LANCASTER, SC - As forecasted throughout much of the week, today's weather included a threat for rain. The models were very consistent on the fact that it would rain. When and how much? That was a different story. For the teams of the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series tonight, the rain is not the problem. It was the brewing storm that most don't see coming until it is too late. Many cars could fall victim to mechanical problems, overheating engines, tire failures as such that only five cars were running at the conclusion of the event. That was the storyline that was written after this event last season.
Tonight, perhaps, will be a very different story or maybe the same old song sung to a different tune. Either way, the fans of Lancaster Super Speedway are sure to turn out to open their 63rd season of racing at the half-mile speed plant that was built in 1954. Doug McManus of Rock Hill, SC has been operating the venue since 2001, among the longest stretches of promoter runs in the track history at 16 consecutive years.
Johnny Pursley, fresh off his victory at the Skyler Trull Memorial Race at the Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, NC last weekend, will enter the event as the series champion and current point leader. Ross Bailes and Zack Mitchell, who scored a second-place finish at the Trull Memorial, carry loads of momentum into a track where Mitchell would love to break into the Lancaster history books for his second series win. Other notable drivers expected to attend is the Barry Wright Race Cars team with Jonathan Davenport. JD is no stranger to success at Lancaster, after winning a crown-jewel event at the track in 2013. Other drivers include Pageland, SC Carolina Clash Clarendon CarQuest Auto Parts Rookie competitors Downtown Michael Brown in the #24 car that finished in the top five at Carolina a week ago. Roanoke Rapids, NC driver Willie the Wild Child Milliken is expected to also be in action after a disappointing end to his event last weekend. 2015 champion Rock Hill Bad Boy Ben Watkins will return to Lancaster, who like Michael Brown, has often called this track "home" over the previous ten years racing in local classes of either stock bodies or late model variety. Others to be in attendance are Scott Shirey, Anthony and Doug Sanders, who perhaps is the only driver to have experienced competition at Lancaster during the 1970s and early 1980s, before the current track layout and configuration was built over the previous 40 years. David Yandle and Shaun Medlin each have raced at Lancaster Speedway over the previous 20 years in late models. Tony Quarles will make a second attempt at a Carolina Clash start after having problems a week earlier. With weather playing a role in the weekend plans for many teams, several other teams are expected to be in attendance.
The series' next stop is to Fayetteville, North Carolina for the 9th Annual Ed Gibbons Memorial Race. The event will honor the 2001 Carolina Clash champion who passed away in 2009. This will be the 67th race for the Carolina Clash series to be run at the Fayetteville, NC track. Ricky Weeks and Dennis Franklin have a combined 16 wins between the two at FMS, while Jeff Smith, Ray Tucker and Luke Roffers each have 5 wins apiece there. Additionally, 22 different drivers have tasted victory with Clash, including Earl Pearson, Jr. Ed Gibbons was generally considered a frequent visitor to Fayetteville and Lake View Motor Speedways throughout the years, while Sumter Speedway, located near his hometown of Manning, SC, was where you would find him on a typical Saturday night. He had three Carolina Clash wins at Fayetteville.
The event will pay $5,000 to win and will start 22 cars at $400 to start. Additional purse information can be found online at www.carolinaclash.com.
Lancaster Speedway will feature the fan favorite stock bodies of the Super Stock, SECA Crate Sportsman, Renegade and the popular Extreme 4 FWD. Pit gates will be opening at 3:00. Grandstands will open at 5:00. Carolina Clash drivers meeting is expected to begin at 5:30, with hot laps beginning around 6:00.