Racing Rowlands: Dad, mom, son swap paint

Larry Woody • Apr 7, 2018 at 8:30 AM

In the annals of racing there have been some notable father-son duels, such as Bobby vs. Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt vs. Dale Jr.

But, as far as Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway race historians can determine, there has never been a father-son-mom matchup in the track’s 60-year history.

The racing Rowlands of Wilson County will change that this season.

Rick Rowland, who has been racing for decades, will compete in the Speedway’s Pro Mod division along with his wife Tammy and son Corey.

Corey, a 24-year-old graduate of Wilson Central High and Georgia Tech, won Rookie of the Year last season, while Tammy is venturing into her rookie season.

“I think it will be a lot of fun,” says Tammy, who ran a ladies-only Powder Puff race last year at the Fairgrounds and finished in mid-pack. “Rick, Corey and I have raced go-karts against each other before and had a blast.”

“It should be interesting,” says Rick, who over the years has competed at Nashville, Highland Rim, Carthage, Huntsville, Ala., and Owensboro, Ky.

“Corey and I have raced against each other in the past, and we’ve got together on two or three occasions. We race each other hard, which is what we’re supposed to do. If I beat him and I thought he hadn’t done his best to beat me, I’d be disappointed.

“If anything, I probably race Corey harder than I do other drivers because I don’t want anybody to think I cut him any slack just because he’s my son. If he beats me, I want him to earn it.”

Corey feels the same way.

“When we’re racing each other I’m aware that’s my dad, of course, but I don’t race him any differently than I do other drivers,” he says, adding with a laugh: “Oh, I might not dump him, because we have to fix our own cars.”

While Rick and Corey have raced side-by-side at various times, it’s never been on the final lap with a win on the line.

“I’ve always thought it would be fun to do that,” Corey says.

Who does he think would win such a showdown?

“It’s hard to say,” Corey says. “My dad has taught me everything I know about racing, but I’m sure he knows a lot more that he HASN’T taught me. He might have a few tricks he hasn’t taught me.”

Corey was almost literally born on a racetrack – he arrived a couple of days after his mom and dad returned from a race. He started racing motorcycles at 12 and shortly afterwards graduated to stock cars at Highland Rim Speedway.

Corey has a knack for all things mechanical. After high school he was offered a scholarship to Georgia Tech by Thompson Mechanical, with an agreement to work for the company for a specified time after graduating. He is employed at the company’s LaVergne office.

Corey’s mechanical gift comes in handy in keeping the fleet of cars up and running at the family’s Roland Motorsports shop near the Wilson County Fairgrounds.

“Maintaining three cars keeps us busy,” Corey says. “In addition to running for the championship at Nashville I may run some at Highland Rim, and I also plan to race at Huntsville (Ala.) and enter this winter’s Snowball Derby in Pensacola. It will be a busy schedule, but it will be fun.”

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