Craven County Dirt Track Provides Mini Race Car Fun

By: April Davis/ Clayton Bauman
By: April Davis/ Clayton Bauman

It's a small plot of land off Highway 43 in Craven County complete with a dirt track, dirt jumps, and an announcers booth that some eastern North Carolina drivers pass on a regular basis, but how many people actually know what it is.

Clayton Bauman stopped to check out the high octane hobby for people who'd aspirations of being race car drivers have become grounded for one reason or another. The dirt track in Craven County is a weekly escape that takes all those high speed elements and shrinks them down to a much more manageable handheld size.

It's called southern R/C and it's looking for new recruits to make a mark on the racing circuit. Off Highway 43 just before Weyerhauser road it's Tommy Dawson's proverbial field of dreams to feed his need for speed.

"I've been here about 10 years, and I used to go different places and race. I got tired of driving out, so I built me a place of my own," said Dawson.

With tight turns, high velocity jumps, and plenty of dirt to kick up- it's a well maintained track from the bottom up with a devout following.

Donald Stokes shows just how far, and expensive the hobby can go with his own custom made trailer dedicated to the hobby. He says a buddy introduced him to R/C.

"You could see yourself doing this forever?" asked Bauman.
"Probably so. It's, you know, it's fun. Once you get it in your blood, you just keep on and on," said Stokes.

Some racers have been known to spend thousands of dollars on their cars. Dawson says don't be intimidated. There are entry level cars that are reasonably priced.

"You can get a 2-3 hundred dollar car and get out here and have you a good time and it'll run you for years," said Dawson.

Kelly Howell used to be a race car driver, but had to bow out because it got too expensive. Now she mixes it up here on the mini circuit with the boys. She says being the only female driver makes her that much more competitive and encourages other ladies to pick up a remote.

"You do have that competition where the guys kind of look at you like- OK, it's the only girl out here. What's she going to do and you have to kind of show them up and say: hey girls can do this just as well," said Howell.

Young, old, guy or gal-- Dawson and his crew encourages everyone to come out with an itchy trigger finger and give the southern R/C experience a try.

Those interested can head out to the track every Sunday, and there's no charge to use the track. Dawson and the racers are usually out to the track by noon.

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