Is Slinger Speedway Open? [Facts!]

Slinger is one of the most well-known and historic short-track racing venues in America, having been operational since 1911. Known for its high banking and unique configuration, the half-mile asphalt oval often draws massive crowds on race day. While some might consider it an acquired taste, there’s really no comparison between the adrenaline rush of competing at Slinger and any other race track.

With the pandemic restrictions on travel lifted, more and more people are discovering the unique charms of Slinger. Even if you’ve never heard of the track, you may know of its most famous resident: Richard Petty, the “King of the Tracks.” If you’ve ever witnessed a Petty race at Slinger, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.

The Current State Of Slinger

Slinger Speedway currently holds an operational status and is open for business. While there are no scheduled NASCAR race dates at the moment, that doesn’t mean the world’s largest touring series isn’t thinking about coming back. In fact, there have been rumblings that the 2019 season could be the real deal.

This year’s race is scheduled for May 5, and will mark the 100th anniversary of the track’s opening. Besides the fact that it’s Richard Petty’s 100th birthday, May 5 was also declared “Richard Petty Day” by the town of Sulphur, Oklahoma. Celebrations will include a special on-track appearance by Richard, as well as festivities at the Richard Petty Museum and Learning Center in Clifton, Tennessee.

The Revival Of Slinger

With every track season, there’s usually a small band of racers who try their hand at racing at a variety of venues. During the 2020 season, there were several teams who made the effort to race at Slinger, and boy did they ever! In fact, there were so many entrant cars that the track held two races: one in the early afternoon and the other in the evening.

While some venues have chosen not to open up due to the pandemic, Slinger opened up its doors and had people on the track. Now that the track has opened its gates, the question is: Will it remain open?

In a pandora’s box of an accident, one driver suffered a broken back, two broken legs, a broken hip, and a torn ACL. He was subsequently placed in a coma and underwent multiple surgeries. As a result, the track was closed for 10 months. With a lot of time off, teams and drivers started to wonder if Slinger was truly ready to resume operations.

Getting The Track Back On Track

When it came time to get racing again, teams scrambled to get in some practice before the track reopened. While there are no scheduled NASCAR races at the moment, that doesn’t mean teams haven’t been active. In fact, there are several series that have been active in getting the track ready for racing. Here’s a rundown of what each of those series has been up to.

First up is the ARCA Menards Series. With the pandemic restrictions lifted, teams and drivers can now head to the track to get laps in. The ARCA Menards Series had the first-ever test session at Slinger on April 15, and has since been running a variety of drills as teams gear up for the upcoming season. The next scheduled test session is Apr 24, which is the same day that NASCAR NextGen testing begins at the track.

Next up is the ARCA Women’s Series, which returned to the track on Apr 17 for a short race. On May 5, the track will host the one-of-a-kind 100th anniversary celebration of Richard Petty’s career. For that race, the series will run a traditional “battle of the sexes” race, where each team will field a car for each gender. This is in line with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and its campaign to make the city a “Champion of Equality.” While there’s no Women’s ARCA race at the moment, teams and drivers have been busy getting used to each other’s smell and competing for track bragging rights.

On the Camping World Truck Series (CWT) side, teams have been running a variety of tests as well. The CWT has a reputation for being one of the more scenic series to watch, and with plenty of winding hills and large lakes, teams have been getting in some work riding high in the air. While this might sound like a dream, it’s really not that far-fetched. With the pandemic restrictions lifted and travel becoming more open, more and more people are discovering the joys of camping and the delights of the open road. For those who love a good ol’ fashioned roadtrip, now is the perfect time to make the trip to Slinger and take in the beauty of the countryside.

The Future Of Slinger

While Slinger is open and teams have been making the most of it, there are several factors that go into making any track viable. One of the most important things is having good infrastructure in place. In the case of Slinger, this includes the track and its facilities. Another key factor is having good weather, as tracks that are located in northern climates require a lot of work to keep them in good condition.

Besides the fact that weather is extremely important, tracks also require some level of maintenance and investment in order to keep up with the growing demands. Slinger has a sizable budget for this purpose, and throughout the year has been making strides to keep itself looking sharp.

One of the most critical factors in putting a track back on the map is getting the public back out there coming to games and showing interest in the sport. Since the inception of NASCAR, tracks have been a central point of attraction, and people travel from near and far to attend these events. While COVID-19 has limited the venues that people can attend, it hasn’t kept them from showing interest in the sport. With the return of sports and the desire to get back out there, more and more people are turning to social media to find out news and results of their favorite racing teams and drivers. With more people online than ever before, this is a golden opportunity for tracks to get back out there and make some money through digital advertising.

As we’ve seen with previous racing seasons, the return of sports has opened a whole new world of competition and excitement. With the return of drivers and teams, the desire for people to attend live races is more important than ever. With that in mind, tracks should do everything in their power to make sure the fans have a good time and are safe.

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