By: Michael Despain
Southern Nationals Bonus Series
SOMERSET, KY (October 15, 2014)-The Southern Nationals Bonus Series is set to return to action with a Friday/Saturday doubleheader of racing competition at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC as the tour will sanction the Robert Pursley Memorial on Friday October 24 and the 24th Annual Blue-Gray 100 on Saturday October 25 at the 3/8 mile red clay oval facility promoted by Lennie Buff.
The Robert Pursley Memorial kicks off the weekend on Friday October 24 will see the Southern Nationals Bonus Series race 35 laps for $6,000 to win after a generous donation to the purse by the Pursley family. One of the most storied and tradition-rich events in the Southeast takes place on Saturday October 25 as the tour sanctions the 24th Annual Blue-Gray 100 event, with the winner taking home $10,000 after the 100 event sees the checkered flag. There will be an open practice to start the weekend’s activities on Thursday October 23 that will see pit admission be $15.
The Robert Pursley Memorial will take place on Friday October 24 and will feature the Southern Nationals Bonus Series in action in a full program of practice, A-B Group Time Trials, Dash for Cash, B-Mains, and the 35 lap, $6,000 to win Robert Pursley Memorial A-Main. The SECA Late Models will also be in action on Friday for their Qualifying and Heats. The preliminaries and feature events will be run for the Crate Sportsman and Extreme 4 divisions and the Stock 4 Qualifying and Heat Races will also be run.
The 24th Annual Blue-Gray 100 will take place the following evening on Saturday October 25 and will feature the Southern Nationals Bonus Series in action in a full program of practice, A-B Group Time Trials, Qualifying Heats, B-Mains, and the 100 lap, $10,000 to win 24th Annual Blue-Gray 100. The SECA Late Models will have their 25-lap $2,000 to win main event along with a full show for the Limited Sportsman, Renegades, Vintage Cars and the Stock 4 main event. This will mark the first-time in the event’s history that it’s ever been held on a Saturday Night under the lights. Most generally the race had been run on a Sunday afternoon with the event finishing up under the lights, but the Blue/Gray 100 will see action on “Primetime” Saturday Night this year.
The series entry fee for the weekend will be $100.00 each night. Transponders will be used for timing and scoring and the rental fee for the weekend on transponders is $20. The tire rule will be as follows: Hoosier 1350, 1600, SPEC 70 (right rear option) along with the American Racer 48, 56 and DTW70 (right rear option). For Friday October 24, all tires will be marked before time trials. Race teams can only change one tire for the feature. Race teams must run the B-Main on the four tires they qualified on, while for the A-Main, everyone can have one tire different and it will be the driver’s choice where it is. On Saturday October 25, it will be the same format for time trials and heats, while race teams can change one tire for the B-Main. For the A-Main, race teams can have as many as they need. Tire samples will be taken all weekend. The Southern Nationals Bonus Series race format, race procedures, and technical rules will be in effect.
Sleep Inn of Gaffney, SC will be the official Host Hotel for the Robert Pursley Memorial/Blue-Gray 100 weekend. Room rates are $74.99 plus tax per night and interested parties that are wanting to book a room need to ask for the “Cherokee Speedway” rate. To make a reservation, please phone (864) 487-5337 and those reservations need to be made quickly as there is limited availability already on rooms.
Southern Nationals Bonus Series Robert Pursley Memorial A-Main Payout for Friday October 24 (35 laps): 1) $6,000, 2) $2,500, 3) $1,200, 4) $1,000, 5) $800, 6) $700, 7) $600, 8) $580, 9) $560, 10) $540, 11) $520, 12) $510, 13) $500, 14) $475, 15) $450, 16) $450, 17) $450, 18) $450, 19) $450, 20) $450, 21) $450, 22) $450.
Southern Nationals Bonus Series 24th Annual Blue-Gray 100 A-Main Payout for Saturday October 25 (100 laps): 1) $10,000, 2) $5,000, 3) $2,500, 4) $2,000, 5) $1,500, 6) $1,300, 7) $1,200, 8) $1,100, 9) $1,050, 10) $1,000, 11) $950, 12) $900, 13) $850, 14) $800, 15) $750, 16) $700, 17) $700, 18) $700, 19) $700, 20) $700, 21) $700, 22) $700, 23) $700, 24) $700.
Activities for the Robert Pursley Memorial on Friday October 24 will see the pit area and general admission area open at 3:00 p.m. The drivers meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., with practice laps set to begin after the drivers meeting, followed by time trials and green flag racing. Ticket prices for the Friday October 24 event in the general admission area will be $20 for adults, while a pit pass will be $30.
Activities for the 24th Annual Blue-Gray 100 on Saturday October 25 will see the pit area and general admission areas open at 1:00 pm. There will a drivers autograph session from 3:00 p.m. until 3:45 p.m., with the drivers meeting set for 4:00 p.m., with practice laps tentatively set to begin after the drivers meeting, followed by time trials and green flag racing. Ticket prices for the Saturday October 25 event in the general admission area will be $25 for adults, while a pit pass will be $35.
Cherokee Speedway is also offering a special two-day ticket in the general admission area and a two-day pit pass also. A two-day ticket in the general admission area for the weekend will be $40, while a two-day pit pass for the weekend will be $60.
Previous Blue-Gray 100 Winners
1991- Freddy Smith
1992- Scott Bloomquist
1993- Donnie Moran
1994- Scott Bloomquist
1995- Donnie Moran
1996- Scott Bloomquist
1997- Clint Smith
1998- Jack Pennington
1999- Freddy Smith
2000- Freddy Smith
2001- Steve Lucas
2002- Jeff Cooke
2003- Petey Ivey
2004- Chris Madden
2005- Randy Weaver
2006- Chris Madden
2007- Jimmy Owens
2008- Randall Chupp
2009- Dale McDowell
2010- Chris Madden
2011- Jonathan Davenport
2012- Mike Marlar
2013- Chris Madden
Drivers expected for this mega-event include: Four-time winner Chris Madden of Gray Court, SC, 2011 Champion Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, GA, Steve Francis of Ashland, KY, Kennie Compton, Jr. of Bland, VA, Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, NC, Kenny Collins of Colbert, GA, Zack Mitchell of Enoree, SC, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN, three-time Champ. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN, Casey Roberts of Toccoa, GA, Johnny Pursley of Clover, SC, Mike Gault of Gaffney, SC, Gabe Wilson of Hayesville, NC, Doug Sanders of Springwood, NC, Ross Bailes of Clover, SC, Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, SC, 2012 titlist Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN, Jonathan Edwards of Clover, SC, Kevin Wilson of Stoneville, NC, 2008 victor Randall Chupp of Troutman, NC, Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, NC, and Brent Dixon of Elberton, GA, plus many more are expected to be in competition.
The Southern Nationals Bonus Series has presented seven events so far in the 2014 race season and the tour’s most action took place on October 3 at Tri County Race Track in Brasstown, NC and Casey Roberts of Toccoa, GA became the first repeat winner with the series in 2014 by claiming a hard fought victory over Rick Eckert, Donald McIntosh, Shawn Chastain, and current series points leader Austin Smith. The tour was scheduled to be at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, KY on October 10 and 11, but Mother Nature would intervene and that event has been postponed until October 31 and November 1 which will now pay $10,024-to-win over the two-day event.
Cherokee Speedway is located at 153 Speedway Road in Gaffney, SC 29341. For more information about racing activities at Cherokee Speedway, visit the track’s webpage on the internet at www.cherokeespeedwaysc.com or by contacting track promoter Lennie Buff at (864) 505-9199 or the track office at (864) 489-1969, or @Cherokee_DirtSC on Twitter.
For more information about the Southern Nationals Bonus Series, contact series race director Chris Tilley at (606) 219-1723 or on social media online at www.southernnationalsseries.com and on Twitter at twitter.com/sonationals.
Southern Nationals Bonus Series Points after October 3, 2014 (7 of 11 events complete)
1. Austin Smith (Cedartown, GA)- 1,230
2. Kenny Collins (Colbert, GA)- 1,034
3. Casey Roberts (Toccoa, GA)- 960
4. Gabe Wilson (Waynesville, NC)- 710
5. Donald McIntosh (Dawsonville, GA)- 558
6. Kennie Compton, Jr. (Bland, VA)- 544
7. Bo Eaton (Blue Ridge, GA)- 496
8. Jason Hiett (Oxford, AL)- 394
9. Chris Madden (Gray Court, SC)- 392
Ray Cook (Brasstown, NC)- 392
Southern Nationals Bonus Series Race Winners:
March 1-Jason Hiett (Cherokee Speedway) $3,000
March 2-Jonathan Davenport (Cherokee Speedway) $10,000
May 25-Mike Marlar (Duck River Raceway Park) $5,000
July 4-Casey Roberts (Tri-County Race Track) $3,000
July 5-Ray Cook (Tazewell Speedway) $5,000
August 16- Chris Madden (Smoky Mountain Speedway) $5,010
October 3- Casey Roberts (Tri-County Race Track) $4,053
Southern Nationals Bonus Series Races/Upcoming Events:
Friday October 24-Cherokee Speedway-Gaffney, SC-$6,000 to win/35 laps
Saturday October 25-Cherokee Speedway-Gaffney, SC-$10,000 to win/100 laps
Fri/Sat Oct. 31/Nov. 1-Ponderosa Speedway-Junction City, KY- $10,024 to win/60 laps
Fri/Sat Nov. 14/15-Duck River Raceway Park-Wheel, TN-$11,000 to win/75 laps