Ross Bailes is already a winner at Cherokee Speedway this season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t hungry to score another very lucrative win at his home track this Sunday during March Madness.
Bailes took the checkered flag on January 26 when the Xtreme DIRTcar Series visited the Gaffney, South Carolina facility, holding off fellow Southeastern standouts Casey Roberts and Johnny Pursley.
The Clover, South Carolina native hopes to carry that success into this weekend’s $12,000-to-win Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series event, an event he won previously in 2017.
“We are going to go with basically what we had on the last race we went to,” Bailes told Speed51. “Hopefully we’ll unload quick like we did last time.”
Bailes has enjoyed plenty of success at “The Place Your Mama Warned You About.” In addition to his 2017 March Madness win, he defended home turf against the World of Outlaws Late Models last year at Cherokee, and hopes to do the same against this weekend’s competition.
“There is some really good competition there. It’s a good way to judge how our car is, off this race. We’re looking forward to it. We know we have to be on our A Game to beat those guys.”
Bailes considers Cherokee his home track, as one of the places he developed as a racer. That experience often gives him an advantage on the competition when they come to Gaffney.
“It’s my home track, so I’ve probably got more laps there than anywhere else. It’s between there and Carolina. That’s where I learned how to race, right there. It’s fast. It just suits my driving style.”
This weekend’s feature race is 60 laps, 20 laps longer than the Xtreme DIRTcar Series event he won earlier this year. However, Bailes believes the right tire selection will allow him to push hard over the extra distance.
“I’ll probably race the same. It’ll come down to making the right tire choice for the extra 20 laps. Tires will become more of a factor than the one I won earlier in the year.”
Winning March Madness and its five-digit payday is a good shot in the arm for any racing team. However, a win can also give a team momentum entering the thick of the Dirt Late Model season, which Bailes has been fortunate enough to experience before.
“The year I won it, we ended up having a good year after I won the race. If we run good there, it helps the momentum going into the season and gets us on the right foot.”
Race fans unable to make the trip to Cherokee Speedway for March Madness will be able to watch live on Speed51. More information about Sunday’s broadcast will be available soon.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51