The chapter has closed on the 2023 Big Dog Shootout season at the legendary Piedmont Dragway, and now, the attention has been turned to the Big Dog Shootout All-Stars during Thursday Night Thunder on October 12.
The track will once again host its Big Dog gladiators as they compete for $20,000-to-win at this appreciation event.
“I always try to stay in very close proximity of my racers just to get their input, their thoughts because those are the boots on the ground, the guys that are out there actually doing it,” said Rick Moore, Co-General Manager of Piedmont Dragway. “We initially had discussions about making an exclusive race to only the competitors that had entered in a Big Dog race this year. A couple of drivers came to me and said, look, you know, we’re always in search of new cars and new blood, new competition.”
Any team that has not yet competed in a 2023 Big Dog event will be offered a spot at $1,000 per entry, with one hundred percent of it going to the purse. In addition to the $20,000 payout to the winner, $5,000 will be awarded to the runner-up, $2,500 to the semifinalists and $1,500 to the first-round losers, setting an eight-car field.
“The Carolina Kid” Travis Harvey, the 2023 Big Dog Shootout champion, encouraged fans and racers to show their support for the event.
“It means a lot racing for big money, and at my home track in front of a lot of family and a lot of fans,” said Harvey. “Having that support there means a lot. They can’t come to a lot of events when we go out of town, so when you have a big event there, and I get to perform in front of a lot of family and friends, it’s awesome. I just want to thank Rick [Moore] and Ron [Senecal] and all the sponsors for putting on this big show for us.”
Jason “Party Time” Harris is another Big Dog star and former champion who is very familiar with the track and the series.
“It’s an honor to be able to run for that kind of money that close to my house,” said Harris. “Now all the pressure is off for the Big Dog championship – they’ve really put together a good package for us to run and to keep guys that just want to come in for the money out. It helps the guys that have supported the series, plus anybody that’s ever run Big Dog knows how difficult it is.”
Furthermore, the track that’s fondly referred to as the “Doorslammer Capital of the World” provides the perfect setting for this special event.
“It does have that outlaw appeal because the track is kind of dated,” continued Harris. “It’s safe, but you know the track is narrow and fast, and the crowd is into every run. You can hardly get back to your pits after you make the run with all the fans – that brings prestige. Being able to bring that with that kind of money and show appreciation to the racers has gone a long way.”
One of the components of the Big Dog Shootout All-Stars is that the rule package will be released 10 days before the event. However, Harris isn’t going to let that phase him at the track that has a “special place” in his heart.
“My dad owned it from ’95 to ’05,” Harris explained. “I kind of grew up there racing. Me, Travis [Harvey], Todd [Tutterow], and all the other guys really battled it out amongst each other to try to see who could be the best. You can put up the cash all you want, but winning that porcelain dog means more than any of the others. I think if you ask anybody that, any of the racers that, I think that that porcelain dog kind of brings in the x-factor because I’ve got about 10 of them, and they mean more to me than some of my biggest trophies.”
Lastly, Moore expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming event. “We’re looking for a stellar race. We’re hoping that it’s going to be one that’s talked about for a long time, and hopefully, we can do this next year as well.”