While Mother Nature would win out on Saturday, following the postponement of Rock Gault Memorial, two World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series drivers would still have the opportunity to split a set of victories on Friday night at Cherokee Speedway.
Spending his night rim riding on the top side of Gaffney, SC’s famed dirt circle track, pole sitter Chris Madden seemed to have his second victory wrapped up. That is until the driver known as the “Newport Nightmare,” decided to strike on Lap 9. Taking advantage of the open lane on the bottom of the speedway, the No. 20 racing machine of Jimmy Owens powered past Strickler and Madden for the top spot.
While most fans continued to expect Madden to race his way back to the top of Friday night’s 25-Lap feature, tire wear would become an issue, which would bring out several late race cautions and give Owens the chance to power to a victory ahead of drivers like Kyle Strickler and Chris Madden.
“We had a really, really good car which is why we hung on and won this race,” said Owens. “The changes at this track also turned out pretty good. I would have liked to run Turn 1 and 2 a little bit better because it was really dusty, but overall, it worked out for us.”
Friday night’s second 25-Lap race feature would help another well-known World of Outlaws driver break his winless streak. Much like the first race, the outside lane became the main factor in the race’s outcome. While pole sitter Dale McDowell took the lead early and began to pull away from the field in what looked to be a dominant victory.
That is until three-time and defending champion Brandon Sheppard pulled from a sixth place starting position to second in the first 10 Laps. As the laps wound down Sheppard rocketed around the outside of McDowell with two laps to go and rocketed this to his first win of the season.
“This win was huge for us,” said Sheppard. “We have been on the struggle bus for most of the year, but I knew not to count ourselves out. Luckily, my tires must have been just right at the end, because I could roll the middle and top pretty good, which had a lot to do with this win.”
While this was a big win for both drivers neither will receive series credit due to Saturday’s rain out. Despite this, these wins are sure to provide the spark that both need to be a success this race season.
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