Overheating Franklin hands Madden Cherokee victory
By Kelley CarltonO'Reilly Southern All Stars East
GAFFNEY, S.C. (May 24) — Inheriting the lead when hometown driver Dennis "Rambo" Franklin fell out near the midway point, fourth-starting Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., led the final 18 laps at Cherokee Speedway for a $4,000 O'Reilly Southern All Star East victory. "I hated to see Rambo fall out there because I believe we were about to put on a show," Madden said after the 40-lapper. "My car seemed to get better on the longer runs. He started to pull away a little bit but then we started reeling him back in." | Slideshow
Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., ended up second ahead of Petey Ivey of Union, S.C., Mike Duvall of Cowpens, S.C., and Brent Dixon of Elberton, Ga. Front-row starters G.R. Smith and Randle Chupp, both of North Carolina, ran into trouble early in the race.
Chupp led at the outset with the fast-qualifying Smith, Roberts, Franklin and Madden in pursuit, but things went bad for two frontrunners after a dozen laps. Smith's right rear tire let go in turn three and Chupp made contact with Anthony Sanders' slowing car on the frontstretch. Chupp, his car suffering significant right rear damage, couldn't get back up to speed on the restart and Franklin took control as Chupp faded. Franklin opened a 10-length advantage just past the halfway point, but he slowed with an overheating engine caused by a hole in the radiator, handing the lead to Madden.
Notes: Madden's Bloomquist Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and is sponsored by Century Plastics, Xtreme Customs and Cycles, Freeman Plumbing, Henderson Amusements, Allstar Performance, Big A's Custom Graphics, Hoosier Race Tires, Henderson Motor Company and Quarter Master. ... Madden plans to take off next weekend before heading to the $100,000-to-win Dream at Eldora. ... Ethan Hunter hit the frontstretch wall on the third lap, tearing up his MasterSbilt. He was uninjured. ... Jimmy Ivester and Brian Moody both scratched from the feature lineup. ... Laurens County (S.C.) Speedway hosts the next SAS East event. The 27th annual Shrine Race pays $3,000 to the winner on June 10.
O'Reilly SAS East @ Cherokee: (1) Chris Madden, (2) Casey Roberts, (3) Petey Ivey, (4) Mike Duvall, (5) Brent Dixon, (6) Travis Pennington, (7) Furman Parton, (8) Jeff Cooke, (9) Monk Gulledge, (10) Kelly Thacker, (11) Randle Chupp, (12) G.R. Smith, (13) Dennis Franklin, (14) Johnny Pursley, (15) Anthony Sanders, (16) Ethan Hunter, (17) Tim Christie, (18) Kevin Tessner. Fast qualifier (among 19 cars): Smith, 15.108 seconds. Consolation race winners: Duvall, Sanders.