SOUTH BOSTON, VA (July 8, 2021) -- The quality of the skill set among the 37 drivers that took the green flag for the start of the July 3 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort in front of a packed house at South Boston Speedway was among the best ever seen among a field of Late Model Stock Cars at “America’s Hometown Track.”
Among the best in the field was Chad McCumbee.
The Supply, North Carolina resident has a wealth of experience in circle track racing, having competed in Late Models and Super Late Models before moving up the ladder to compete in the ARCA Menards Series and all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.
McCumbee finished a strong fourth in last weekend’s Late Model Stock Car race, his first start in a Late Model Stock Car since winning the Icebreaker at Florence, South Carolina Speedway in February.
The veteran racer said he came to South Boston Speedway to support his longtime friend, Pocono Raceway and South Boston Speedway CEO Nick Igdalsky.
“Nick and I have always been really close friends,” McCumbee said. “I always told him I was going to come race with him as much as I could. This weekend is the biggest show of the year here at South Boston, and I just wanted to come support him.”
McCumbee also noted that South Boston Speedway will be hosting a CARS Tour race in the fall, and he wanted the team to get some experience with the track.
“I’ve been around the CARS Tour with Sam Yarbrough and wanted to come here and get another evaluation of where we are,” he explained. “We knew this was a track coming up on the CARS Tour so this race would be a great test session for us.”
McCumbee’s experience in racing across multiple disciplines resulted from necessity.
“It was just to keep a job,” he explained.
“I’ve been very, very blessed to keep a job driving racecars for a living. When I was in the circle track world back in 2012 a partner that was a team sponsor moved their concentration to sportscars and asked me if I would like to go with them. I said the answer is yes, where are we going. I went to Daytona in 2013 and turned into the infield for the first time on purpose and tried to figure out how to turn right. It’s led to a really cool last few years.”
Competing in differing racing disciplines has been good for McCumbee.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a great relationship with Mazda, and I now drive for Ford,” McCumbee said. “I represent them in the IMSA series. I haven’t had a great year this year. We came out really strong at Daytona and then we’ve had some struggles of late. I had a Top-10 at Watkins Glen and hopefully we will have a good rest of the season.”
When asked which discipline – road racing or circle track racing – he enjoys the most McCumbee says he likes it all.
“I just enjoy the sport,” McCumbee remarked. “The sport continues to change year-after-year. To keep a job in this sport, whether you are a driver, crew member, crew chief or engineer, things are constantly evolving and you have to evolve with it.
“This sport is what I know. Racing is what I know, and I just want to be involved in it and have that be my career for the long term. That is what led us to start the Mazda team that we have and develop this (Late Model) program with Robert Elliott. I just try to keep winging it year-after-year.”
McCumbee says the circle track world will always be special to him.
“The circle track world is what I come from, it’s what I grew up in,” he explained. “It will always be very special to me to continue to have involvement in the circle track world, but the sportscar world has given me opportunity to try to climb up the ranks again and enjoy that climb, just as I did 10 or 15 years ago in circle track. The drive to get to the top level of sportscar racing is certainly a fun goal I have set for myself and something I want to achieve.”
It was through road racing that McCumbee and Igdalsky met and formed their friendship.
“Nick actually drove for me a couple of times on my team back in 2015, 2016, 2017 a little bit. We had a really good relationship.”
When asked if he would try to get Igdalsky into a sportscar again at some time in the future, McCumbee replied, “we talk about it all the time. I helped him last year when we went to Daytona, and he ran the ARCA race there. We had a lot of fun, and we were teammates in ARCA back in 2010, I think it was. He ended up driving some of our cars at some point and we had some success. I certainly need him to come back and get in one of those Mazdas again.”
NASCAR racing action returns to South Boston Speedway on Saturday night, July 17 with Bojangles Night at the Races. All four of the track’s regular racing divisions, the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division, the Limited Sportsman Division, the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and the Budweiser Hornets Division will be featured in the night’s racing action.
Registration and pit gates will open at 2 p.m. Saturday. Practice starts at 4 p.m. and grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7 p.m.
Advance adult general admission tickets for the July 17 Bojangles Night at the Races event are priced at $10 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeedway.com, through Friday night, July 16. Adult general admission tickets at the gate on race day are priced at $15 each. Kids ages 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The latest news and updates about South Boston Speedway and its racing events can be found on the South Boston Speedway website and through the speedway’s social media channels.