Dillon's spin lifts Pursley to victory at Cherokee
GAFFNEY, S.C. (April 17) — Inheriting the lead when polesitter Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., spun on a lap-35 restart, Johnny Pursley of Clover, S.C., led the final five laps at Cherokee Speedway to capture his first career Southern All Star East Series victory.
Pursley, who started seventh in the 25-car field but was up to second early in the 40-lapper, earned $4,000. Fellow third-row starter Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., the three-time and reigning series champion, finished second followed by Kentucky transplant Jordan Bland of Concord, N.C., consolation race winner Brent Dixon of Elberton, Ga., and 21st-starting Jim Rasey of Southington, Ohio.
Dillon ended up seventh in the final rundown. Outside front-row starter Dennis "Rambo" Franklin fell out early with a flat tire on the eighth lap.
Notes: Pursley's No. 09 is sponsored by Pursley Grading. ... Racing lasted past midnight after a couple of unexpected delays. Problems with a new timing system delayed time trials until nearly 10 p.m., and the track lights were out about 15 minutes after 13 laps of the feature. ... Ricky Weeks, Furman Parton and Mike Gault were part of an early caution. ... G.R. Smith was running fifth when he spun on the 13th lap. ... Next up for SAS East competitors is the $4,000-to-win Rock Gault Memorial on May 15 at Cherokee.
SAS East @ Cherokee: (1) Johnny Pursley, (2) Casey Roberts, (3) Jordan Bland, (4) Brent Dixon, (5) Jim Rasey, (6) John Henderson, (7) Austin Dillon, (8) Donald Bradsher, (9) Jared Landers, (10) Jay Sessoms, (11) Jeff Cooke, (12) Ronnie Hoover, (13) G.R. Smith, (14) Travis Leake, (15) John Pursley, (16) Ricky Weeks, (17) Randle Chupp, (18) Brian Ledbetter, (19) Dennis Franklin, (20) Jeff Smith, (21) Anthony Sanders, (22) Furman Parton, (23) Mike Gault, (24) Colby Cannon. Scratched: Zack Mitchell. Fast qualifier (among 26 cars): Dillon. Consolation race winners: Dixon, Chupp.
Correction: Fixes Pursley's starting spot (seventh sted sixth) and number of titles for Roberts (three sted two).