LUCAMA, NC :: After sitting dormant since 2009, Southern National Motorsports Park reopened last season under new owners Michael Diaz and Jerry Brown.  The first season under Diaz and Brown surpassed expectations.  The second season promises to be bigger and better with the track hosting the season opener for the UARA-STARS tour as well as multiple NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events, Rev-Oil Pro Cup events and multiple PASS South events.

It came to happen when Northern Virginia businessmen Michael Diaz and Jerry Brown purchased the track at an auction.  Diaz and Brown both have history in racing, having spent many Saturday Nights at the now defunct Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia.  Both their sons were racers at the time at the Manassas short track, which many knew was reaching its final years of operation.

“Michael called me and said there’s a track going up for an auction and it’ll probably go for more money than he had and he asked if I wanted to be in on it,” Brown said.  “I said, ‘sure, why not?’ so we went forward with it.  Originally, Jim Dean would be in it but he backed out when it was time to write the check, so we moved forward.  It’s been an awesome experience. We’ve had our ups and downs.”

The duo purchased the track, in part, to give their sons a place to race.  After controversy at the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic, Jerry Brown has decided it would be for the best not to have his son, Brandon, race at the Lucama short track.

“We did it because both our sons race,” Brown explained.  “We thought it’d be a great avenue and that hasn’t received a bunch of good press so (Brandon) won’t be racing here this year. Unfortunately, people that didn’t know what they were talking about were talking. I didn’t tell Lynn Carroll how to manage a race.  We went through tech like everybody else.  Nobody received special treatment.  Earlier in the season, they had the wrong valve springs in Brandon’s motor so he was disqualified just like anybody else.

“The one thing I said was that we would offer the most competitively, fairly run race anywhere.  We want everyone to know they have a fair chance as anyone else.  There’s no favoritism.  We’ve been to other tracks where who you are mattered.  So, we did it.  People still don’t see that so we decided to have them travel around.  That’ll be better for them in the long run anyways.”

The controversy was only a bump in the road in an otherwise successful season.

“It was a good year last year,” Diaz said.  “For our first year, it was a good year.  We had good car counts and the track’s in good condition.”

Brown agreed.

“I’d say first season surpassed expectations,” Brown affirmed.

The pair thinks 2013 will be even more successful.  On top of the touring events that have been added, Southern National Motorsports Park entered a partnership with Motor Mile Speedway to run a championship series called the Dirty Dozen, a 12 race set consisting of six races at each track.

“We got talking to Motor Mile and they were just going to run a six race season so we got the idea to put this thing together so their guys could run more than just six races while still running at Motor Mile,” Brown explained.  “It kind of evolved from there.  We’re always looking for something to help out the racers.”

“You have to think outside the box,” Diaz stated when talking about the unconventional nature of the Dirty Dozen series.  “We’re all competing for a certain number of cars.  We all should work together.  I’d like to make it five tracks in to a kicker and do that.  That’s how it should be.  I’d like to get that going.  I entered this not knowing a lot of people. Now, I know more people and have contacted with other tracks who want to do the same thing.”

“It’s unconventional because we’re not conventional thinkers,” Brown remarked.  “Me, nor Mike, ever owned or run a track.  We’re racers at heart so we think more about the racers than the track ownership.  So, we’re open to almost anything that’s going to benefit the racers.  We don’t have blinders on as to, you can’t do this or that because it hasn’t been done in the past.  We’re giving it a fresh set of eyes and experimenting even if it costs us money.

“We’d like to work with more of the tracks and do things with all of the tracks.  That would be a big benefit to the racers.”

Brown hopes Southern National Motorsports Park will become a premiere short track.

“We wanted to bring it back to life,” Brown commented.  “It’s a beautiful facility, top notch.  Our goal is to make it the premiere short track in the country.  We’re going to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.”

Diaz and Brown both feel the 2013 season will yield higher car counts between the popularity of the Dirty Dozen and the closure of Old Dominion Speedway.

“We had our first practice (on Wednesday),” Diaz stated.  “We had over 20 cars out there on a Wednesday from various different classes.  That’s really good.

“We’ve got the season opener for UARA, two Pro Cup events and a variety of racing to our fans.  We’ve got two Southern Modified races.  I think our fans like that.  It enables me to give more to a limited class where we’re only running a limited schedule every other week or so.  The drivers don’t have to worry about getting a different car to race the next week when they get wrecked.  I think it’s going to be positive this season.”

“I hope we gain cars from Old Dominion,” Brown asserted.  “They’re going to go where they need to go.  We want to provide a great racing experience for them and give them a fair playing field to race at.  We’re hoping they decide to head our way.”

Despite the controversy, Diaz points to the success of the 2012 Thanksgiving All-Star Classic as something that boosted the track’s profile.

“We had 251 cars registered and raced that weekend,” Diaz explained.  There was over $140,000 in purse money.  There are not too many tracks are willing to put something on like that, to take the risk.  That was an exceptionally good event.”

Diaz says the partnership with Brown has been exceptional.  Both Diaz and Brown have been on the same page and Diaz expects they’ll be on the same page moving forward.

“We know each other,” Diaz stated.  “It takes a little bit of time to learn each other but we’re on the same page.  We were on the same page last year and the book read really well.  This year we’re in a better book.  It’s going good.”

The 2013 season at Southern National Motorsports Park kicks off on Saturday, March 2nd with the first race in the Dirty Dozen.  With the first year behind them, Diaz and Brown have learned a lot moving forward.  Their unconventional thought process continues to play to their strengths and continues to attract racers from all over the region.

There are always unknowns entering a new season, but was is known with Southern National is that the unconventional is conventional. will be there for the start of the new season with Five Star RaceCar Bodies Live Coverage of the Southern National Motorsports Park season opener on March 1st for practice and March 2nd for the season opening race.