March 24, 2009      Dale Wilkerson


Throughout the off season, local racers spent a lot of time getting their cars ready for the first race of 2009. Some racers always have the fear off tearing up the car on opening night. At the same time, every driver approaches that first green flag of the year, with the hammer down looking to go to the front.

            At the Greenville Pickens Speedway Saturday night, the anticipation of the season’s first green flag produced a pile of twisted metal as 16 of the 24 late models, in the first feature of the night, got together resulting in the big one.

            Marty Ward was ahead of the wreck, and like he did on his way to the 2008 Greenville-Pickens Track Championship, he won both of the features on this double header night.

            This double header was scheduled to make up the race that was lost due to rain on 3/14/09. Other series also had double dips scheduled this weekend, including the Carolina Clash Dirt Super Late Models.

            Friday night, Chris Ferguson picked up the win in the Skyler Trull Memorial at the Carolina Speedway, in Gastonia, NC. Ferguson recovered from a flat tire to grab his first ever win in the Carolina Clash Series.

            The series rolled down to Lancaster, SC for a Saturday night feature that saw a Gaffney driver pick up the first of his two wins this week.

            Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin, driving for Barry Wright Racing, grabbed the checkers at Lancaster, and followed that win of a strong run at the Travelers Rest Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

            The Ice Breaker, which had been rescheduled twice due to snow and rain, was race number two for the O’Reilly Southern All Stars East Tour. Franklin was able to hold off the challenge of March Madness winner Jonathan Davenport to grab the win.

            The night before down in Lavonia, Chris Madden grabbed the win in O’Reilly Southern All Stars feature. This gives Madden three wins on the 2009 OSAS, with just five events complete on the schedule.

            The Cherokee Speedway, in Gaffney, was also in action last Saturday night. This was the first Saturday night race of the year, and the chilly temperatures did not cool off the action on track.

            Stacey Brock of Campobello looked to be in mid season form as he picked up the won of Andy Mattison of Woodruff. A few weeks ago, these two finished one-two down at the Modoc Speedway with Mattison taking the win.

            There was a first time winner in the Pure Stock class, and after he climbed from his car, in the Winner’s Circle, a happy Johnny Bell was drug through the mud by his crew. This is a tradition for a driver picking up their first win, and for Bell’s photo album, track photographer Mike Butler was there to catch another ‘Kodak Moment.’

            The Union County Speedway held its first night race of the year last Friday. There were seven classes racing and the action was fast and furious. Among the winners were Mack Norris, of Campobello, in the Young Guns class and Clyde Scott, from Union, picking up the Limited Sportsman win.

            And also last Friday night, the Anderson Motor Speedway opened the 2009 season with racing in nine classes. Trey Gibson went flag to flag to grab the BM-Modified win. Austin Acker did the same in the C-Mini stocks along with Jody Trivette in the Renegades and Andrew Brown in the Legends Division.