Even on a recent overcast morning, the large plate glass windows that wrap the racing tower at GALOT Motorsports Park outside Benson seem to let in plenty of light.
Charles Myers IV, the track’s media relations coordinator, walked inside one of the executive suites — perched on the tower’s second level — and pointed down the eighth-mile stretch of asphalt.
“There’s not a bad seat in the house,” he said. “If you’re sitting right here, you can look at the starting line and you can look at the finish line.”
In late January, GALOT owner Earl Wells was given a proclamation during the Benson Chamber of Commerce Banquet recognizing his tremendous investment in the area. A video was shown to the audience, comprised of footage shot from a drone zipping high above the property.
Mr. Wells, a businessman from Clinton, was quick to reassure those afraid of heights that the grandstands at GALOT weren’t as monstrous as they appeared in the video, but here’s the thing — they are big. The whole park is big.
GALOT stands for “Get A Load Of This,” by the way.
The hulking grandstands that flank either side of GALOT’s centerpiece — a certified smooth-as-silk eighth-mile stretch — are from Daytona International Speedway in Florida, acquired when the facility was undergoing some upgrades.
“When you choose to come to us as an entertainment facility, we want you to feel welcome and to feel comfortable,” said Mr. Myers.
As “the new kid on the block,” Mr. Myers was hired by GALOT earlier this year and currently commutes from Charlotte, where he is a student at the university there.
“My background is in motor sports. I’ve been involved in the media side of things for both the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA),” he explained.
He started a website, dedicated to covering the teams and brackets of both organizations, and quickly became noticed in the racing world for his efforts. GALOT also noticed and gave him a call.
There was a lot for Mr. Myers to catch up on at GALOT. Since the track’s auction for $1.4 million in August 2013, the former Dunn-Benson Dragstrip is a shadow of its former self.
From its humble beginnings as a dusty line known as the Broadslab Dragway to a destination shared by backyard mechanics and established race teams alike, the track in Benson has transformed many times.
During an impromptu golf cart tour of the facility this week, Mr. Myers said crews are hard at work paving, inspecting and prepping the track for its official grand opening later this year, although plenty of test runs and small scale events are planned for the coming months.
Zooming about the grounds, several amenities stick out — on site race fuel, storage and garage bays for race teams, large LED scoreboards and a new winner’s circle.
In fact, Zaxby’s will be a sponsor of GALOT, meaning race winners will receive a “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” certificate when they pull into the winner’s circle for photo ops, said Mr. Myers.
Mr. Wells told The Daily Record in 2014 that he was actually more a tractor kind of guy as opposed to racecars. He’s into tractor pulling to be more specific — metal behemoths with massive tires that pull heavy sleds in competition.
It was the world of tractor pulling that eventually led Mr. Wells to cross into drag racing and, as such, Benson’s GALOT Motorsports Park will feature tractor pulling prominently.
“One of the great things about GALOT is not only do we have a (drag strip) we also have a tractor pull — this is an entertainment complex,” said Mr. Myers, pulling the cart onto a large patch of Johnston County dirt.
“This will be where we’ll have our Mule City 300. This is the first Grand National event of the National Tractor Pullers Association for this year. So, this is going to be important for anybody that follows the NTPA,” he explained.
Making his way back to the tower, Mr. Myers opened the door into the racing suite and pointed to where the bar area would be when the room was completed. Adjacent to the suites is also a new media room, with equally impressive views for writers and reporters.
Next to the media room is the control room — essentially, the brains of the entire operation and where the announcer will sit to provide commentary (rumor has it Benson Town Manager Matt Zapp is scheduled to announce a few races).
“Mr. Wells has assembled a first class facility here. We’ve got all of this,” said Mr. Myers, referring to the expanse of the site. “To do so many great things.”
For a detailed schedule of upcoming events at GALOT Motorsports Park keep check with the track’s website at www.galotmotorsportspark.com or find them on Facebook. GALOT is located a 555 Dragstrip Road, Benson. Story courtesy The Daily Record