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Daily Dirt 06/21/2024 18:19:57

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March 7
Cherokee Speedway,
Gaffney, SC
Sanction: Southern All Star Series (March Madness) - $10,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated March 8, 8:37 am)
Overton dominates March Madness at Cherokee
March Madness
  1. Brandon Overton
  2. Jonathan Davenport
  3. Jimmy Owens
  4. Zack Mitchell
  5. Stewart Friesen
  6. Trent Ivey
  7. Payton Freeman
  8. Kyle Strickler
  9. Josh Richards
  10. Ryan Gustin
  11. Dillon Brown
  12. Tim McCreadie
  13. Ross Bailes
  14. Hudson O'Neal
  15. Kyle Bronson
  16. Tyler Erb
  17. Daulton Wilson
  18. Billy Franklin
  19. Bryson Harper
  20. Austin Franklin
  21. Dustin Mitchell
  22. Michael Rouse
  23. Jay Scott
  24. Mark Dodson
presented by
Robert Holman/DirtonDirt.com
Brandon Overton set fast time and dominated March Madness.
What won the race: Polesitter Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., led all 60 laps of Sunday's March Madness at Cherokee Speedway for a $10,000 Southern All Star victory. Overton took the checkers ahead of Jonathan Davenport for his sixth career tour victory.
Key notes: Overton notched his fourth victory of the season, all on different tours. ... Two cautions slowed the action in the tour opener (Dustin Mitchell on lap 30 and Bryson Harper on lap 57). ... Chris Ferguson (broken rocker arm) and Dennis Franklin (broken oil pump) scratched before heats. ... Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., on Sunday morning announced an illness prevented him from competing at Cherokee. ... Jeremy Steele won the Crate Late Model feature after Layton Sullivan got leader Carson Ferguson out of shape exiting turn four on the final lap, triggering a frontstretch pileup.
Winner's sponsors: Overton’s Wells Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Race Engine and sponsored by CrossFit Overton, Allstar Concrete, E-Z-Go, Big Dog Stump & Tree, R.W. Powell Construction, Convenient Lube, Allstar Performance and Topnotch Kustom Koncepts.
Points chase: Billy Franklin of Calera, Ala., looks to defend his Southern All Stars title as the tour kicks off its 2021 season.
Current weather: Clear, 54°F
Car count: 40
Fast qualifier: Brandon Overton
Time: 15.279 seconds
Polesitter: Brandon Overton
Heat race winners: Brandon Overton, Zack Mitchell, Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Strickler
Consolation race winners: Ross Bailes, Ryan Gustin
Provisional starters: Jay Scott, Mark Dodson
Next series race: March 12, Southern Raceway (Milton, FL) $3,000
Editor's note: Corrects car count.
From staff and series reports

GAFFNEY, S.C. — There was little madness about Cherokee Speedway's March Madness, at least as far as winner Brandon Overton was concerned.

The Evans, Ga., driver was on an even keel all afternoon and into the evening, zipping to the fast qualifying time, dominating his heat race and then leading all 60 laps of the Southern All Star Series opener for a $10,000 payday.

Overton repelled a few modest challenges from runner-up Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., and notched his fourth victory of the season — all on different tours. He was glad to put a subpar performance the previous night at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn., behind him.

"We had a pretty crappy night last night," Overton said of the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series event where he finished 11th. "We got behind early and couldn't make it up. We kind of come over here today with a point to prove. We've gotta set fast time and win those heats and put yourself in position (to win), especially tonight, the way the racetrack was. It's real critical. You've gotta get up there in the front because a lot of these guys, they don't mess up."

Overton never messed up in racing to victory over Davenport, a four-time March Madness winner, while Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., completed the podium finishers. Zach Mitchell of Enoree, S.C., and Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., rounded out the top five.

Davenport nosed in on Overton a few times — most notably at halfway just before the first of two caution flags appeared — but Overton kept his cool amid slower cars.

"I was just telling myself don't move (off the bottom), don't panic," Overton said. "If I can't pass the last-place car, it'd be pretty hard for 'em to drive around me. But I knew, like I said, you get down there and you just gotta make sure you're patient and you don't mess up."

Davenport drifted high out of the groove in one rare attempt to try the outside groove, settling for following Overton in his tire tracks most of the way.

"I was just trying to make him run a little harder than he wanted to run, try to make him burn his stuff up. He's a smart racer. He kept the pace down and I didn't think we were ever going to catch lapped traffic (again) after that caution came out," Davenport said. "I guess the race was won in qualifying tonight. If we could've beat Brandon (or) been a little bit fast qualifying, you know, maybe started on the pole, it would've been a different story.

"It's just part of day racing and we knew that coming in. I know (promoter) Scott (Childress) and everybody has been working really hard on the racetrack trying to give these fans a whole lot better show. He's doing a good job."

Owens took the third spot from Mitchell on the 38th lap and crossed his fingers for a little luck, but he was pleased to have a solid race car.

"We made the right adjustments and the crew worked their butts off and got us a good piece for the feature," Owens said. "I was watching (Davenport and Overton) up there racing, and I was hoping maybe they'd scoot each other up out of the rubber and we'd get by 'em. I could run to 'em when I wanted to. ... I'm very pleased with our performance tonight and maybe we can keep this Ramirez Rocket up a little more often."

Cherokee's longer races often had many cautions for flat tires, but just two yellow flags appeared, the first on the 30th lap for a slowing Dustin Mitchell and again on lap 57 when Bryson Harper had a flat right-rear tire.

Notes: Overton has four victories in 2020, all on different tours (besides the Southern All Stars, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series and Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series). ... Chris Ferguson (broken rocker arm) and Dennis Franklin (broken oil pump) both scratched before heat races. ... Chris Madden, the WoO winner the previous night at Smoky Mountain Speedway, was a no-show after falling ill. ... The 40-car entry list was the biggest since the race drew 41 cars in 2008.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Overton, Z. Mitchell
Row 2: Davenport, Strickler
Row 3: Owens, Friesen
Row 4: Richards, Freeman
Row 5: McCreadie, T. Erb
Row 6: Ivey, D. Brown
Row 7: Bronson, Harper
Row 8: A. Frankllin, B. Franklin
Row 9: Bailes, Gustin
Row 10: D. Mitchell, Rouse
Row 11: Wilson, O'Neal
Row 12: Scott, Dodson

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