Saturday night, I attended the SRX (Superstar Racing Experience) at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Virginia. SRX is an auto racing series where drivers from various series race in cars that are all set up identically. It’s a modern day equivalent to the IROC (International Race of Champions) series that raced from 1974-2006.
Having grown up watching NASCAR and being a fan of the current day Indycar Series, SRX is a fun, two hour distraction during the summer months. Watching past champions and legends, battle it out on short tracks is a great way to enjoy racing and also a way to recruit new fans. My wife, who could care absolutely less about racing, was sucked in by the on-track short track drama and the big personalities.
When I learned that SRX was coming to the nearby South Boston Speedway, I considered going. When my Dad got word that I was interested, he bought tickets to the race. I spent many Friday nights at local short tracks and dirt tracks growing up, as well as many NASCAR events with my Dad. It was almost strange watching a race together since it’s been almost twenty years since we last attended one.
Let’s talk about a little about this race.
South Boston Speedway has been around since 1957 and hosts all sorts of races throughout the year. Prior to the SRX race, some Limited Sportsmen drivers took to the track for a fifty lap race that saw a crash on the first lap and then a boring race for the rest of the laps. South Boston is a one groove race track and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of drivers willing to move the cars in front of them. This was a problem during both the Sportsmen race and the SRX race.
The facility itself is nice and there was plenty of food and vendors at the race. The tiny SRX merchandise trailer sold out of shirts well before the race started so that was a bit of a bummer.
It was fun watching CBS test out their various drones when the Sportsmen cars came out. It was even more fun watching them crash one in turn two and having to go pick up the pieces.
The SRX cars look great and sound great. The racing was decent, but the lack of groves really hurt the excitement. The race was a sell out or near sell out, which presented some issues. One, despite sitting towards the top, the entirety of turn four and the start finish line was not viewable. This is not a big enough track with a TV screen, so you just had to wait till they got to turn one to see the action again.
Two, it was hot and crowded. Pushing near 100 degrees and being jammed packed into metal bleachers with people smoking all around me was not my idea of a fun time. I brought a cooler, seat cushion, snacks, and all the comforts you can into a race track, which definitely helped, but it was uncomfortable for several hours until the sun went down.
Three, there was a lot of drama and shoving in the pits that we couldn’t see. I won’t go as far as to say SRX is pre-determined, but SRX is definitely a TV show first and race second. The drama is ramped up and that is what makes it so fun to watch. Sadly, all the excitement of Tony Stewart getting into it with Ernie Francis Jr was missed by us in the stands.
Overall, I’m happy I got to see SRX live. I’m honestly not sure how much longer the series is going to be around, especially considering Ray Evernham’s lack of participation and the concerns about a lack of cars or manpower to repair them, but it was great seeing all these legends battle it out and seeing Tony Stewart win. Would I go back to South Boston to see it again? No. Between the heat, the crowd, and the lack of view, I’d much rather stay at home stretched out on the couch and enjoy the race.