SBS

Raymond Pittman III of Amelia is pictured with the car he will drive this season in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston Speedway.

Raymond Pittman III has been one of the constant familiar faces at South Boston Speedway through the years.

The 2020 season marks Pittman’s 25th year of racing, and for many of those 25 years he has raced at South Boston Speedway.

“I like the people, the fans, the people that work at the track, all of the officials and the drivers,” Pittman said when asked what keeps bringing him back to race at South Boston Speedway year-to-year.

“Everybody at South Boston Speedway is nice. I enjoy it. The people at South Boston Speedway treat you like family. That’s what you need. All of us are a family.”

Racing is all about family for the Amelia resident.

“We love racing as a family,” Pittman explained.

“We have fun doing it. Whether we run like crap or whether we run well, we’re always happy. We’re out here to have fun and spend time together. If it wasn’t for racing, we probably wouldn’t be spending as much quality time together as we should. Racing brings the family together and keeps us close.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept Pittman and his fellow competitors on the sidelines this spring. However, Pittman was able to get back on the track last week, taking advantage of an opportunity to test his car on South Boston Speedway’s .4-mile oval.

Under national and state mandates South Boston Speedway cannot yet open for racing. However, the track, with strict requirements for social distancing, limits in the number of persons allowed inside the facility and other preventive measures in place, is open for teams to practice and test.

Drivers and teams wishing to practice must contact the speedway office during office hours and schedule practice via telephone or e-mail at least a day in advance. Practice hours will be from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the pit area must be clear by 5 p.m.

“I have mixed emotions,” Pittman said of not having been able to race when asked during a break in his testing.

“I did catch up on a lot of things around the house, but I miss racing. It’s something we love doing as a family. I’m glad we’re here testing, and I hope we can get started racing soon.”

When asked what he likes to do in addition to racing, Pittman said he enjoys boating.

“I like boat riding,” he noted.

“I do a little fishing, but I just like going out on the boat, hanging out on the boat relaxing and swimming. I love the water.”

Pittman spent a lot of time and effort on his car during the off-season. The Tuesday test session revealed positive strides.

“During the test we didn’t have all of the speed we needed, but I feel very confident and real good about the car that we’re going to be competitive,” Pittman said.

“I feel good about the season, definitely better than last year. This car was junk last season. It’s a lot better.

“I don’t want to be running back in the pack,” he added.

“I want to be competitive. I want to win, but I just want to be competitive and have fun. I feel like we can be competitive.”

Pittman has four career wins, three at Southside Speedway in Richmond and one at South Boston Speedway. His last win came in 2014. Pittman’s only victory at South Boston Speedway came in the NASCAR Limited Sportsman Division.

“My last win was in 2014,” Pittman pointed out.

“It’s been awhile. It’s hard to win at South Boston Speedway. The competition level is so high. Just everybody that races here are big-name people. They win everywhere they go. It’s hard to compete with that, but I’m still having fun. Once we stop having fun, that’s when I’ll quit.”