On the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series, local stars rule the roost. Whether they run a full, majority, or partial schedule throughout the season, most competitors have plenty of occasions to head to a track just around the corner, race hard, and in some cases get home before the clock strikes midnight.
Such is the case for 2016 Carolina Clash champion Johnny Pursley who hails from Clover, South Carolina and Carolina Speedway, which is just a hop, skip, and jump north of the state line in Gastonia, North Carolina. That, being the location of the next Clash round with $5,000 on the line this Friday, May 17.
The timing for Pursley could not be any better, as it will be just the second race on a brand new Dirt Super Late Model that he debuted just weeks ago at Cherokee Speedway (SC), in the storm that is the World of Outlaws. After ending the night in not very graceful fashion, Pursley is hoping that all of the bugs are out of his new ride.
“We just got our car two weeks ago after we had been waiting on it. So, we finally got it and raced it at Gaffney for our first race,” Pursley told Speed51. “We hot lapped good, qualified good, did good in the heat race, but then we got some new car gremlins and ended up wrecking. We had a few things loose and we didn’t get to do the tires like we wanted to, and just got behind the eight-ball.”
Despite the late arrival of the car and late start to his racing season, the wait had been necessary after being able to make it to victory lane in 2018. Now with the first dents banged out and the apparent troubles sorted out, Pursley is ready to go after winner’s checks in 2019, starting this Friday night.
“Last year, we let our stuff get out of date a little bit. Now we got the new car, I’m pretty excited, I think we got a really good car. This weekend we should be ready to go. We got Matt Logan helping with the shocks and springs. Knowing who we got to outrun, I think we can hang with them, and actually outrun them. We can win some races this year.”
This time around, Pursley hopes to take full advantage of his local knowledge, minus the worry of a long driver, and turn it into a $5,000 payday.
“The track is about 10 or 15 minutes from the house. I could probably drive it with my eyes closed. Carolina is a fast little racetrack, it can get rough from time to time. When it’s smooth you get some really good racing. When it’s rough, it can be very demanding because it doesn’t slow down, so you get to see everyone work hard.
“It’s as good a place to do it. Hopefully if we can’t get a win, I’m confident we can get a Top 3 just to be competitive.”
But, he knows full well that the Carolinas are bursting with talent in the Dirt Super Late Model ranks, and that just knowing how to drive the track blindfolded will only get you so far.
“It’s a good series, especially for local guys who don’t want to travel five hours. It’s usually three or less, maybe four for some. There’s a lot of good guys around here that love to race, so it will be a challenge.”
This Friday race fans don’t have to be from the Southeast to enjoy the Carolina Clash from Gastonia, N.C. as the race will be live for all Speed51 premium subscribers on the Speed51 Network. Click here to sign up today for a Premium Membership to the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Johnny Pursley Facebook