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Bowman Gray Racing Guide

Insider's Guide to Bowman Gray Racing

It's a summertime tradition like no other in America — Saturday night races at Winston-Salem's legendary "Madhouse." Here's everything you need to know about attending a race at Bowman Gray in 2023.

Welcome to Bowman Gray Stadium, affectingly known as “The Madhouse,” where the sound of screaming fans and roaring engines have been heard since 1949. As NASCAR's very first weekly track, the legendary quarter-mile near downtown Winston-Salem is among the most iconic tracks in the nation. Each Saturday night in spring and summer, thousands of fans pack the stadium to experience the most exciting racing found anywhere. It's legendary status was further fueled by reality TV, most notably The History Channel's 2011 hit "Madhouse" and the Discovery Channel's 2018 follow-up, "Race Night at Bowman Gray."

So what is it that makes races at Bowman Gray Stadium (BGS) so special? And how does a small, quarter-mile track in Winston-Salem become an icon? It's a combination of a lot of things. It’s the history, it's the drama, and the personalities. It’s seating so close, fans can seemingly reach out and slap drivers as they soar by. It’s hair-blazing, white-knuckle racing, and it all comes at an ultra-low price. 

"Bowman Gray continues to offer something money can't buy," wrote The Athletic in a recent article. "Other tracks have tried to copy the formula, but none have perfected the art of entertainment like the Madhouse. It's where NASCAR began, it's grassroots, and it's an experience you won't forget."

With Bowman Gray celebrating its 75th year of racing in 2023, we're taking an insider's look at everything you need to know before attending a race. Whether it's your first time or your 50th, here's how to get the most out of your BGS Racing experience.

Jump to 2023 Race Schedule

Bowman Gray Racing

FAQ: Bowman Gray Basics

What to know before you go, from tickets to times to must-bring items.

When are races held? All races are Saturday evenings during the spring and summer months. (April 22 - Aug. 26). Gates open at 6pm, and races begin at 8pm, though times/dates are subject to change due to bad weather.

Where is the racetrack? Bowman Gray Stadium is located a mile southeast of downtown Winston-Salem at 1250 S. Martin Luther King Jr Drive. The track is adjacent to the Winston-Salem State University campus and surrounds the team's football field.) 

How do I get tickets? Tickets are only available on race nights at the ticket booths (no online/advance tickets).  The cost is $12 adults, $2 kids (ages 6-11), and free for kids 5 and under. One BIG thing to note is that payment is cash only, but ATMs are available at each gate.

What is parking like? Parking is free. Signage will help guide you to designated lots, all of which are well-lit and staffed by security. Handicap parking is also available. See more details on parking by visiting the BGS Racing website.

Where should I sit? All seating is general admission (lawn chairs aren't permitted), and fans can generally sit where they please. Alcohol is sold in the stadium's Beer Garden area, though you must be 21 to enter. There's no "good" or "bad" spot to sit here — every seat in the house is great — though it's worth noting that alcohol is only sold in the Beer Garden area near Turn One. (You must be 21 to enter the Beer Garden.)

What races will I see? Unless otherwise listed, each race night features four classes of competition: Sportsman, Stadium Stock, Street Stock, and — of course — the Modifieds. (Learn more about each race division here.) Many races also feature a "bonus" event to end the night, ranging from Demolition Derbys to Chain Races. You can see the full schedule below and read more about each driving division.

What are the food/drink options? Concessions are available throughout the stadium, but fans can also bring in coolers with their favorite snacks and drinks. (No glass or outside alcohol can be brought in, though beer is available for purchase inside).

What else should I bring (aside from a cooler)? Earplugs or headphones are a good idea, especially if you've got little ones. Luckily free earplugs are offered to guests inside the stadium, but we prefer to bring our own. Remember the races are loud. (Like, LOUD loud.) While adults should be OK with the decibels, little ears might not be.

Is there anything new I should know about this year? Not a whole lot changes at the Madhouse from year to year, and that's the way fans like it. But there are a few big changes this year to note. Here are five of the biggest:

  • Ticket prices have increased by $2, going from $10 to $12, yet it's still about the best entertainment bargain you'll find anywhere in America. Parking remains parking is free, and advanced tickets are now available for the first time ever on the BGS Racing website.
  • Overflow parking is now available in the Tower Street Lot, a half-mile from the stadium. (Seethe map here) The lot is staffed by security on race nights.
  • A new asphalt track highlights the action on the track this season. While it still needs a little breaking in, drivers say it's much MUCH better than the previous track surface
  • The Sportsman Division should be wide-open this year, as 2022 champion Tommy Neal has jumped to the Modified division. (Maybe this is the year fan favorite Amber Lynn breaks through?)
  • Live streams of Bowman Gray races are available this season at Floracing.com


TRACKING HISTORY: A fast guide to Bowman Gray's past

Credit: Richard Miller Photo Archives

Bowman Gray Stadium is NASCAR's longest-running weekly racetrack, but it was never intended to be a racetrack. The stadium was built in 1937 as a public works project, with a portion of the $100,000 construction cost being funded by the family of Bowman Gray, former president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. (Gray passed away in 1935, and his wife, Nathalie, donated $30,000 to the project in his memory.) 

The stadium was used solely for college football when it opened, hosting home games for Winston-Salem Teacher's College (now Winston-Salem State University), which continues to use it today. In the early 1940s, a dirt oval was added around the field for horse racing, which led to the first auto race in 1947. A year later, the City of Winston-Salem opted to pave the quarter-mile dirt track, drawing the attention of NASCAR founding fathers Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins. With France leading the charge, Bowman Gray became a fixture for the fledgling sport, hosting dozens of NASCAR events over the next two decades. As noted by Autoweek.com in a recent article on the 8 Craziest Venues to ever host a NASCAR Race: "No list of unlikely venues for a NASCAR race would be complete without including the legendary quarter-mile in Winston-Salem."

It's the track where famed moonshiner Junior Johnson got his start, where "The King" Richard Petty won his 100th race, and where a young Richard Childress first fell in love with the sport. It's the track with drivers whose fathers and grandfathers used to race at Bowman Gray, where fans come to see the racing action just like their great-grandparents did years ago.


Who are the drivers to know?

The real reason Bowman Gray draws some 15,000 fans each Saturday night? It's not the wrecks, or the fights, or the general mayhem. It's the drivers, many of whom had starring roles on the 2011 History Channel hit "Madhouse." Here are a few standouts to know from each of the four divisions.

Drivers to know

Tim Brown, #83

Division: Modifieds
Hometown: Tobaccoville, NC

Bio: As a 12-time Modified champion and current defending champ, Tim “The Rocket” Brown is one of the biggest stars at the Madhouse (both at the track and on the TV show). 

On high-speed racing: “It’s a rollercoaster out there. Imagine hitting 100mph down I-40, then whipping onto an off-ramp. You’ve got to stay on your toes the whole time. One little slip, and you’re out of the race.” 

Drivers to know

The Myers Brothers (Burt + Jason)

Division: Modifieds
Hometown: Walnut Cove, NC

Bios: If any drivers had a star-turn thanks to "Madhouse," it was the ever-quotable Burt Myers (#1) and his underdog younger brother, Jason (#4). The Myers have long-been track royalty, following in the footsteps their father, Gary, and his father, Billy. Both brothers now rank in the top 10 for all-time wins at BGS: Jason is #10 with 36; Burt is #2 with 84.

On racing Modifed cars: “It's just nuts," says Burt (pictured left). "We're driving 600-horsepower cars around a quarter-mile track. It's like being an Olympic swimmer in a kiddie pool.”

Drivers to know

Amber Lynn, #2

Division: Sportsman
Hometown: Walkertown, NC

Bio: Only 24, Lynn already has the most wins ever for a woman at Bowman Gray (12) — and also one of the biggest fanbases. This marks her fourth season in the Sportsman Division, and many think it's her's to lose in 2023.

On succeeding as a female: "All of us, male or female, are out there trying to prove something. We all drive with a chip on our shoulders. I’ve never tried to make it all about 'women power' and all that. I just want to win races.”

Drivers to know

Riley Neal (#07) | Tommy Neal (#21)

Division: Sportsman
Hometown: Walkertown, NC

Bio: Tommy "The Tiger" Neal, last year's Sportsman division champ, has taken his winning ways to the Modified division this season. He'll now cheer his grandson, 15-year-old Riley Neal, who became the youngest-ever winner at Bowman Gray last season.

Tommy, on Riley: "A few years ago, (Riley) got in my car and drove around with me to victory lane. He said, 'Papaw, I want to race at Bowman Gray.' I said, 'If you do, you'll be stuck here the rest of your life.' "He said, 'I don't care; I love it.'"

Drivers to know

A.J. Sanders, #24

Division: Stadium Stock
Hometown: Mocksville, NC

Bio: Winner of the fan's choice award last season, Sanders is also defending champ in the Stadium Stock Division, finishing nearly 100 points ahead of the next closest racer, Brandon Brendle. It was his third overall championship in the division.

The key to winning at BGS: "There's no real secret, other than knowing which cars to stay away from. That's something that only comes with experience. You sort of learn not to get too close to some out there, or else."

Drivers to know

Billy Gregg, #98

Division: Street Stock
Hometown: Lexington, NC

Bio: A mainstay in the Street Stock division, Gregg always seems to have the fastest car on the track — a big reason why he's won three consecutive division championships. His son, Nate, 19, finished second last year but has moved up to the Sportsman division, leaving Gregg the unquestioned front-runner.

On his goals last season: “I wanted to make history: I wanted to win three championships in a row, and four overall (his first came in 2012). Those are things nobody’s ever done here until now."


What should I know about the driving divisions?

(Stadium Stock, Street Stock, Sportsman ... what's the difference?)

Each and every week, four classes of competition take the stage on Bowman Gray's quarter-mile track. That gives fans the chance to see multiple storylines, multiple battles for the checkered, multiple moves for the finish line, and multiple reasons to stand on their feet. While Modifieds remain the big draw, there's plenty of other action.

BG Racing Divisions


Modifieds have been the big draw at Bowman Gray since racing began in 1949. To this days, they're the most potent cars sanctioned by NASCAR. With their lightweight frames and supreme horsepower, Modifieds feature a devastating speed/agility combination. Part of that agility comes from their unique open-wheel design and low-to-the-ground profile, as Modifieds sit a mere 2 inches off the ground. Add in engines that reach up to 650 horsepower, and you get a racecar that drivers often describe as "a rocket ship on wheels."

BG Racing Divisions


The Sportsman Division includes selected late-model cars which must remain stock in appearance. Unmodified eight-cylinder "crate motors" are used in this class.

BG Racing Divisions


The Street Stock Division is similar to the Sportsman Division. Street Stock cars have smaller carburetors and also weigh more than Sportsman cars.

BG Racing Divisions


The Stadium Stock Division is open to foreign and domestic cars and mini-trucks with stock bodies and four-cylinder engines. Only minor engine and chassis modifications are allowed. The minimum allowed weight is 1,800 lbs.


2023 Racing Schedule

The 75th season of Bowman Gray Racing runs from April 22 to Aug. 19. Here's a quick overview of all the action.

Opening Night (Hayes Jewelers 200)

WINNERS: Burt Myers (Modifieds); Chase Robertson (Sportsman), Brad Lewis (Street Stock); Blaine Curry / Issac Hayes (Stadium Stock)

Modified Twin 25s

WINNERS: Chris Fleming / Lee Jeffreys (Modifieds); Chase Robertson (Sportsman), Christian Joyce (Street Stock); Brandon Brendle / Chuck Wall (Stadium Stock)

Kevin Powell Motorsports 100 (100-lap Modified)

WINNERS: Tim Brown (Modifieds); Riley Neal / Michael Adams (Sportsman), Christian Joyce (Street Stock); Robert Stmiska / Chuck Wall (Stadium Stock)

MAY 13
Thunder Road Grill Street Stock 50;

WINNERS: Jason Myers (Modifieds); Michael Adams (Sportsman), A.J. Sanders (Stadium Stock)

MAY 20
Great Clips Crash Fest: Skid Race, Chain Race, & Demolition Derby

WINNERS: Tim Brown / Dan Speeney (Modifieds); Zack Ore / Tommy Neal (Sportsman), Brad Lewis (Street Stock); Chuck Wall (Stadium Stock)

MAY 27
Sportsman 100; double-point awards in all divisions

Plus racing in Modified, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions - RAINOUT

Elite Underground Utility 100 (100-lap Modified race)

Plus racing in Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

Thunder Road Grill Stadium Stock 50;

Twin 25-lap Modified races; Chain Race
Plus racing in Sportsman and Street Stock divisions

Thunder Road Grill Twin 50-lap Modified races

Plus racing in Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions
FANS' PRIZE: $1000 Jewelry Shopping Spree from Davie Jewelers

Market USA Sportsman 100; Skid Race

Plus racing in Modified, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

Available as a rain date

100-lap Modified race; double-point awards in all divisions

Plus racing in Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

Night of Destruction presented by Q104.1; Monster Truck car-crushing; Demolition Derb
Plus racing in Modified, Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions
FANS' PRIZE: John Deere S120 Lawn Tractor from James River Equipment Company

FOX8 WGHP 100 (100-lap Modified race)

Plus racing in Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

Colors Edge Sportsman 100; Chain Race

Plus racing in Modified, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

Ortega 100 (100-lap Modified race)

Plus racing in Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

Twin 50-lap Modified races; Skid Race

Plus racing in Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions

AgSouth Farm Credit 150 (150-lap Modified race);

40-lap Sportsman race; double-point awards in all divisions
Plus racing in Street Stock and Stadium Stock divisions

Available as a rain date

NOTE: All races are on Saturday nights beginning at 8pm (gates open at 6pm). Dates and times are subject to change based on inclement weather. Stay updated by visiting the Bowman Gray Racing website.