People and Places: Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway


It’s a sound that is music to the ears of eastern North Carolina racing fans; the sound of cars racing around the track at Carteret County Speedway.

It’s a beautiful facility that’s come a long way over the years.

“20 some years ago he started it,” said track owner Bob Lowery.

The “he” is track founder, Bobby Watson, who passed away last October.

“He built the nicest short track he could possibly build,” said Lowery. “That was his dream. He gave his life for it. And now I have the privilege and the honor of taking it to a new level. And I may be the owner, but I tell you he did all the hard work. He built it and so it’s my job to continue his legacy and to continue his dream.”

And now the track is a launching pad for young drivers with big dreams.

Drivers like 18-year-old Thad Moffitt.

“This track is very unique in the line you run and the banking that it had compared to some of the other short tracks I’ve run up and down the east coast,” said Moffitt.

And racing is in Thad’s blood. He’s the grandson of Nascar legend Richard Petty.

Now he’s honing his skills at Carteret County Speedway, aiming to become the next NASCAR superstar.

“Most cup guys have started at this level,” said Moffitt. I mean you have your Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, almost everybody in the cup series nowadays started at somewhere like Carteret County.”

Another young driver with NASCAR dreams is 18-year-old Lexi Gay.

“It’s a really great race track,” said Lexi Gay. It’s a clean place. I think it’s definitely great for the fans, too. Brings in all of the family and everything. It’s just a great all-around race track.”

But it’s not just what happens on the track that keeps bringing drivers back.
“Mainly I like the people,” said driver Eric Winslow. “It’s a very friendly track. Can’t go wrong go to Carteret. It’s a four-hour ride for us. But it’s worth it when we get down here, close to the beach, get to have a vacation, get to see a lot of friends and it’s great racing.”

“Man, the facility is awesome, the atmosphere,” said Chris Burns, a driver from Swansboro. “There’s a lot of nice tracks in eastern North Carolina. This ranks right up there in the top couple, really. It’s close to home and I couldn’t ask for a nicer place in my back yard.”

And just one day after WNCT interviewed him, Burns took home the checkered flag in the first late model race of the 2019 season at Carteret County Speedway.

“Last year we struggled with this car ever since we put it together,” said Burns after the race. “Man, to get this win, it’s awesome.”

And while only one driver ends up in the winner’s circle, it’s the racing fans in Carteret County and the surrounding area that could be the biggest winners of all.

“And this is good, family entertainment, close by,” said Lowery. “It doesn’t cost a lot. Ticket prices are $15, kids ten and under are always free.”

“If you want to be entertained and have a good family atmosphere, you need to come to Carteret County Speedway and watch the races here,” said Winslow. “You’re going to spend about what you’re going to spend going bowling or watching a movie and you’re going to get twice the excitement and twice the fun. And it’s for the whole family.”

“We want to try to keep it affordable because everybody can’t go to Charlotte, they can’t go to some of the bigger tracks,” said Lowery. “Any amenity you would want at a bigger track, it’s right here at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway.

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