NASCAR DRIVERS COME TO GAFFNEY FOR DIRT TRACK TIME.

               Normally a rain out disappoints racers. They have to load up, arrange to make the trip back to the track, and they have to hope they can get the set-up right on their cars. For the NASCAR drivers that were entered in The Prelude to The Dream, a little more time to prepare has been a welcomed delay.

                A lot of the NASCAR drivers have never been on a dirt track. Guys like Eldora Speedway Owner Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, and Carl Edwards grew up on dirt tracks. Their experience on dirt is better than having a Cotton Owens prepared 426-Hemi when they line up against other current NASCAR drivers for the annual dirt track event.

                Several drivers have been getting any seat time they can in a dirt car, hoping to improve before making the trip back to Eldora next month. Recently, Marcos Ambrose and A J Allmendinger have been turning laps at the Cherokee Speedway, in Gaffney, to get more familiar with dirt Super Late Model cars.

                “This is the best kept secret in racing. These cars are very powerful and a lot of fun to drive,” said Ambrose last Tuesday between laps. 

                Ambrose raced last Tuesday (8/11/09) in a Crate Late Model at the Carolina Speedway in Gastonia. His first dirt race was very eventful, as he was involved in several spins in the #9 Crate car of Big John Pursley. ESPN NASCAR broadcaster Ray Evernham also competed in that race and he also had problems.

                Early this year, Joey Logano, the driver of the Joe Gibbs – Home Depot Toyota, turned his first ever laps on a dirt track at Gaffney. 

                “I have witnessed several of the NASCAR guys getting track time at Gaffney. All of them have been amazed at the horsepower, the feel of the car, and the acceleration of these Super Late Models,” said Cherokee Speedway Track Photographer Mike Butler.

                Butler says the look on the faces, when they pull off track after their first laps at speed says it all. Smiles as wide as a race track combined with a look of surprise to some degree.

                The rescheduled Prelude to the Dream will be held the same week as the World 100, the week of September 12th.