It was an eventful day at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC on Sunday as the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series (SAS) highlighted a racing card that included SECA Late Models, SECA Crate Sportsman and the track’s Stock 4 divisions.


With a great crowd in attendance, Randy Weaver stole the show in the 60-lap March Madness main event for the SAS Dirt Series.  But there was a lot more that went on at the famous 4/10-mile oval, so 51 has put together a list of nuggets to get you caught up with everything that went down.



Steve Banal in SECA Late Model victory lane at Cherokee Speedway. ( Photo)

Steve Banal in SECA Late Model victory lane at Cherokee Speedway. ( Photo)

Steve Banal picked up his second SECA Crate Late Model win of the weekend on Sunday afternoon after dominating the 25-lap $2,500-to-win event.  The win for Banal came just two days after he picked up a win on the live 51 TV broadcast of the North Carolina Modified Nationals at Friendship Speedway (NC).


Banal set fast time in qualifying, started from the pole, survived multiple early race restarts and led-wire-to wire on his way to victory lane.  The win was his third in four races driving for car owners John and Wesley Page.  The only race he didn’t end up in victory lane, Saturday night at Friendship, he finished second.


“It’s my fourth time in that car and it’s my third win, so it’s pretty good,” Banal told powered by JEGS.  “We’ve become pretty good friends with Wesley Page and John Page.  They wanted to know if I’d be interested in driving their car and we kind of put this deal together.  Three wins in four races, you can’t get much better than that.”



Fans in attendance on Sunday afternoon were treated to some great racing on the track, but the moment they may remember most is the horrific wreck that took place in turn one on lap 16 of the 60-lap SAS Dirt feature.



It was hard to tell exactly what caused the multi-car incident, but the end result was a whole lot of carnage and chaos.  The race was red flagged as track officials (and crew members standing pitside) rushed to the scene to find Dillon Tidmore’s No. 38 machine stacked on top of Dustin Mitchell’s upside-down No. 8 machine.


All drivers would exit the scene uninjured, but Mitchell was forced to sit upside-down in his car for an extended period of time before being helped out by safety officials.


51 caught up with Tidmore after the red flag period to get his take on what exactly happened.


“They just started piling up in front of us before we could get slowed down.  Between the dust and the daylight you couldn’t really see anything or do nothing.  There was nothing I could do about it; I was just on for the ride.  You really couldn’t see, but that’s part of it.  It’s part of dirt racing.”


After the accident, 13 of the 24 cars that started the feature were remaining on the race track.



Cale Conley, most known for his work in the asphalt ranks competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, played around in the dirt at Cherokee Speedway Sunday afternoon.  Driving his red No. 14 machine, Conley qualified second and finished third in the SECA Crate Late Model feature event.



In an entertaining 15-lap Stock 4 feature event that saw early leader Nick Walker spin in front of the field, Austin Mintz would wind up crossing under the checkered flag first.  But he wouldn’t be the one taking home the trophy from the March Madness event.


Mintz crossed the scales after the race and it was determined by race officials that his No. 18 did not meet the minimum race requirements.  His disqualification handed the official win down to second-place finishing Brayden Pruitt, a fan favorite and female driver in the division.


-By Brandon Paul, Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51

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March Madness News ‘N Nuggets: Dominance, Chaos and DQ