Saturday night was a good night for Ricky Locklair, Jr. at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC). The Darlington, South Carolina native took the pole for both the Street Stock and Challenger AR features for the 10th Annual New Year’s Bash.
Locklair, Jr. will be pulling double-duty with a shot to win $3,500 tomorrow, with $2,500 on the line in the 110-lap Street Stock feature that has drawn racers from more than a dozen states across America.
Locklair, Jr. was surprised to see how fast he was in the Street Stock qualifying session, which locked 20 drivers into Sunday’s feature field. The Palmetto State racer was unimpressed with his performance during the day’s practice sessions, but put together a fast lap when it mattered most.
“It’s surprising,” Locklair, Jr. told Speed51. “We worked on these cars pretty much all day. We struggled a little bit in practice, but come qualifying time, we laid down some fast times.”
Locklair, Jr. is excited to start up front for the race, which he previously won in 2016. He knows staying up front and out of harm’s way is important, but so is saving tires during the marathon race.
“You definitely want to start up front in these long races like this, with all these cars. It’s going to be hard. With these tires, they’re really soft. You’ve got to save the tires for later in the race. It’s going to be tough to hang up front.”
While a local driver claimed the Street Stock pole, an outsider will start alongside him on the front row. Ohio’s Josh Way qualified second, sporting a tribute throwback design featuring Tim Richmond’s Folgers’ colors.
Way was excited to qualify so well, especially after needing to transfer from the B-Main in the 2019 edition of the New Year’s Bash en route to a seventh-place finish.
“I didn’t think we were going to be nowhere near that quick,” said Way. “I thought those guys were going to run 17.80s. I guess that’s a pretty good upgrade. Last year, we had to run the consi race. This year, we came here and got second place.”
What will it take for Way to stay up front in tomorrow’s race and contend for a win?
“A miracle, I guess,” said Way. “To make it through all these cars in this race. They get torn up pretty bad. We’ll have to see what happens.”
Greg Peterson, in a Folgers car designed nearly identically to Way’s, will start third, followed by Jeff Sparks and Averitt Lucas.
Curtis Peeples will start on the pole for Sunday’s Street Stock B-Main after qualifying 21st. Six drivers will transfer into the feature race from Sunday’s B-Main.
Racing will begin at 2 p.m. ET at Dillon Motor Speedway for the 10thAnnual New Year’s Bash. Fans unable to make the trip to Dillon can watch the action live on Speed51. Click here for more information.
New Year's Bash Unofficial Qualifying Results
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo