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WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES

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NATE GREGG

WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES

NATE GREGG CONTINUES THE WINNING TRADITION

By Billy Weatherman | Oval Track News

There’s a saying that goes, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. It was coined by Mary T. Lathrap in a poem originally titled- Judge Softly. It was later refined by entertainer Billy Connolly, who added to it by saying, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away, and you’ve got his shoes.”

That saying came to my mind as I pulled into the parking lot of Old Lexington Frame Shop off Old Route 52 in Lexington, North Carolina to visit Nate and Billy Gregg. It just popped into my head thinking about Nate Gregg getting his first win in Bowman Gray Stadium’s Street Stock division in the 2019 season. I thought about Nate wearing Billy’s shoes, symbolized by following in his father’s racing footsteps at Bowman Gray, and around the local area, and stepping into those same footsteps made by his father in victory lane at the famous quarter mile. He was doing just as his father had done, and his father before him. He was doing what the Gregg family has done for three generations now at the Madhouse, winning.

Billy told me that he regretted it a bit that Nate had won without him being on the track with him. But he agreed with me as well that it was probably a good thing, as no one could say he helped him get the win on the track, on that day, by blocking for him or whatever they would want to say. Billy tore his car up early in that race, and he was standing, what felt like a mile away to him, watching his son dominate that race. Just like the saying implies, Nate was a mile away, holding his daddy’s shoes. I came to Lexington Frame Shop today, where he and his dad work at the family business, to talk to him about that win, and growing up a third generation racer in the Gregg racing family.

ABOUT- NATE GREGG

Street Stock Competitor @BOWMAN GRAY STADIUM and tracks across the central east coast.
AGE: 17
FROM: Lexington, North Carolina

OTN– Putting the family influence aside, what made you want to strap into a car and race? In other words, what made you, Nate Gregg want to be a racer?

NG– Well, you can’t take the family out of it. I mean, that’s just it. Watching these guys work on the cars, and I spent a lot of time at the track and in the shop watching them…that just made me want to do it myself. Watching how hard they worked…it gave me the heart to want to do it as well. And so family, that’s all there is to it. I could see what it meant to ‘em, and it was the main thing I could point to that made me want to get in there and do it myself.

OTN– Does coming from such a successful racing family put pressure on you to perform in the car, or frankly put, does the fact that you come from a family of racing winners and champions put pressure on you to win?

NG– I wouldn’t necessarily call it pressure. I mean, I got a family name to live up to, but I don’t really feel I should make it into a hard time doing it. I’ve been improving a lot over the years, and as I said, I know it’s a big name to live up to, but I feel all I can do is just try to do my own thing. And I can only hope that one day, I can be as great at this as they were. So no pressure, just a goal really.

OTN– What do you want to accomplish in racing? What would be your greatest goal?

NG– I’ve always wanted to drive in the Truck Series. That would be…I don’t really care if I go any farther than that really. That would be like…I mean that would be my greatest dream. That’s where it could stop right there is driving in the Truck Series. I’d be good with that.

OTN– What is it like to pilot a race car at the “Madhouse” Bowman Gray Stadium? And is it really true that you can hear the crowd over the car when the action picks up on the track?

NG– Wow, yeah. There’s just so many people there on Saturday nights, and you can definitely hear them in the race, so yeah, that’s true. There’s so many fans out there…so much going on. And they’ve got a lot of good people there, y’know. The fans are so great, and the management too. So it’s nice to run there because even with all that going on, it’s very organized, and they’ve really got it all figured out. But, just being out there in the car…and racing there is a lot of fun. It’s small, but that makes it such a challenging track, and I just really like that challenge.

OTN– What was it like growing up in a racing family, and what is your greatest memory as a kid growing up in a family centered on racing?

NG– Oh man…uh, well, it was great. So many memories. Just being at the track, and all the victory lane photos I got to be in. Seeing them win so many races. And so…it just all came around when I won, and they got to stand in my victory lane picture. Y’know, it’s just all been very special.

OTN– Well that leads us perfectly into my last question. How big was it to get that win out of the way this early in your career, and to bring that win home to the family, and continuing the winning family tradition?

NG– Yeah. It’s been a challenge. But it was fun getting that first win. I was just happy to be able to get one. There’s a lot of guys that’s raced there a long time and didn’t get a win. So for me to get one in just my second year running was something big for me you know, and to have all our hard work pay off. And now I know I’m able to win, so I just gotta keep doing it.

OTN– Thanks Nate for taking the time to talk to us today, and from all of us at Oval Track News, the best of luck to you on this 2021 season.

NATE GREGG
NATE GREGG

PROLOGUE~

Billy Gregg is a two time, and defending Bowman Gray Stadium Street Stock champion. His uncle Ricky Gregg is a five time Bowman Gray champion, with a championship in the Blunderbust division, which has since become the Stadium Stock division, a championship in the Street Stock division, and was a three time Sportsman division champion. But Nate Gregg does not feel the pressure to have that kind of success. Instead, he has paid attention and knows what he must do to find his path to a championship, and that’s to work on being Nate Gregg. He knows that in a car, learning to win, you take all that you’ve learned and you refine it to you. Only a driver knows what he is totally capable of inside that cockpit. But Nate has learned already that he can win.

Ricky, Billy and Nate, were and are three different styles of drivers. Ricky could be whatever driver he needed to be. He could beat you any way you wanted to race. He would meet you on your ground, and beat you at your own game. Billy is more of an aggressive style driver. He knows the game, and unfortunately for his competition, he loves to play it. And when he pulls up in your rear view, you have to get a little nervous. While we were talking about his son Nate, I also talked to him about his career as well, and he told me what should scare any competitor that wants to take his championship crown. He said, “You see this, (looking toward the cars in the shop), this is mine. I worked, bought and paid for it all. So, if I want to carry my car home wadded up once in awhile, I can. It’s as simple as that.” I promise you, that those who race against Billy, know he’s true to it. I should say here though, that the man you meet outside the car, is not the man that sits down in it. I have personally seen him give whatever he had to a competitor that needed it. I’ve even seen him help what one would call a rival. That’s the man you get outside. The real man. But as he told me, when a driver straps into his machine, “Well, that’s a different ball game altogether.”

But Nate? Well, he has a bit of an advantage too. He’s young. When he pulls up in your rearview, you don’t know what you’re going to get because he’s still perfecting his craft. But what has been seen is that he is methodical and calculated. Billy told me that he had Nate in a cart at three and four years old. And the little circular dirt track laid out in the Gregg’s backyard is the testament. But Nate wanted to race a full bodied stock car. So, Billy rented a local track numerous times, and even got out there with him to show him the lines, and to see what his son was doing. Then when Nate was 13, Billy took him to the Stadium that season and Nate practiced every chance he could get that year. And when he turned 14, Billy took him to Caraway Speedway and let him race. So when he started his first race at Bowman Gray in the Street Stock division as the youngest driver to ever race at Bowman Gray in the main 4 divisions to this date, Nate was already familiar with the track. And now, in only his second season, Nate Gregg is already a winner. And, to my surprise, I found out that it’s Nate that prepares the cars now. So when you see them running good, Billy says the credit goes to the man who works on, repairs, and prepares their racing machines, and that’s driver/mechanic, 17 year old Nate Gregg.

And so that’s ultimately what brought me to the Gregg’s place of business at Old Lexington Frame Shop. Bowman Gray Stadium has just announced that it will re-open for racing June 5th after being closed during the 2020 season. And so it’s time. And as a race reporter for Oval Track News covering the Madhouse, I feel I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out a few things on this upcoming season. And one of those things to watch for is Nate and Billy Gregg in the Street Stocks. Billy is the reigning and defending Champion in the division. But I predict Nate Gregg is going to be a factor this year in the championship race. He’s got everything he needs to win. He has the know how, he has the car, and he’s proven that he can win, and in dominating style if need be. He really doesn’t have anything to prevent him from reaching for the gold. Well, except for one big thing, glaring him right in the eyes. He’ll have to beat Billy for it.

Me and my son had a conversation about if we were drivers, and it came down to me and him in a big race, what would we do to win. After my son admits that he would move me for it, I had to think about it, and I had to conclude, that if it were the right time, in the right race, I would definitely tough my kid up a little. Is it wrong? Well, ask any driver, and they will tell you. There are no friends once you strap in. That brings us back to what Billy said- Once you strap in, it’s a whole new ball game. But I told Billy and Nate about the conversation between me and my son, as I wanted a father and son driver take on it to see if they felt the same way. And they laughed, and looked at each in a familiar glance. They didn’t even have to say it. I knew that look. Yeah, it’s going to be fun to watch. Nate Gregg, to get wins and championships, has everything he needs to succeed. But if he wants that success at Bowman Gray Stadium…he’ll have to deal with Billy first.

NATE GREGG

(Nate and Billy Gregg would like to thank all the sponsors that make it possible for them to race:
Gregg’s OLD LEXINGTON FRAME SHOP
C&C LOCK and KEY
VELOCITA
AML WRESTLING
SYKES METAL ROOFING
SQUEAKY CLEAN XPRESS
UNLIMITED SERVICES
POPS ELECTRIC
RODAN + FIELDS- Cayla Hartsal)

By Billy Weatherman | Oval Track News

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