One of the most historic weekly racing facilities in North Carolina is shuttering its weekly racing program effective immediately. Caraway Speedway owners, Darren and Renee Hackett, said on Monday afternoon that Caraway Speedway is scaling back the remainder of its 2018 racing schedule to six events.
Darren Hackett said a large part of why this is happening is because of the passing of his father and longtime Caraway Speedway owner/promoter, Russell Hackett.
“I think it’s time to hit the reset button and shutter weekly racing at the track,” said Hackett. “(As far as the sale) The estate has to be settled and the other members are wanting to sell the facility. At this time, I can’t make the obligation to purchase it, so I’m searching for the right buyer.
“I’m taking this from Dad’s playbook; it’s 1981 all over again. It was really bad back then and by the third week of May car counts had really declined to the point that he shuttered weekly racing. He took some weeks off and finished the year with special events only. By the end of the season, the crowds and car count was really strong. I’m hoping the same will happen this time around.”
Caraway Speedway opened in 1966 as a dirt track and was paved in 1972. Darren’s father, Russell, purchased the track in 1977 and promoted the facility until 2011 when he turned it over to Darren. Bobby Labonte and Dennis Setzer are two notable NASCAR drivers that have won track championships at Caraway Speedway.
Recently, Caraway Speedway has become a haven for open-wheel Tour-type Modified racing in the Carolinas, along with Bowman Gray Stadium. The Hackett’s, who also own the Southern Modified Racing Series and promote the North-South Shootout, said they are hoping to find a buyer for Caraway that will keep the Modifieds as a priority.
“I have a couple candidates, but I’m really looking for the right one,” explained Darren. “I’m looking for someone that can help it survive. I want someone that has a desire for Modified racing, because without Caraway, Modifieds will fall by the wayside.
“We started down that road (with a prospective buyer) last August. We got about time to sign the paperwork and our buyer backed out.”
“I don’t want it to be a North Wilkesboro or a Rockingham,” added Renee.
“I’m hoping that I can find the right fit to ensure that racing can continue for a very long time in the future,” continued Darren.
The Hackett’s, who also own and promote the 602 Super Limited and Modified Tours in addition to Caraway and the Southern Modified Racing Series, said they will fulfill their obligations to every tour and the North-South Shootout through the rest of this year.
“It is my plan to continue doing it (SMRS) because it is my baby,” explained Renee. “Darren and I have to talk about the financials of doing it; My hope is for it to continue on. I certainly don’t have any plans of not doing it.”
Caraway Speedway’s next event will be on July 7thwhen the Southern Modified Racing Series, will race at the track along with Late Model Stock Cars, and the 602 Super Limited and Modified Tours, which are also owned by the Hackett’s. The Allison Legacy Series will also be on the card that evening.
The Hacketts are passionate about racing and their hearts have poured into the speedway for years. Now the reset button has been hit and it’s time to figure out the best path for the future of Caraway Speedway.
Caraway Speedway Remaining 2018 Schedule
July 7 SMRS, LMSC, 602 Super Limited and Modifieds, Allison Legacy
July 28 Southeast Super Trucks
Aug. 25 SMRS, 602 Super Limited and Modifieds, Limited Late Models, U-Cars, Mini Stocks
Sept. 3 Labor Day Classic – Limited Late Models, Chargers, Mini Stocks, U-Cars, 602 Modifieds
Sept. 8 SMRS, 602 Super Limited and Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Mini Stocks, U-Cars