On Saturday night, Swamp Rabbits and racing fans alike will take over Bon Secours Wellness Arena for NASCAR Night presented by Alloy Employer Services as the Rabbits welcome the Savannah Ghost Pirates.
On the hockey side of things, the game will be eighth all-time meeting between the two budding rivals. On the promotional side, the night features an opportunity for racing fans to engage in interactive elements that combines two of the fastest sports on earth.
But, as Saturday night approaches, there arises a deeper meaning to the game and the promotion than just what meets the eye.
Located just seven miles west of Bon Secours Wellness Arena, lies the historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a motorsports track rooted deep in the history of the Upstate and NASCAR.
Originally opened in 1940 as a half-mile dirt oval, the speedway began hosting NASCAR events in 1955 and developed into a historic piece of NASCAR lore and a tradition of the Upstate.
Throughout its history, Greenville-Pickens has welcomed some of the biggest names in racing to this corner of South Carolina, names like NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty, David Pearson, and Bobby Isaac.
Between the Petty, Pearson, and Isaac, the three combined for 14 wins at Greenville-Pickens, solidifying the Upstate as an integral part of their historic careers.
In 1971, the running of the Greenville 200 was the first NASCAR race to be nationally televised, live, from start to finish.
In its more recent history, the track has been a proving ground for up-and-coming drivers, many of whom find themselves as household names in the NASCAR Cup Series like Austin Dillion, Joey Logano, Bubba Wallace, and Spire Motorsports drivers Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon.
LaJoie’s return to Greenville, now for NASCAR Night and last year for Racing Night, marks 11 years since the now NASCAR Cup Series driver won the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (now the ARCA Menards Series East) race at Greenville-Pickens.
Along with LaJoie and Dillon, a third NASCAR Night attendee, Cole Custer, returns to the Upstate, having raced at Greenville-Pickens twice in 2013.
On Saturday night, these drivers reconnect with their roots and the history of the racing along a much smaller oval, the concourse at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Racing and hockey fans alike will meet with some of the very same drivers they watched grind their way up the NASCAR ladder just a few short miles west of town. Just like for the Swamp Rabbits players past and present, the Upstate has been a proving ground for drivers throughout history, and on Saturday night, those histories combine for a fast-paced night at The Well.