Even the food at race tracks is changing

Published 1:54 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

It’s said that when something gets in your blood – you begin to enjoy it.  The old saying means some activity has begun to wear on you – in a good way. It might be a tradition you experienced growing up in your family or culture,  but now, it’s become part of you.

Well, I’m proud to admit it. I’ve got a bit of NASCAR racing around in my blood.

When I was young, the food scene at the races looked a lot different than it does today There were no gourmet burger food trucks or farm-to-truck, gluten-free, or vegan options. Nevertheless, track-side concession stands offered some mighty good munchies – simple, fair-style foods like footlong dogs, beefy burgers, pimento cheese sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, greasy, seasoned fries, pink cotton candy, caramel corn, and salty roasted peanuts in the shell. Dangerous and life-shortening kind of stuff, but we indulged in every bite of it.

I spent many Saturday nights at the racetrack in my hometown, Nashville, Tenn. Daddy would take my little brother to the local track – I was the perfect age to tag along.  There was nothing more exciting than the pace car taking that final lap before the green flag was dropped. And oh, how those brightly colored race cars would shine under stadium lights – illuminating the black pavement as cars zoomed around a Figure 8 track.

Talk about exciting – I still love the sport, today.

The Winston Cup Museum in downtown Winston-Salem was the location for a recent social hosted by Rotary Club of Western Forsyth. Co-hosted by the Clemmons and Reynolda Rotary clubs, the purpose was to introduce guests to the museum as well as to Rotary’s mission of “Service Above Self.”

And as you could guess, a few tasty edibles begged to be part of the event. That’s just how we do things in the South. Like the cars – we gotta get the food revved up and running.

The museum showcased a nice spread of eats amidst vintage racing memorabilia. Among meaty options were savory beef meatballs, flavored wings, and sea-salt crabcakes – all with delectable dipping sauces. Offered alongside were baked pimento cheese and tidbit trays of veggies with dip.  The checkered flag ending was a decadent, cocoa brownie that made for an awesome, sweet finish.   

Being a member of local civic clubs involves active service in your community – getting out there and doing good with others and for others.  God is in our community – and it’s God’s desire that we serve folks. Serving is a sign of mature faith.

In Romans 12: 4-5, Paul pointed out how we should work together – much like all the parts of our bodies work together. We work better together than alone.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we who are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

We each have received gifts from God. In 1 Peter: 10-11, Peter tells us that the purpose of our gifts is for serving others – and not for personal enjoyment.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)

When you serve – you’re pouring out God’s grace. Serving is a form of worship – another way we express gratitude for what Jesus has done for us.

Anyone can plant a vegetable, bake a brownie, or sweep a floor – if you have an hour or two, just volunteer. The best gifts come from our hearts. Please show up and serve any way you can. The world needs us. I promise the impact of your service will be greater than you realize.

For it is in giving and serving – that we receive.


2 lbs. ground chuck

2 beaten eggs

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine ground chuck, beaten eggs, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Shape into bite-sized balls. Bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve hot with dipping sauce.


2 Tbsp. salted butter

1 chopped red bell pepper

½ chopped onion

1 cup crushed saltine crackers

1 beaten egg

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp. hot sauce

2 Tsp. Old Bay seasoning

¾ tsp. dry mustard

1 lb. drained, picked lump crab meat

½ Tbsp. each salted butter and Wesson oil, plus

In a skillet, melt butter. Saute onion and pepper for 10 minutes or until tender. In a large mixing bowl, add sauteed onion, pepper, crackers, beaten egg, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, Old Bay, hot sauce, and dry mustard. Mix well. Gently stir in crab meat. Shape mixture into small bite-sized patties. Chill up to 4 hours. When ready to cook, in a skillet, melt butter. Cook baby crab cakes on medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all crab cakes are cooked. Serve warm with sweet red pepper relish.


6 lb. Boston Butt

1 cup vinegar

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. salt


2 cups broth

¾ cup ketchup

4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Texas Pete, to taste

Party rolls

In a crockpot, place meat. In a bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar. Pour over the meat. Cook on low heat for 12-14 hours. Remove all fat and shred by pulling the meat. For the sauce, pour fat off from the broth. In a bowl, combine broth, ketchup, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, to taste. Pour just enough over meat to moisten, as desired. Serve on small party rolls.


½ cup melted, salted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 cup soy sauce

¾ cup water

15 chicken wings/drumettes

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add dry mustard, soy sauce, and water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to cool. In a baking pan, place chicken and pour marinade over pieces. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight while occasionally turning. Bake in the marinade in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Drain and serve warm.


1 cup ranch dressing

8 oz. black softened cream cheese

¼ cup buffalo hot wing sauce, plus

Jalapeno peppers

In a bowl, blend ranch dressing and cream cheese. Add buffalo sauce until dip consistency. Stir in a few chopped hot peppers for heat, to taste.


1 cup white vinegar

1 cup Heinz ketchup

3 cups water

½ cup sugar

Salt, to taste

1/8th tsp. black, cayenne, red peppers. to taste

If you prefer a vinegar-based dip, in a saucepan, combine vinegar and ketchup with water. Mix well. Add sugar and salt, to taste, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cool down, and stir in the three peppers, to taste.  Add just enough of the dip to moisten BBQ, and to your taste.


1 beaten egg

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

4 oz. drained chopped pimento

30 oz. drained, yellow corn

1 cup sour cream

1 cup premium mayonnaise

½ tsp. minced cloves garlic

1 bunch chopped green onion

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. Add cheese, well-drained pimento and corn, sour cream, mayo, garlic, and onion. Bake in a glass baking dish in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-45 minutes. Serve with a scooping chip.


saltine crackers

Ground red pepper

8 oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

On a non-stick cookie sheet with sides, place crackers on a tray to fit exactly and tightly against each other. Evenly sprinkle crackers with red pepper. Sprinkle grated cheese over crackers, making sure each is evenly covered.  Cook in preheated oven set on broil, on bottom rack, and with door open several inches. Cook 12 or more minutes until cheese stops bubbling and is firm. Remove tray from oven. When oven has completely cooled, place tray back in oven and reset to warm. Close the door and leave for several hours or overnight for crackers to dry.


¾ cup mayonnaise

1 grated, medium onion

2 pressed cloves garlic

½ tsp. Texas Pete

1 cup chopped pecans

1 lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a mixer bowl, combine mayonnaise with onion, garlic, hot sauce, and chopped pecans. Grate cheese into a large bowl. Fold the mayo mixture into the cheese, mix well, and mold into a ring. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, place bowl in center of ring, and fill with Race Car Driver’s Dip.


1 cup pineapple preserves

1 cup apricot preserves

¼ cup drained horseradish

3 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

In a jar combine preserves, horseradish, dry mustard, and black pepper. Mix well. Place in a bowl in the center of Raceway Ring of Cheese. You can also use it as a dip for meatballs or chicken wings.


1 cup softened, salted butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup Hershey’s cocoa

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped pecans


1 stick melted, salted butter

4 Tbsp. Hershey’s cocoa

6 Tbsp. evaporated milk

16 oz. confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and mix. Add eggs, one at a time, thoroughly mixing after each addition. Beat in flour, cocoa, and salt. Mix well. Fold in pecans and mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured 9 x 13 baking pan in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20-22 minutes. For the icing, in a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from stove, and stir in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the warm brownies.


2 cups water

7 bags black tea

3 cups chilled sparkling water

½ thinly sliced oranges/other fruit


Fresh mint sprigs


1 cup orange juice/other fruit juice

½ cup sugar

In a saucepan, boil water and add tea bags. Remove from heat and for 20 minutes, allow tea to steep and cool to room temperature. Remove tea bags and discard. Pour into a beverage container. For the syrup, in a saucepan, bring orange juice and sugar to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool 20 minutes. When ready to make tea, add syrup to the tea in the pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, add sparkling water and orange slices to the tea. Fill glasses with ice and pour tea. Garnish glasses with mint. You can change flavors of the tea by varying the fruit juice in the syrup and fruit slices.