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Racetrack provides sanctuary for local driver

Larry Woody, Correspondent • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:23 PM

You'd think the molar-rattling thunder and roar of a racetrack would be the last place someone would go to find peace and tranquility, but for David Wright, it's his escape.

"When I'm out there in my race car, that's when I'm most at peace," says Wright, a Wilson County resident whose job as a Viacom technical producer takes him to rock concerts, national awards shows and other high-voltage events at locations from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

In fact, Wright was interviewed for this story from his motel suite in Vegas where he had just wrapped up an event, and from there his next stop was LA for an MTV Awards Show.

"I've been in the business for 31 years and I enjoy it, but it's very stressful," says Wright, a Nashville native who moved to rural Wilson County years ago in search of a more relaxing environment. But Wright, who during the 1980s raced against some of the top drivers in the Southeast at Fairgrounds Speedway, didn't leave his race car behind.

For years he continued to race at the Fairgrounds, and more recently began competing at Highland Rim Speedway whenever his schedule permits.

This season he is racing in Highland Rim's Pro-4 Mods. His son Dave, who lives in Athens, Ala., also races at the Rim. He makes the two-hour commute to Ridgetop every Saturday.

Further making racing at the Rim a family affair is the fact that Wright's wife Suzie sang the nation anthem a number of times last year, and may do repeat performances this season.

"My wife's not a professional singer, but she's very good," Wright says. "Last year when they needed someone to sing the anthem, I 'volunteered' her. She did a great job."

Dave's car carries a special tribute to his son Andrew, David Wright's grandson, who perished in an accident when he was 13.

"Losing my grandson was the worst thing that's ever happened to me," Wright says. "We feel like he is still around, and we will never forget him. Putting his name on Dave's race car is a tribute to his memory."

Wright got hooked on racing when his father took him to see some racing movies as a youngster.

"My dad didn't race, but he enjoyed the racing movies," Wright says. "As I kid I'd watch those movies and think, 'Hey, I'd like to do that.' As soon as I was big enough, I got a car and started racing."

The 1980's, when Wright raced in Fairgrounds Speedway's premier Late Model Division, were heydays for the track. Some of the top drivers in the region came in to test the local favorites.

"It was fun," Wright says. "I didn't win a lot of races, but I had a lot of want-to. I enjoyed getting out there and competing against those guys. On Sunday morning I'd have my name in the paper, along with drivers like [two-time Daytona champ] Sterling Marlin. It might not be up front, but at least it would be there."

He continues: "When I climb in that race car, I shut everything else out. I enter another world. For awhile, all I have to think about or worry about is driving that race car. It never grows old."

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