Elected officials and VIPs will be spotted at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 in two weeks.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, 80, will be the Grand Marshal at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway, located on Highway U.S. 1 north of Rockingham, on April 15, according to Rockingham Speedway Director of Public Relations Andy Cagle.
The United States Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers will parachute into the infield during the national anthem, said Cagle.
The Mayor of Rockingham Gene McLaurin will be speaking at the event as well. The country band Little Texas will perform the national anthem prior to the race.
Other elected officials, NASCAR royalty and VIPs may be spotted at the event that is set to draw thousands, but it remains unclear if North Carolina’s governor will be present.
According to Cagle, Gov. Bev Perdue will be speaking at the event, but her Press Office said Monday it cannot confirm her plans for that weekend until the week of the race.
“The stands will be packed; the trucks will be lined up,” said Perdue in September 2011, during a press conference at the speedway announcing the return of NASCAR to The Rock. “I can’t help but feel how exciting (this) month’s going to be.”
State Rep. Ken Goodman, of Rockingham, has arranged to attend the big race.
“I plan to be there,” said Goodman. “I am somewhat of a race fan. I follow it in the papers and on TV. I don’t get to attend a lot of races, but I am very much looking forward to this one. I hope we have a big turn-out. We need to support this track. It means a lot for Richmond County.”
State Senator Bill Purcell said he will be there as well.
“I do plan to attend that,” said Purcell. “Yes, I am ( a race fan). I like races. This race is a big achievement for Rockingham Speedway.”
U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell has plans to be at the race, according to his Communications Director & Legislative Assistant Chris Schuler.
Cagle said he is not aware of other big names that will grace the stands on April 15, but developments for the race are still under way and he said the attendance list is subject to change until the day of the race.
U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s press office said he has no scheduled plans to attend the race, and there has been no confirmation of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan attending.
Race weekend kicks off with Thunderfest on April 13 in downtown Rockingham, from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and on April 14, there will be a pre-race concert on the grounds of Rockingham Speedway featuring Little Texas. Tickets to Saturday or Sunday’s race will grant fans free admission to the Saturday concert.
For more information on The Rock and the big weekend coming in April, or to buy tickets, visit the track’s website at www.rockinghamracewaypark.com.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.