This is Carolina: Drivers reminisce on last race at Myrtle Beach Speedway

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 6:29 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Once known as the ’Rambi Raceway,’ the Myrtle Beach Speedway’s chapter has come to a close after more than six decades. The track held its last official race, the Sun Fun 101, on Aug. 15.

“I think they say it’s the longest running race at this track. There’s enough room to race, enough room to pass. It’s the way the track wears the tires and everything. It makes racing exciting. You have to think about it a little more,” race car driver Sam Yarbrough said the day before the big race.

Yarbrough was the favorite to win, going on his sixth track championship at the time.

“Especially with it being the last race at the beach, it’s going to be exciting and it’s gonna be one for the books I think,” he said.

Yarbrough shared some driving advice for the speedway track.

“At the Myrtle Beach Speedway you really have to be easy with the gas pedal. A lot of guys, the older guys, the way they explain it to you is use the gas pedal like you’ve got an egg right under your foot. You don’t want to smash it,” he said. “You’ve got a roll in easy, you’ve got to roll off easy, you’ve got to be easy on the brakes. Tire conservation is everything. Other tracks with a better pavement, shorter tracks, you can be a lot more aggressive.”

The Sun Fun 101 hosted 34 drivers for the late-model stock car race. Sixteen-year-old Whitney Meggs was among them. She’s an up-and-coming driver who learned some of the ropes at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

“He’s one of the best people that can drive this track; I’ve watched him. I’ve watched how he does everything,” Meggs said of Yarbrough. “Everyone here has helped me. Everyone told me ’Good job.’ Everyone here has helped me some way.”

Meggs and Yarbough said the track is a big family, and many racers grew up going to the speedway.

While Meggs is a newcomer, Yarbrough has been part of the Myrtle Beach Speedway scene for two decades. While he’s a household name now, it wasn’t that way at first.

“Our first memories here, man, we we didn’t know anything. We came out here completely blind, racing against some of the best drivers in the country and we were terrible. We were absolutely terrible. But we learned, we grew,” Yarbrough explained.

He said his family traveled with him to race, and he has fond memories with his dad in the shop fixing up his racing car.

“Now I got my own kids, and I see why somebody would do that for their child. It was just really special, and I appreciate everything he did for me,” Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough and Meggs raced that Saturday night. The Sun Fun 101 became the Sun Fun 72 because of rain. Yarbrough clenched his sixth track championship, a fitting way to end his time at the speedway.

Former Myrtle Beach Speedway general manager Steve Zacharias said it’s not the end for the teams and family of the speedway. They’re taking over Florence Speedway.

“Everyone’s excited about that swap over, to see if we can do the same thing we were doing here up there. Hopefully it goes well,” Zacharias said.

He noted that coming to a local speedway over the NASCAR experience is a special one, and hopes more families take advantage of it.

“They’ll pick you up and sit you inside their car. They’ll let you look around and play with it, sign autographs. You go to a cup race; just to get into the infield is a process. You aren’t going to get to the drivers. So I think to get kids excited to come out here and have a fan favorite like your Sam Yarbroughs, like their Justin Millikens, like Will Burns, there’s just a lot of drivers they can get behind going to stands and cheering them on,” Zacharias said.

Myrtle Beach Speedway management hopes to transform the Florence Motor Speedway. They have their first races Friday, Sept. 4, at the Florence Motor Speedway, ahead of the Cookout Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday. Pit gates open at 9 a.m. You can find more information here at the Florence Motor Speedway’s website.

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