Roberts scores 3rd win of the SASE Season
Dale Wilkerson July 2010
Race fans were dazzled by great racing and a fifteen minute fireworks display during the Independence Shootout at the Cherokee Speedway last Saturday night.
After 19 drivers hit the track for qualifying, Casey Roberts grabbed the pole with Brent Dixon, Jim Rasey, and Chris Madden rounding out the top four.
Roberts was able to win the drag race down the backstretch with Dixon to lay claim to the top spot. The race was slowed by three cautions, the first for a multi car incident in turn four that included Austin Dillon and John Pursley.
While Roberts continued to stretch out his lead lap after lap, Jim Rasey powered by Dixon for second place. Jeff Smith worked his way past Chris Madden and began to run down Dixon for third. Smith looked to be making a charge toward the front similar to the run that earned him a running up finish during the Grassy Smith Memorial race last month, but the dry-slick racing surface took a toll on his tires, and he fell back into the clutches of Madden during the waning laps.
Fans focused on the battle for third as Madden looked for racing room to get by Smith and Dixon. Madden bolted by Smith and zeroed in on Dixon with five laps to go. Madden made a move in turns one and two, but Dixon was able to pull ahead down the back stretch. On the white flag lap, Madden gave it one last shot, and powered by Dixon for third place in turn four.
For three time champion Casey Roberts, the hard work his crew put in after falling out of the Grassy Smith Memorial race has allowed this team to score two consecutive, flag-to-flag wins.
“This old car was great at Chester last Saturday, and it seemed better tonight. The car was good from the time we rolled of the truck. Those final laps I knew I just needed to stay smooth. I could see Jim stalking me, and one bobble he would have been able to pounce on us,” said Roberts.
The GM-Performance – City Chevrolet Crates came down to a battle between Anthony Sanders and Chris Madden. Sanders had a big lead to only see Madden erase it with six laps to go. Madden pulled alongside Sanders several times, but each time Sanders held his line and maintained the lead.
“That was a lot of fun racing with Chris. He helped me earlier this year by taking my car around the track and suggesting a few things that we should do. That advice made this car better and it has made me a better driver,” Sanders said.
A huge pile-up on lap one of the Limited Sportsman heat race looked like the end of the night for drivers Danny Tessnier and Mike Messer. Josh Wilkerson stacked them three wide and he slid into Josh Robbins. As the cars bounced off each other, Messer’s car rode up on the wall while Tessnier suffered heavy right front damage. For Robbins, his night turned upside down as contact three laps later from Randy Cantrell forced his car into a barrel roll in turn three. Many fans were surprised as all of these cars returned to the track for the feature.
Wilkerson had the race in control with Messer and Tessnier running second and third. As Tessnier was making a bid to get around Messer, Wilkerson suddenly slowed. Tessnier kept his foot in the gas a jumped out to a ten car length lead to claim the win.
“I got to hand it to the crew, they didn’t give up and they worked hard to get this car back on track. We have had a lot of bad luck this year and maybe this win will be the start of some good luck,” said Tessnier.
James Abernathy scored the win in Pure Stock with Dillon Duvall finishing a strong run in second place. Brandon Lambert survived the Stock Four mayhem to score a win and Ricky Greene held off Andrew Wilson to grab the Young Guns victory.