Greg Rowland and Dan Edwards plan to make local motor sports history in Union County.
Rowland and Edwards — owners of Napalm Auto Sport in Greer as well as Napalm Promotions — will host the inaugural Southern Street Car Challenge at Union County Dragway on April 28.
“It will be a local event for guys like us who have street cars and would like to race them,” Rowland said. “You don’t have to have a big budget and race team to compete.”
Although this will be the first race either of the two men has hosted, both are second-generation racers and have an abundance of experience when it comes to motor sports.
Edwards said he became involved in racing in 1998 by going to a dragway in Greer with his dad. The two eventually rebuilt a 1966 Mustang Coupe together and raced it.
Rowland said he began changing tires and checking air pressure at Mountain Parkway Motorplex in Clay City, KY — his hometown — when he was 13 years old. He had his first unofficial race — on the street — at age 15, and his first official race — on a track — when he was 16.
“I did grow up street racing, but it’s so dangerous it’s not worth it,” Rowland said. “There are safe ways to do this stuff. People don’t have to risk their lives and others’ lives on the street.”
“This gets street racers off the street and onto a track,” Edwards added.
Rowland went into the Navy after high school, and he met a friend who inadvertently sparked an idea for his future brand.
“My friend was really into heavy metal, and he always listened to a band called Napalm Death, and that name just stuck in my head,” Rowland said. “When I got out of the Navy, I was trying to come up with a name that sounded explosive.”
And the rest was history. Rowland now owns Napalm Auto Sport in Greer, Napalm Promotions and an amateur race team known as the Napalm Crew.
Although Rowland won’t actually be racing in the Southern Street Car Challenge, his turbo-charged, 1,000-horsepower Mustang will be.
Edwards will race in the SSCC, driving his own turbo-charged, 1,000-horsepower 1987 Mustang Coupe.
“Tell everybody to come try and catch the boosted Coupe,” Edwards smiled, pointing out that he is known as “the boosted Coupe” on a number of online racing forums and message boards.
The Southern Street Car Challenge will include four categories — Pure Street, Modified Street, Street King and Street Bike Battle — all of which will include a cash payout ranging from $500-$2,000. Payouts are subject to increase.
Between rounds and after the race, spectators will also be treated to special grudge racing challenges in which clocks will be turned off for free-for-all racing, and even those who participate in the race can make or accept challenges.
“The grudge racing generally puts on a good show,” Rowland said, adding that no race would be complete without a little trash talking.
“Hype and trash talking is as much a part of racing as anything. I was always taught that if it wasn’t for the male ego there wouldn’t be racing.”
Although there will be no pre-registrations for the race, Rowland and Edwards said they know of racers who will travel from all over the state and beyond.
“There are rumors of people coming from Atlanta and Charlotte to be here,” Edwards said.
The SSCC will be an all-day event as the gates of the Union County Dragway will open at 9 a.m.
“Wanna hear more than 10,000 horsepower coming through town?” Edwards asked.
A hot rod parade is also scheduled for mid-day, as the parade will leave the drag way around 1 p.m. and make its way through the city between 1:20-1:30 p.m. The hot rods will travel down Main Street, Thomson Boulevard and Duncan Bypass before making their way back to the drag way.
“It’s going to sound like a train coming through,” Edwards said.
Rowland and Edwards said they are thankful for the help and support they have already received in Union County, and they hope to grow the race into an annual event.
“The intent of this event is to make something to call our own in South Carolina,” Rowland said. “It’s not only business. It’s about the love of motorsports and what we do. Even if it lost money we would still be doing it.”
To learn more about the Southern Street Car Challenge or to see a complete list of rules, visit www.southernstreetcarchallenge.com.