CLASS OF 2009, CHEROKEE SPEEDWAY ADDS 5 TO HALL OF FAME

The Cherokee Speedway will induct the newest members into its Hall of Fame this Sunday afternoon. This event will be surrounded by two nights of racing including a combined Super Late Model race with both the Southern All Stars and the Southern All Stars East Series.

Cars will hit the track Saturday night with heat races for Super Stock Four, Renegades, Limited Sportsman, and the Crate Late Models. Street Stock Four and the Young Guns will run their heats and their features Saturday night.

The Hall of Fame Ceremonies will begin at 6:30pm, followed by hot laps. The features for Super Stock Four, Renegades, Limited Sportsman and the Crates will be held along with qualifying and the $10,000 to win Super Late Model event.

With extra money on the line, the action in all the classes will be exciting, and it will remind us of races we have seen in the past here at Cherokee, and even of races to come.

Petey Ivey has raced at Cherokee for over 30 years. He has won many feature races but he will never forget his first night at the track.

"I flipped it!!! End over end, several times!! I was young, just 12 years old, that first night was tough but I kept coming back!" said Petey Ivey last Saturday night after watching NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver A J Allmendinger finish third in his car.

"I’m 45 years old, I want to run a few more years but I am really starting to enjoy watching my son Trent race. But to think I am going into to the hall of Fame with guys like Mike Duvall, Billy Scott, and Freddie Smith is truly a great honor," added Ivey.

Ivey remembers his first laps well, but the first laps of a fellow inductee were perhaps the most memorable of all.

Otis Spencer made the first ever laps at speed around the old half mile at Gaffney. Whenever anyone talks about setting track records at Gaffney, Spencer can say, "You just beat my record, good job kid!"

Charlie Blanton was one of the first to break Spencer’s record. Blanton competed for many years at Gaffney, both he and his brother Bud were some of the toughest racers to ever turn laps on the Gaffney clay.

Roger Hamrick raced his entire career at his home track. Hamrick racked up over 500 wins in a career that spanned over 20 years. Any night you attend a race at Gaffney, you will hear someone say something that will start with, "Do you remember that night when Roger Hamrick," and they will add the rest of the memory of a great race.

All of these drivers had family and friends supporting them each week. Sometimes they even had sponsors, someone with a business with a love for racing as long as the back stretch at Talladega. All sponsors are always appreciated by their drivers, but not many sponsors appreciate their drivers as much as Jack Starrette.

They are not many nights you will not find Starrette Construction logos on a race car at Cherokee, or many other tracks across the Carolina’s. Starrette has a deep appreciation for the drivers, the mechanics, the cars, and the sport. He has helped many drivers chase their dreams while enjoying the show at each track.

Legends have been dropping the hammer at Gaffney for many years now. As these five men are honored for their driving skills and contributions to the sport of Auto Racing, we all may see a chapter written in the history of the Cherokee Speedway again this weekend.

Qualifying records could fall again as a young shoe cuts a great lap. A bold three wide pass for the win could decide the race coming off turn four. We might even witness a member of the Class of 2009, Petey Ivey; accept his spot in the Hall of Fame along with the winner’s check. Petey has a feature win at Gaffney this year along with a couple of Carolina Clash wins across the state line. If he can get the new car dialed in, it could happen.

This will be a special night, and a special race, and you can just about bet your bottom dollar, if you are there, it could be you saying something like, "Do you remember during the 2009 Hall of Fame race when…"