GAFFNEY, S.C. — Ross Bailes won the 22nd annual Grassy Smith Memorial at Cherokee Speedway on Friday night.
After battling with Brandon Overton throughout the event, he took the lead on the final lap when Brandon Overton suffered a flat tire heading down the backstretch. Bailes flashed across the finish line to pick up his second career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
A very competitive 50-lap main event saw Bailes become the 10th different winner in 14 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races this season.
The packed house saw a great race for the lead between Bailes and Overton, who entered the event on a two-race Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win streak. Overton’s misfortune on the final lap dropped him to fourth at the finish.
Brandon Sheppard and Jimmy Owens dueled back-and-forth during the last half of the race to come home second and third. Chris Ferguson rounded out the top five.
Bailes grabbed the lead on the opening lap with Overton and Owens trailing. Bailes received heavy pressure from Overton as the two encountered heavy traffic. Overton made his first pass for the lead on lap 23, but Bailes came back on lap 28 to regain the top spot. Overton returned the favor, repassing Bailes on lap 46.
However, a caution with 48 laps complete set up a dash to the finish. On the restart Overton was leading Bailes, Sheppard, and Owens.
Overton had control of the race until his car suddenly slowed coming off of turn two on the last lap. Bailes, Sheppard and Owens all went by Overton.
“Man, this is unbelievable,” Bailes said. “We have been through a lot this year. I am so excited to win this in front of my home crowd. I mean it can’t get any better than that.”
Sheppard came home in second in the Mark Richards Racing Rocket 1 House Car.
“The race was pretty crazy out there tonight,” he said. “We had a pretty good car. I think I ran the top a little bit too early the first few laps. I think I burned my tires up. All-in-all another second-place finish here at Gaffney in front of a packed crowd is pretty good. It’s really nice to see all these fans out here. We have really missed them being at the track.”
Ross Bailes, Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens, Brandon Overton, Chris Ferguson, Josh Richards, Zack Mitchell, Tyler Erb, Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr., Tyler Bruening, Billy Moyer Jr., Kyle Hardy, Shanon Buckingham, Devin Moran, Kyle Bronson, Tanner English, Hudson O’Neal, Tim McCreadie, Shane Clanton, Stormy Scott, G.R. Smith, Michael Brown, Kenny Collins, Kyle Strickler, Christian Thomas.