One of the biggest early-season Dirt Late Model races in the Southeast will be held Sunday afternoon at Cherokee Speedway. March Madness, a $10,000-to-win event for the Southern All Stars, will feature many of the biggest names in Dirt Late Model racing. We get you ready for the event with 10 things to know.
1) Last year, Dale McDowell won the March Madness race for the first time in his career. McDowell had not won a touring series race at Cherokee Speedway since 2012 when he won on the Battle of the Eastern Stars tour. McDowell was a perfect four-for-four in Southern All Stars action in 2020.
2) $10,000 will be on the line for the winner of Sunday’s race at Cherokee Speedway. There will be a total of five feature races on Sunday afternoon.
3) Sunday’s race kicks off the Southern All Star Racing Series season after the opener was washed out at Screven Motor Speedway (GA). In all, there are 29 races scheduled with no mention of a make up for the first race that was washed out.
4) Looking at the history of this race, Jarden Landers is the only driver to win back-to-back March Madness events and Jonathan Davenport is the only four-time winner. Davenport is expected to be in competition Sunday afternoon.
5) Ronnie Johnson is the SAS all-time wins leader with 60 career wins. Just to show you how tough Cherokee Speedway is, Johnson never won there in 20 starts.
6) One of the more successful drivers at Cherokee in recent years has been Ross Bailes, who won Lucas Oil and Carolina Clash events last year on the red clay. Now it looks as if he’s going for Rookie of the Year honors on the World of Outlaw Late Model tour.
7) A solid pick for this weekend if he’s there would be Brandon Overton. The Appling, Georgia driver won his last two starts in 2020 at Cherokee Speedway, including the Palmetto Invitational. He’s also won three of his last five starts at the track. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series point leader is expected to be at Cherokee on Sunday.
8) Chris Madden is a two-time winner of this race and won the Frostbite 40 just a week back at Cherokee. We feel like he has to be a favorite with his recent success. He’s always fast when he unloads at Cherokee.
9) Many of the biggest names in Dirt Late Model racing are expected to enter Sunday’s race. Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens, Josh Richards, Chris Ferguson, Tyler Erb and Stewart Friesen are just a few of the drivers who have confirmed their attendance. We could see a high car count for this show, which can be viewed live on Speed51.TV.
10) Cherokee Speedway will play host to several big events in 2021 from the Word of Outlaw Late Models, ULTIMATE Super Late Models, Blue Ridge Outlaws Late Models , Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models , Carolina Clash and the Xtreme DIRTcar Series for the Blue Grey 100. Many of these events — excluding the WoO Late Models, Lucas Late Models and Blue Grey 100 — will be streamed live on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Will Bellamy