Opening Night at Carteret County Speedway is less than two weeks and track owner Bobby Watson, who recently announced he is cancer free, is excited about the upcoming season.

The 2016 season will kick off on Saturday night, April 2nd with racing for the Late Model, Mini-Stock, Street Stock, U-CAR, Legends and Bandolero divisions as well as racing for the USAC Midgets.  On Saturday, March 26th, Carteret County Speedway will host a pre-season cruise-in festival which will host plenty of family fun.

In the offseason, Watson and Carteret County Speedway general manager Roger Burns made several bold moves to attract racers and fans.  The biggest move was the announcement that Carteret County Speedway would sell American Racer race tires in the Late Model division for $75 for new tires – the biggest bargain for racers anywhere in the region.

“What’s so great about this year, Late Model tires, $75 a piece brand new,” Watson said.  “We are here for the drivers.  That’s the main thing.  We’re here for the drivers.  We aren’t here to gouge them.  We’re here for them.  There’s free testing.  There’s no other track in the country that offers what we can do for the drivers.”

After listening to fan feedback following the two races Carteret County Speedway hosted last season, Watson is also making improvements around the track.  One improvement, which will be ready on opening day, is the “Budweiser Bridge” – a walkover bridge in the apex of turns three and four.

​“We’re building a walkover and that’s just going to be awesome to me,” Watson remarked.  “You can walk over to the track when the race is going on, come in the infield and meet and greet the drivers and go to our Moonshiner’z Café.”

Watson also plans to raise the height of the spectator grandstands in the near future.

“We’ve got the walkover and we told the people that we’re going to do the bleachers.  We’re jacking them up.  We trying to get a walkover built.  And then the bleachers go up.  It would’ve already been done but I’ve been under my treatments and I’m doing great.  I start radiation soon.  My life goal was to build a super race track to race on and fun to do and that’s what it’s all about is the drivers.”

Carteret County Speedway, which is located just a few miles from Emerald Isle, North Carolina, is more than just another racetrack.  It is also a shrine of racing history with memorabilia all around the track’s property.  One of those historic pieces is a genuine Unocal 76 ball Watson acquired from Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

“That thing is the only one left in the whole world,” Watson explained.  “They have all been destroyed.  They’ve got a half of one in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  It’s cut in half.  It’s the only one that’s left.  I went to Talladega when I was working with Junior Johnson and me and Junior were riding around on a golf cart.  I saw it and I like stuff like that so, me and Junior rode down and looked at it, went to the president of Talladega Superspeedway.  Within three weeks, it was sitting here.”

Watson hopes fans climb up in it during Saturday afternoon’s cruise-in festival and check it out.

“We want people to come out and climb up in it,” Watson commented.  “It’s history.  You’ll never go in another one the rest of your life.  I’ve been offered $30,000 for it.  It’s kind of shaky.  Barney Hall announced out of the ball.  That’s unusual.  They used to have them in all four corners of all the superspeedways and now there’s one at Carteret County Speedway.”

Saturday’s Cruise-In and Motorsports Festival will begin at 11am and will feature live music from the Mighty Saints of Soul during the afternoon.  Following the cruise-in, open practice will be held under the lights starting at 5pm for racers.  Admission for the event is only $10 per person with children six and under admitted free.

The 2016 season will kick off on April 2nd.