Every racer benefits from seat time. That is especially true for young racers like Eddie Slagle.
While the young Powhatan resident has not yet had the opportunity to compete at South Boston Speedway, he has visited the .4-mile oval multiple times for testing.
“It’s great being out here and talking with everybody, trying to figure stuff out, and not having the pressure of race day and everybody watching you and watching your (lap) times and all like that,” Slagle said during a recent test session.
“This relieves a little of that pressure and makes it easier to focus on driving,” he said.
Slagle, 15, will be a sophomore this fall at Powhatan High School. He started racing Bandalero cars at age 11 at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, and competed in Bandaleros for three years. The young racer won Rookie of the Year honors in his first year of racing Bandaleros, finished second in points in his second year, and won the division championship in his third year.
From there, Slagle moved up to Southside Speedway’s Grand Stock Division and won one race and two poles in his only season of competing in the division. This season, Slagle moved up to the highly competitive Limited Sportsman Division, looking to compete at South Boston Speedway.
“Our original plan was to race here at South Boston Speedway all year,” Slagle noted.
“The COVID-19 hit, so we’ve been bouncing around tracks a little bit.”
Slagle competed twice at Ace Speedway in North Carolina during the month of June and showed well.
“The first race at Ace Speedway was my first time being in a Limited Sportsman race, so I started at the rear in 24th place and made it to 12th-place. I made it halfway through the pack. The second race, I qualified 10th, went back to 14th, and then got to sixth place.”
Shortly after Slagle reached that point, he found himself caught up in a wreck that ended his night.
“People kind of jumbled up in front of me and I got mixed in,” he said.
While that night had a disappointing end, Slagle said he tried to turn the experience into something positive.
“We had to work to get the car back square after that,” explained Slagle.
“I got more experience working on the car. I got to learn a lot about the car and how things work. I made a positive out of it.”
With his car having been repaired, Slagle was back at South Boston Speedway to test the car and continue to prepare for when South Boston Speedway will open its 2020 season.
“It’s a good opportunity to get more learning, get more seat time on the track, learning the track, learning the groove, and things like that,” Slagle remarked.
“I am in a learning curve here. My biggest problem now is getting out of the turns. When you get on the throttle in my car, it starts to kind of break loose. I’m learning how to save that and make it (the car) loose instead of just tightening it up so tight that the car will hardly run.”
While the wait for the start of South Boston Speedway’s 2020 season continues, Slagle is just as excited about the prospect of competing at South Boston Speedway now as he was back in early spring.
“I really can’t wait,” the young racer said with a smile.
“Hopefully it will be a lot of fun, with a lot of good competition.”