Ferguson wins SASE Race at Cherokee

               Dale Wilkerson                                       June 2010

The Southern All Stars East series returned to action last Friday night as drivers battled for the top prize of $3,000. The series had not been on track for two months, due to scheduling problems, and race fans and competitors were chomping at the bit to get on track.
Chris Madden was one of the early cars to roll out in qualifying and he laid down the lap to beat. Chris Ferguson, Casey Roberts and Zack Mitchell rounded out the top four with point’s leader Johnny Pursley in fifth.
After a few pace laps, including the four-wide salute to the fans, the field dropped the hammer for 40-laps of racing.
Ferguson had a slight edge as the cars hit turn one, but Madden made the low groove work to snag the lead. The race was slowed by a couple of cautions, allow the field to close in on Madden but with each restart, Madden was able to break away from the pack.
After building up a near two second lead, Madden’s car began to slow. Ferguson closed in and began to look for a chance to grab the top spot. The duo battled for three laps before Ferguson pulled his Starrette Trucking ride into the lead. Madden hung on for a couple of laps before he slowed down the backstretch and rolled to a stop in turn four, resulting in a caution.
Madden’s crew removed the hood from the car and began to spray water on the radiator in an attempt to cool down the engine but the damage was done, ending Madden’s night.
Ferguson was able to maintain the top spot after a few late cautions, while Johnny Pursley battled door to door with Casey Roberts for second place. Pursley backed up his win in the season opener with a second place finish, giving him the points lead. Three –time series Champion Casey Roberts finished third followed by Jeff Smith and Ross Bailes. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Gault, Zack Mitchell, Jim Rasey, Big John Pursley, and Douglas Davis. Ferguson was very excited as he accepted the trophy and check in the Mike Butler Victory Lane.

“The win means a lot to the team. Mr. Jack Starrette has surgery last week and a lot of prayers were answered as he came through the surgery nicely. His medicine has been helping but this trophy will cheer him up even more. I had to work hard to get by Madden then on those last restarts, to see the three time champion in the rearview mirror, had me up on the wheel. Casey and Johnny started battling for second and we were able to get away,” said Ferguson.
This win marked Ferguson’s first at Cherokee Speedway since Victory Lane was dedicated to the memory of the late Mike Butler. Ferguson took a moment Friday night to remember his friend. “Mike Butler was a great friend to all of us involved in racing. I am sure he is looking down from Heaven smiling tonight. My care carries a sticker for him each week; he was a great guy and a strong supporter of this speedway.”
The series will be back in action Tuesday June 8th, with the Laurens County Shrine Race. This mid-week event has always been a fan favorite and drivers will be looking to add their name to the list of winners. Chris Madden, who grew up in Laurens County, is the defending champion and if his crew can get the car repaired, many have picked him as the man to beat. Mike Gault ventured down to Laurens County Speedway last Saturday night for a practice run and he captured the win in the weekly Super Late Model event.