The 29th running of the Blue Gray 100 at Cherokee Speedway (SC) saw one of the Palmetto State’s finest, Chris Madden finish out a tremendous 2019 season with his sixth win in the late-season classic. Continuing the great success he has found since joining Scott Bloomquist’s Team Zero, Madden struck in the early laps and never looked back.
This three-decades long race served both as the season-ending event for the 2019 Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series, as well as the season opener for the new Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series winter championship for Dirt Super Late Models. It brought many of the Southeast’s best out to Gaffney, South Carolina.
Starting in the seventh position, it only took a couple of laps for Madden to carve his way up towards early leaders Zach Mitchell and Jimmy Owens, avoiding disaster as Chris Ferguson spun into the inside wall on Lap 7. Madden would eventually get the lead soon after the ensuing restart on Lap 12.
Leading over Owens for most of the race before Ross Bailes took over the runner-up position with 14 laps to go, nothing could stop ‘Smokey’ on his drive to another Blue Gray triumph. In victory lane, he dedicated the win to a good friend who was going through a very tough time.
“It has been pretty awesome, kind of at a loss for words. We came into this deal this weekend with a friend of mine, Hoss, he lost his daughter. So, it couldn’t happen at a better time to get a win for him, and we can dedicate this race for her,” Madden said after the race.
Overall, it is Madden’s 10th win of 2019, but his ninth since joining forces with Bloomquist back in July. Madden was quick to thank the team for all the momentum they have helped to give him.
“It has been awesome ever since Scott and I put this deal together, Cody has been a blessing to Scott and I both, what a special person Cody Sommers is to us. Scott, he’s at home watching, I got us another brother, hope you’re proud. We can’t thank everybody on this car enough.”
With the Blue Gray 100 being Madden’s last race of 2019, he is more than anxious to get right to 2020 with all the momentum currently behind him.
“Can’t wait to get next year started. Scott’s going to Cochran next week, so maybe he’ll pick up another win for us.”
Behind Madden, Ross Bailes came home with a strong runner-up following a duel with Jimmy Owens over the middle of the race. In the end, Bailes was able to get the best Ownes, despite Owens having the preferred on a late restart.
“I was telling Jimmy, it seems like every year I’m running third, and when it rubbers up that second-place man chooses the inside and it always works for me. I was hoping for one more, but I knew once Chris and Jimmy got by me early in the race, it was going to be hard to get back by. But the track was in good shape and we had a good run.”
As for Bailes’ plans for next season, they are non-existent. But, he hopes that this performance will serve as a good audition for any car owners looking for a driver for 2020.
“I have no plans right now except getting married in a few weeks. Hopefully the phone will ring, if not we’ll try to put something together ourselves.”
Blue Gray 100 Unofficial Results
- 0M – Chris Madden
- 9 – Ross Bailes
- 22P – Jimmy Owens
- 24P – Michael Brown
- 76 – Brandon Overton
- 88 – Trent Ivey
- 2 – Dennis Franklin
- 91 – Derrick Ramey
- 17 – Logan Roberson
- 79 – Kyle Hardy
- 57M – Zack Mitchell
- 03 – David Yandle
- 51M – Joey Moriarty
- 4 – Matt Nance
- 5 – Corey Gordon
- 18 – Brett Hamm
- 70 – Jeff Smith
- 8 – Kyle Strickler
- 77 – Brian Connor
- 22 – Chris Ferguson
- 42K – Cla Knight
- 2X – John Henderson
- 43A – Tyler Bare
- 421 – Anthony Sanders
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51