Richmond County Daily Journal
While the staff of the Rockingham Speedway gear up for this weekend’s ARCA RE/MAX American 200, people from all over the country and the state are getting ready for a weekend of camping, cook outs and camaraderie.
Tony Bridgers of Oxford said he’s been traveling to see races for the last 40 years and camps out about 10 to 15 times each year.
“Just meeting people and seeing the same people,” is what Bridgers said is one of his favorite parts of camping out for events. “We’ve got people from Dallas, Canada, Missouri and we meet in the spring and the fall and it’s fun to see each other. That’s what camping is all about.”
Bridgers said though they get about 30-40 people together every time they go camping, things never get out of hand.
“We just have a good time,” he said. “Cooking steaks and chicken roasts, eating is the other great part of camping.”
Bridgers used to be a NASCAR fan, but that was before they pulled out of Rockingham.
“This is where it began and this is where it should still be,” Bridgers said.
Rita Frey of Cincinnati, Ohio came to the race with her husband. The two have been camping out since 2004 when they bought their RV.
Frey said she’s been a fan of racing since 1965 but didn’t start traveling to see races until the 1990s.
“Until this year we stayed around Ohio ... but we’ve both been retired so we’re venturing out a little more,” Frey said.
Frey said her husband and his brother came to visit Rockingham on their own last year and wanted her to experience it.
Frey and her husband are also NASCAR fans so they’ve got their RV set up with satellite TV so they can record the NASCAR races while they’re at the ARCA race.
When they’re not at the race, they’re at the campsite meeting people, sharing stories and Frey likes to keep her hands busy by crocheting.
Gregory Warren of Salemburg has been coming to Rockingham races for 30 years. His Dad first brought him to the speedway in 1979.
They used to camp on the infield of the track but have since taken up across the street from the speedway.
Warren’s friend Dennis Hall has been traveling with him to see the races for 15 years, and for the second year, they brought Hall’s son Cody.
“It’s all about the camaraderie,” Warren said. “When NASCAR was still here you’d have people parked in the same spot every year and in the same seat in the stands so you get used to seeing people.”
Warren said he’s glad Andy Hillenburg has taken over the speedway because of the events he’s been bringing into the area.
This weekend’s events kicked off Friday with the USARacing Practice and Qualifying Admission. Today is the USARacing Aaron’s 150 Event and ARCA RE/MAX Pole Day and Sunday is the American 200 ARCA RE/MAX season finale.