By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
For the fifth year in a row, the GoPro Motorplex, a go-kart track located in Mooresville, N.C. and co-owned by Michael McDowell, brought NASCAR fans and drivers together as part of the 600 Festival.
The Little 600 saw the fifth different winner in the events’ history with ARCA Racing Series regular Sheldon Creed taking the victory. Creed beat fellow West Coast racers Noah Gragson (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) and Zane Smith (ARCA) to take the win.
Creed had some help taking the victory. Race leaders Corey LaJoie and Ryan Truex pushed and shoved down the frontstretch while taking the white flag. Truex ended in the dirt while LaJoie allowed Creed, Gragson, Smith, and Darrell Wallace, Jr. to reel him in. The beating and banging continued until LaJoie spun. When the dust settle, Creed had several car lengths over both Gragson and Smith.
“He’s (Smith) been beating us a lot lately,” Creed said about his MDM Motorsports teammate, Smith. “We were having fun. This wasn’t really serious. This is cool, it’s a cool event, and to win it is pretty cool. I didn’t even know I was racing this until last night. This is more like bragging rights than a confidence booster. It’s fun.”
Prior to the main event, the ‘Littlest Big Race of the Year,’ NASCAR’s spotters’ had the chance to earn their own bragging rights. In the spirit of fun, Wallace commandeered the flagstand presenting his spotter, Freddie Kraft, the checkered flag on the first lap. While Kraft celebrated with John Hunter Nemechek, Gragson, Smith, and Wallace, the race continued. Former driver, and current spotter for A.J. Allmendinger, Coleman Pressley took the checkered flag ahead of Greg Stumpff, Nemechek’s spotter, and TJ Majors, spotter for Joey Logano.
A new format also allowed race fans on to the track for a grid walk prior to the main event. Drivers signed autographs and took pictures with race fans while they were able to get a closer look at the karts and track.
Track co-owner, event promoter, and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver McDowell spoke to Motorsports Tribune about why he hosts the Little 600 each year,
“Well, two parts of it is, one to give fans the opportunity to see their drivers in a different environment, more of a relaxed environment, where you see guys signing autographs and hanging out with the fans. That’s really fun and cool. Two, from a drivers’ standpoint, everybody likes to come out here and do it. So, it gives us an excuse to come out here, run, and have some fun.”