Of course, Minor League Baseball isn't the only sport that North Carolina is fanatical about; the region also has an obsession with motor sports. Ranging from NASCAR to kids in go-carts, motor sports are incredibly popular in Coastal North Carolina.
One branch of the sport that's very popular in the region is drag racing, which is something that many people aren't familiar with. In the minds of many, when they think racing, most will instantly think "NASCAR" but in reality, that couldn't be further from the truth. A drag race is usually on a straight path and is essentially a race to see who can accelerate faster as opposed to the long, grueling race that is NASCAR. When the lights on the Christmas tree (whimsical name for the lights that signal that the race has begun because of their unusual shape) flash, the reflexes of each racer are tested, as being just a second behind can cost either of them the race. Once the lights flash, each racer puts the pedal to the metal as they see if their vehicle will be able to out speed that of the opponent. For many, part of the appeal of drag racing is that they can win a race without being physically fit, allowing them to take pride in their driving abilities.
Much of the appeal of watching drag races is thinking to yourself that you can do better than the racers you're watching, so of course, many North Carolinians love to actually drag race. One of the premier locations for this to take place is the Coastal Plains Dragway in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The Coastal Plains Dragway is a part of the Coastal Plains raceway, a facility that is officially sanctioned by the International Hot Rod Association (IRHA), one of the largest sanctioning bodies in the sport. The Dragway is a concrete one-eighth mile speedway, although races do have the option of being a quarter mile. While the facility does host brackets and tournaments for semipro drag racers, one of the biggest draws of the facility are its "Street Legal Drags" races.
The idea behind a Street Legal Drags race is that if the vehicle can go on the road, it can be raced. These races present a safe and legal alternative to illegal street racing. All that's needed to compete is a street legal car, proof of registration, insurance, and a valid license. If you have those four things, you're ready to drag race. Luckily, the Coastal Plains Dragway offers many opportunities for this, with Street Legal Drag days happening almost every Friday year-round.
The Coastal Plains Dragway also offers Test-n-Tune events on the same days as these Street Legal Drag races. A Test-n-Tune is a day when you can bring your car and make some adjustments to it that will hopefully help it to run faster. Since you'll be in an environment full of racing enthusiasts and amateur drag racers, you will have no shortage of good advice being given to you to help to make your car the fastest it can be. Once you've made adjustments to your car, you can test it on the nearby tracks to ensure that it runs the way you want to. If everything goes according to plan, you're ready to drag race!
The Coastal Plains Raceway, also offers racing fun for the whole family, but in a much different form than the dragway: stock car racing. When many people think of racing, this is probably what comes to mind, as this is the form of racing that NASCAR belongs to. As a matter of fact, NASCAR actually stands for the National Association of Stock Car racing. Stock car racing is going around an oblong track in laps and seeing who can finish the race first. Virtually all of professional racing is stock car racing, such as the Indy 500. However not all stock car racing is professional, as the Coastal Plains Raceway set out to prove.
The barrier of entry to actually competing in a stock car race is much higher than that of drag racing. To actually compete, you have to have a stock car, which is a heavily modified car. The insides of a stock car are mostly gutted, as all those extra seats and air conditioning units will only weigh you down. Stock car racing is actually a grueling sport for the racers, as they sit in blisteringly hot cars for what can sometimes be hours, sweating buckets as they have to focus intently on the race.
The Coastal Plains Raceway allows you to experience this kind of racing for very little investment. Parking by the track is $25 per event, while tickets are $10 per adult, $5 for teenagers ages 13-17, and free for kids 12 and under. Stock car racing is a very unique experience, and one that must not be missed while you're in the area.
In conclusion, Coastal North Carolina is fanatical about their sports. From running to racing, the area's athletics are no joke, and they're something that everyone simply must experience.