The Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series made its first-ever appearance Friday night at Deep South Speedway (AL) for part one of the “Duels in Dixie” event. Overcoming mechanical failures from earlier in the afternoon, David Breazeale stole the 30-lap show with a green-to-checkers victory that awarded him $3,000 and a chance to sweep the weekend.
Qualifying for the pole was a short-lived advantage for Breazeale who rolled over the scales with a fast time for group one, only to head back to his stall for the diagnosing to begin. The defending Southern All Stars champion was unsure whether he and his team would be able to resolve the issues in time for the feature.
“We didn’t know if we would make it or not,” Breazeale said. “The left arm failed and then it took the drive shaft with it. Luckily, nothing else was messed up and they had everything to fix it with. The bad part about it, we didn’t get the hot laps before the feature but we’ve run down here a few times in the past so we kind of know what to expect from the track.”
Deep South Speedway recently received a facelift, including a conversion of the track itself from a four-tenths to a three-eighths mile. Breazeale told Speed51 that to him, it raced like “the same old Loxley”, which kept him a step ahead of some of his competitors, despite the earlier setback that nearly cost him his chance to compete altogether.
Second-place finisher Josh Putnam was one of those drivers whose unfamiliarity with Deep South worked against him early on, particularly in qualifying. The kinks were smoothed out by the drop of the green flag, however. Putnam rebounded with one of the strongest runs of the night, coming up through the field from seventh for his runner-up finish.
“We were way too tight in qualifying,” Putnam said. “First time here, so we just guessed wrong but we won’t make that mistake twice. Second round of hot laps I told them we need to work on getting around the bottom, everyone was kind of blasting that top. I think it payed off for us there in the feature. Initial first lap we rotated one and two in the bottom really well and that got us a good run, a couple cars there, and put us in a good position to finish the race out and pick us a few more off.”
If qualifying is key, Larry Harrod had sealed that part of the deal better than anyone by setting fast time both for group two and overall for the day. Harrod started on the outside pole, hanging with Breazeale in the early going until a mishap on a restart allowed Putnam to slip by and ultimately the chance at a battle for the lead.
“We had a good run on the start and got down into turn one and there just wasn’t enough room for both of us, the groove was so narrow, I had to back out and try to fall in behind [Breazeale],” Harrod told Speed51. “We ran with him there for a while but we had that other caution. On the restart, I got into that dirt bank down there, the other guy got by me and then from there on I think us three were running right there together, just really wasn’t a whole lot of passing after that.”
It’s one down, one to go for the drivers of the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series. A 50-lap, $5,000-to-win race will conclude the second half of the “Duels in Dixie” event Saturday night at Deep South Speedway, though the intensity begins well before sundown with time trials.
“It’s all about qualifying,” Breazeale said. “We’ve been talking about that a lot lately. We’ve got to qualify up front to win these races. We didn’t do that last year and it showed in our results. Hopefully we can qualify good, keep the drive line under us and make a sweep of the weekend.”
Those who can’t make it out to the dirt oval can watch Saturday’s feature racing action live on Speed51 through our pay-per-view broadcast for $19.99. Click here for more info.
-Story and photo by: Melissa Strahley, Speed51 Correspondent
Duels in Dixie / Friday
Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series
- David Breazeale (54)
- Josh Putnam (212)
- Larry Harrod (27)
- Sam Seawright (16)
- Joseph Joiner (10)
- Ashton Winger (12)
- Billy Franklin (17)
- Mark Dodson (32)
- Dalton Cook (44)
- Ryan Crane (10c)
- Tyler Crowder (47)
- Tim Anderson (99)
- JR Moseley (99m)
- Brandon Hightower (B52)
- Cody Smith (9)
- Arlan Smith (99a)
- Bo Slay (2)