For more than a half-century, Myrtle Beach Speedway has played host to thousands of NASCAR-sanctioned races and entertained countless numbers of fans. But today, the high-speed, high-drama action on the race track has been expanded to include a number of concerts and festivals, transforming this historic venue into a multi-purpose hot spot for outdoor entertainment.
In addition to putting on a full slate of Saturday night racing under the lights, Myrtle Beach Speedway also has a solid lineup of non-racing events, from arts and crafts fairs to major concerts. The green flag drops on the races in April, while country music stars Charlie Daniels and Travis Tritt kick off the 2015 concert calendar with a big show on May 15. The show is only part of the festivities for the annual Harley-Davidson Bike Rally held at Myrtle Beach Speedway, where motorcycles take over the race track.
But it is the four-wheel form of racing that made this half-mile asphalt track a legend. Built in 1958 off Highway 501, about five miles from downtown Myrtle Beach, RAMBI Speedway (Racing At Myrtle Beach International) welcomed drivers from throughout the Southeast to test their machines against one another on the dirt-covered bull ring. Famous names in NASCAR, including four generations of Pettys (Lee, Richard, Kyle and the late Adam) and three generations of Earnhardts (Ralph, Dale Sr. and Dale Jr.), have raced around the track and traded paint with other big names, such as Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Although today’s competitors tend to be local and regional drivers looking to get their lucky break on the major NASCAR circuit, the racing action is still just as lively and entertaining.
Myrtle Beach Speedway used to host a regular stop on the NASCAR Grand National Series, now the Nationwide Series, as well as other touring circuits. The regular weekly races are now made up of several classes, such as Super Truck, Late Model Stock, Charger and Mini-Stock divisions. Special events slated for 2015 include Monster (Truck) Jam on June 11-12, Mustang Day on July 15, NOPI Nationals on July 24-26, and the season-ending Myrtle Beach 400 on Nov. 19-21, when hundreds of cars throughout the East Coast gather to compete for huge purses and prizes. Other festivals include BeerFest, the Caribbean Festival, the Neon Vibe 5K and the Wheels of Destruction Thrill Show.
One of the biggest draws to Myrtle Beach Speedway in recent years is the NASCAR Driving Experience, a newly added program that allows regular Joes to test their skills on the track with an official NASCAR race car. Featuring experienced and safety certified instructors, many of them former drivers themselves, take patrons through the experience step by step, allowing them to get comfortable behind the wheel before tackling the track on their own. If you are looking for a great gift for the arm-chair NASCAR drivers in your life, the NASCAR Driving Experience is one they will never forget.
For visitors who have never experienced the thrills of a night of racing under the bright lights, Myrtle Beach Speedway offers a great opportunity to get a taste of NASCAR racing at the grass roots level. Sit in the stands and join the fans in cheering for the local heroes and booing the local villains, and enjoy a cold beer and a chili dog from the concession stand. And the addition of new concerts and festivals has only made Myrtle Beach Speedway even more popular with tourists in recent years. For a full schedule of events or for more information, call 843-236-0500 or visit www.myrtlebeachspeedway.com.