Madden Wins, Mitchell Impresses, and Ivey pays tribute at Cherokee

    October  2009                                                  Dale Wilkerson

                 It took a little while to get cars on track Saturday at Gaffney, but after that delay, the racing was great in all classes.

                On a night when the four cylinder class winners earned spots in the upcoming Four Cylinder Nationals, three late model cars were the talk of the Grandstands.

                These three cars were driven by Dan Ivey, Chris Madden, and Zack Mitchell.

                After the speedway trucks cleared the track, a familiar car rolled down pit road and pulled onto the racing surface.

                It was the car of the late Phillip Seifert, who passed away last month after a brief illness. Dan Ivey, Phillip’s uncle, was at the wheel as one of Phillip’s favorite songs blasted from the loud speakers.  That song was the theme from the racing movie Stroker Ace.

                Ivey took the green flag for five laps in memory of Phillip, and to let his fans see the car on track one last time.

                The fans stood for all five laps, raising the number five into the air as double checkered flags waved over Ivey on the final lap. The car was parked in Victory Lane as members of Seifert’s family and crew stood around it for photographs. Crew Chief Dale Greene raised a checkered flag over the car as the fireworks show of flashbulbs lit up the Winner’s Circle one more time for Phillip Seifert.

                After the Southern All Stars East division completed qualifying, Gaffney’s Jeff Cooke won the pole with Chris Madden, Casey Roberts and Zack Mitchell securing the top four spots.

                Cooke jumped to the early lead, to be passed by Roberts on lap six. Madden also got by Cooke and he was stalking Roberts. On lap eight, Madden made his move for the top spot, and just as he cleared Roberts, the right rear tire on Robert's car blew out causing heavy damage to the car, ending Roberts’s night.

                Not many laps after Roberts’s problem, Cooke was sidelined by mechanical problem ending his night as well.

                Madden built up a sizeable lead, over Benji Cole and Johnny Pursley, while 13-year old Zack Mitchell battled with Furman Parton for fourth place.

                Mitchell became the youngest driver to win a regular Super Late Model feature at Cherokee just two weeks ago. He has 10 Crate wins this season and after qualifying Saturday, he was in the thick of the battle in his first touring series event.

                As Madden continued to draw away from the field, all eyes focused on Mitchell. He showed the skill of a veteran as he fended of Parton to cross the finish line in fourth place. Earlier Saturday, Mitchell spoke of his goals for the event on Droppin’ the Hammer.

                “I want to qualify for the race and complete all the laps. In doing that, I hope to finish inside the top five,” Mitchell said. Not only did he finish inside the top five, but he gained respect from the competitors as well.

                Madden, who has scored numerous wins this season, was all smiles in Victory Lane, he races across the country and to get a win at his home track is just icing on the cake. “My crew worked hard today to put a good car under me and it drove well tonight, and winning for the hometown fans is always special,” said Madden.

Chris Madden (44) of Gaffney, SC passes Casey Roberts (101) of Toccoa, GA for the lead on lap eight and never looked back enroute to winning the Stick Elliott Memorial at Cherokee Speedway for the second consecutive year.                    Mike Butler Photographey

                Among the other winners, Tim Bristol picked up his fourth consecutive Street Stock Four win. Brayden Pruitt had mechanical problems that sidelined her early on. Bristol needed a part for his car after the heat races, and Pruitt’s crew came to the rescue, stripping the part for their wounded car, allowing Bristol to compete. “The Pruitt’s are super people; I could not have raced without their help tonight. On the track we want to out run each other, but all of us will help each other when we can to stay on track,” said Bristol.

              This Saturday, Bristol will have to start in the rear due to his recent success.            

               “It will be a good test for us to start in the back with the nationals coming up. The car has been good the past few weeks, but to win the nationals, it will need to be better,” Bristol said shortly after winning his feature.

                The events at the Anderson Motor Speedway scheduled for this Sunday afternoon have been cancelled due to the illness of track owner Rupurt Porter. 

                The following statement was posted on concerning the event.

                 The Porter family has regretfully made the decision to cancel the upcoming event, the November 1st Halloween Havoc Renegades 100 event due to the declining health of Rupert M. Porter, track owner. Mr. Porter was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome two years ago which is now full-blown Leukemia. Mr. Porter is at home and receiving care from his immediate family, Sylvia (daughter) and Shirley (wife). This is a personal decision, more so than a business decision in that the family is focused on providing constant care to the Mr. Porter.

          For more updates on Mr. Porter, visit the track’s web-page.