Roberts charges through field for Laurens County Shrine Race Win

        Dale Wilkerson                                                             June 2010

       Sometimes a mid-week race hurts the crowd, but the Laurens County Shrine Race had the excitement of a night race at Bristol.
Eighteen drivers signed in to qualify with Clover’s Johnny Pursley snagging the pole with a lap time of 14.389 seconds around the track known as ‘The Darlington of Dirt.’ 

      As Bruce Coyle waved the green flag, Pursley and Dennis Franklin launched toward turn one side-by-side. The race was slowed by five cautions, the first for hard contact with the turn two wall by Mike Gault. During this caution, Brandon Ifft pulled into the pits with engine troubles.
      Franklin was able to get away from the pack on each restart while defending series champion Casey Roberts wasted little time in making his charge toward the front. Roberts battled with Jeff Cooke for five laps before completing the pass. Another caution waved as Johnny Pursley spun in turn two. Pursley was having handling issues and had to settle for an 11th place finish after the spin. 

      Just pass the mid-race point, Roberts began to stalk Franklin. The driver of the #101 Cushman ride was looking both high and low hoping for racing room. Franklin’s car developed a problem leaving the Gaffney native wrestling for control. Roberts looked high in turn four but almost made contact with Franklin. Two laps later, Roberts made the high side work as he powered by Franklin for the lead and the victory.

      “We went the wrong way with the set-up for qualifying but the car came to life for the main. The track was in great shape, I was able to run at the bottom or out by the wall and these Laurens County fans are awesome,” said Roberts.
      Franklin climbed from his car to discover just what had caused his handling problems over the final ten laps. “Well it looks like we cut a tire down because it is completely flat now. It was a small cut but the car was get worse and worse the longer the race went. I was fighting, hoping to hold off Casey but he had such a great run off four there was nothing I could do, but finishing second place with a flat tire is a pretty good night,” said Franklin.
        The Southern All Stars East series will return to action with a double-header planned for the weekend of June 25th and 26th. If a driver can sweep these two events, he will pocket over $12,000. First on June 25th, the annual Grassy Smith Memorial race will be held at Cherokee Speedway followed by the Robert Pursley Memorial Race which will be held in Chester at the I-77 Speedway.