina.
The track is located in eastern North Carolina, about 90 miles east of Raleigh, N.C., or 20 miles north of Greenville, N.C. It is owned by Wayne Perry and operated by his son, track president Chris Perry.
“East Carolina Motor Speedway is a perfect fit for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series,” said Bob Duvall, NASCAR senior director, business development. “Wayne and Chris Perry are committed to providing a home for great Friday night racing and family entertainment.”
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. More than 50 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.
East Carolina Motor Speedway opened in 1990. The Perry family purchased the facility in 2005 and leased it out through 2011. They assumed management and promotion of the track in 2012 and put the facility on a constant rejuvenation program.
“We want people to be proud of where they race,” Wayne Perry said. “We have a great race track. Our first job was to create an environment that our participants and fans can like. Our next step is to put East Carolina Motor Speedway on the NASCAR racing map.”
“NASCAR brings credibility, visibility and recognition and that’s what we want,” Chris Perry said. “We want East Carolina Motor Speedway and Robersonville to be a destination people feel good about supporting.”
As the only Friday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track in the state, the speedway could become a hub for North Carolina and Virginia drivers chasing state and national NASCAR points.
“Our NASCAR Late Model Stock Car division is based on the NASCAR rule book so we can welcome teams inside and outside our immediate area,” Wayne Perry said. “We invite all of them to stop in for a visit.”
East Carolina Motor Speedway is a challenging tri-oval. The turns are banked at 24 degrees and straightaways at 10 degrees. The start-finish line is at the pinnacle of the tri-oval, much like Daytona International Speedway.
“It’s tight and it’s a racers track,” Chris Perry said. “It has a lot of personality.”
The Perry family has been in the automotive business for five generations. They began operating a General Motors dealership in Elizabeth City, N.C., in 1916, two years before Chevrolet became a GM brand. Today’s Perry Auto Group operates two dealerships in Elizabeth City including Performance Chevrolet and Carolina Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Wayne Perry is president of Perry Auto Group and Chris Perry is vice president and general manager.
The family has been involved with stock car racing since the 1950s beginning with Wayne Perry’s uncle Harry and father Lowell. Harry Perry set two records participating in speed trials on “The Flying Mile” shore course of Ormond Beach, Fla., in the early 1950s. He was a contemporary and friend of NASCAR founder Bill France. Perry occasionally fielded a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car in the mid-1950s for drivers including Ray Platte and Joe Weatherly. Harry and Lowell Perry fielded a NASCAR Modified Sportsman car driven by Shelton McNair in the 1959 Permatex 250 at the new Daytona International Speedway. Wayne Perry attended a Daytona beach-road course race in the 1950s and the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959.
“I met Bill France when I was 13 years old. That’s when I told my dad that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to race,” Wayne Perry said.
Wayne and Chris Perry raced Late Models for a time at southeast at tracks including Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway, South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., and Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C.
With the addition of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Cars in 2014, East Carolina Motor Speedway will have a five division show. The track’s 2013 divisional champions include Wesley Johnson, Late Models; Glenn Avery, Street Stocks; Andy Ipock, Mini Stocks; and Duane Walker, Ucar.
NASCAR-licensed Division I drivers are eligible to compete for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships and special awards at the track, state and national level. NASCAR special award programs are also available for support division drivers.
Pavement Late Model driver Lee Pulliam, 24, of Semora, N.C., won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
More information on the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is available at http://hometracks.nascar.com.