GAFFNEY, S.C. — Hometown driver Chris Madden led all the way on Friday night to win the Grassy Smith Memorial at Cherokee Speedway.
Madden took home $10,000 for his third career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory. Madden had tough competition early from Brent Dixon and Chris Ferguson until those two drivers experienced problems.
The defending race winner, Steve Francis, finished second followed by Dennis Erb Jr., Don O’Neal, and Dale McDowell.
“It feels great to win here at Cherokee, it has been a while,” Madden said. “The car was super tonight, we had a few problems there in traffic, but overall, after that last caution, I could drive it anywhere on the track. I have a lot of friends here tonight. My wife and kids left for vacation. I will join them tomorrow.”
Madden battled with Ferguson and Dixon for the first several circuits. Dixon got by Ferguson on lap 16 and then pursued Madden for the lead. Dixon and Ferguson were able to stay close to Madden as the race for the lead began to heat up as the trio got into lapped traffic.
Dixon nearly took the lead from Madden before a caution came out as the two split a lapped car. Madden then slipped in turn two drifting up the track on the restart and again Dixon nearly gained the lead. Dixon held second until three laps remained when he slowed suddenly bringing out the final caution of the race.
Madden then cruised on for the victory after Dixon was through for the night.
Francis and Erb, who battled for fourth and fifth for most of the last half of the race, were the beneficiaries after Dixon left the race, but neither driver had anything for Madden in the final laps.
In preliminary action, Steve Shaver set the overall time (Group A) amongst the 27 entrants, with a lap of 15.021 seconds.
Chris Madden, Steve Francis, Dennis Erb Jr., Don O’Neal, Dale McDowell, Jared Landers, Earl Pearson Jr., John Blankenship, Jimmy Owens, Chris Ferguson, Eddie Carrier Jr., Craig Vosbergen, Billy Moyer Jr., Ricky Weeks, Tim Allen, Jerry Lierly, Brent Dixon, Jonathan Davenport, Ty Dillon, Dennis Franklin, Steve Shaver, Jeff Smith, Johnny Pursley, Casey Roberts.