John Sossoman began competing in the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway when the series was entering its fifth season. With racing’s ultimate grassroots showcase celebrating its 25th season this year, Sossoman – a 59-year-old Concord, North Carolina, native – can lay claim to being one of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout’s longest-running competitors. It all began when Sossoman witnessed his first Legend Car race in 1999. He was hooked from the start.
“I didn’t know caster, camber, cross-weight or where to line the car up when I first came out here,” Sossoman recalled. “I just liked the cars, so I went and bought one. People had their cars on little flatbeds and trailers out here and now, they’ve got some big rigs and there’s a lot that goes into it. I’ve seen it come full circle.”
It’s afforded Sossoman some interesting facts. He was in his sixth season of racing when current Legend Car Pro division points leader Sam Mayer was born. Sossoman’s considerable experience has been rewarded, however, with 33 victories in the Cabarrus Brewing Company Legend Car Masters division. Sossoman began his 20th season on Monday needing five wins to pass Clay Hair for most in division history.
Sossoman believes the secret to visiting victory lane isn’t anything special.
“You’ve just got to be consistent,” Sossoman said. “I’ve always been a ‘wrecker or checker’ kind of guy, so I’ve missed out on some championships I could’ve won.”
Sossoman’s Summer Shootout career has overlapped with enough NASCAR stars to fill a solid race field. Joey Logano, Bubba Wallace, Chase Elliott, Austin and Ty Dillon, William Byron, Chris Buescher, David Ragan and Daniel Hemric are among a slew of racers who’ve shared Legend Car pavement with Sossoman. He believes some of their success can be accredited to learning car control aboard Legend Cars on Charlotte’s frontstretch quarter-mile.
“These cars are really, really hard to drive,” Sossoman said. “People might think they’re easy because they’re on the small side, but they’re not easy to drive.
“I’ve had a lot of fun racing against guys like (NASCAR Xfinity Series regular and two-time Legend Car Pro champion) Daniel Hemric in the past. It’s good to see him succeed. I think the world of that kid. I cheer him on every chance I get.”
America’s Home for Racing will host Bojangles’ Summer Shootout feature races in seven divisions on Tuesday: the Cabarrus Brewing Company Masters; Legend Car Pro; K1 Speed Young Lions; VP Racing Fuels Semi-Pro; Charter Schools USA Bandolero Outlaw; Bandolero Bandits and Bandolero Beginner Bandits. Additionally, famous sports mascots including Lug Nut, Hugo the Hornet and Chubby will compete in go-karts during a can’t-miss Mascot Mania exhibition. Gates open at 5 p.m.
TICKETS: Tickets, which cost only $8 for adults and are FREE for kids 13 and under, can be purchased at the gate, by calling 800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets.
CMS PR (CMS/John Davison photo)