JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Racing returns this weekend to the Goodyear All American Speedway in Jacksonville. Many drivers are gearing up to race in their respective divisions, including nationally recognized driver Tyler Matthews.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve raced here,” said Matthews on Thursday.
The 24-year-old is no stranger to racing.
“I’ve always been interested in racing. When I was seven years old, I got my first four-wheeler. I’d ride it around the house and there was a little track right down the road that I would go to and ride.”
That is what sparked his interest for driving.
“The last thing I would have raced out here would have been Street Stock, and if I had to guess that would have been around 2013 or the beginning of 2014.”
The Richlands native later continued his racing career, working his way up to earn two top-five finishes at the Cars Tour, including a runner-up finish at Hickory Motor Speedway earlier this year. Matthews also ran in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“It’s been really exciting to go run those top-tier series on national television. You get out there and it’s a whole new world than short-track racing,” said Matthews. “It’s the same concept, it’s all racing, but it’s a completely different ballgame when you get out there.”
This weekend, Matthews is returning home to race in front of his family, friends and long-time fans at his hometown track– the Goodyear All American Speedway.
“It’s amazing the amount of people that don’t even know this racetrack is here,” Matthews said. “It’s really cool to be able to come back and bring some awareness that there is a racetrack here and get more people to come out. If we can pick up a win Saturday on a track it’s my first time racing at, in that class, it would be really cool.”
Saturday will be his first start in a Late Stock Model Car at his home track. However, it’s not something other drivers are taking lightly. While this may be his first start at home, Matthews is a highly decorated driver in North Carolina with multiple championship finishes.
Back in 2015, he won the North Carolina State Rookie of the Year, followed by the North Carolina State Championship. In 2016, he won the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series North Carolina state championship. Matthews also won the track championship at Southern National Motorsports Park near Kenley and at the East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville. Just one year later, he won the track championship at Carteret County Speedway in Peletier.
“We’ve done some pretty big things in the late model stock world,” Matthews said.
This weekend, Matthews and his crew have a large task at hand, hoping to win their first Late Model Race at Goodyear All American Speedway. It is the only speedway he and his crew have not raced at or won a Late Model in the Eastern Carolina region.
Next race: Saturday, August 28 @ 8 p.m.
Seniors/Military/Student (with ID)- $12
Kids ages 6-12- $5
Kids 5 and under- FREE