The Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series made its way to the Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC on Sunday to contest the final race of their 2018 season. At the end of the day on Brandon Overton picked up the $10,000 victory after a late race tire change allowed him to roar through the field and ultimately make a late race pass before taking the checkered flag.
Ross Bailes secured the Carolina Clash season championship.
Michael Brown led the way in qualifying when he turned a lap in 14.772 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval. Chris Ferguson, Brandon Overton, Benji Hicks and Scott Bloomquist rounded out the top-5 in time-trials.
Brown beat out Hicks, Johnny Pursley and Justin Hudspeth to win the first heat race of the day and earn the pole position for the feature.
Ferguson dominated the second heat to win ahead of Dennis Franklin, Kyle Hardy and Cla Knight. Of note, Bloomquist pulled off the track on the first lap of this preliminary with mechanical troubles.
Overton took the win in the third heat following a hard fought battle with Chris Madden. Mike Maresca and Adam Yarborough followed the lead duo to the finish line.
At the start of the 100-lap feature it was Ferguson who bolted to the early lead followed by Brown, Overton, Hicks and Madden. Bloomquist’s troubles continued as the Hall of Fame driver pulled off track and retired from the event after only completing two circuits.
The first of two roll over crashes occurred just after a lap 7 restart when Ryan Gifford’s car jumped track’s cushion in turn one and rolled completely over landing back on its wheels. The driver was not injured.
The race ran caution free between lap 7 and and lap 38 with drivers seemingly bidding their time and taking care of equipment. Ferguson all of those laps until the yellow flag waved when Anthony Sanders took a ride very similar to that of Gifford on lap 38. Again, the driver was uninjured.
Overton took the lead on the lap 38 restart with a slide job pass of Ferguson in turn four. Brown followed suit and passed by Ferguson to grab second away from the early front runner.
During the race’s middle section Overton pulled ahead of his pursuers while Ferguson, Brown and Madden ran in tight formation as they contested positions 2-4. On lap 53 that formation got a bit too tight as Madden and Brown made contact which sent Brown glancing off of a slower car. The slower car spun to bring out a caution but Brown and Madden continued on.
On the lap 53 restart Madden and Franklin worked their way by Brown to move into third and fourth respectively. One restart later, Madden and Franklin again moved forward as both passed by Ferguson. However, Ferguson would get back around Franklin one lap later to retake third.
Flat tires began to play a role in the race but none were bigger than the one suffered by Overton who had just been passed by Ferguson and Madden. The No. 24-D machine came to the attention of his crew and a new right rear tire was placed on the car and it then rejoined the field at the tail.
Ferguson and Madden exchanged the lead as the laps wound down while Overton sliced through the field just behind them. Then disaster befell the second running Madden on lap 90 when he experienced a flat right rear.
That caution proved to be just what Overton needed as he bolted into second on the restart then swept by Ferguson to take the lead on lap 92. From there, the Georgia driver pulled away on his way to victory.
Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Overton, 2. Chris Ferguson, 3. Mike Maresca, 4. Cla Knight, 5. Justin Hudspeth, 6. Dennis Franklin, 7. Kyle Hardy, 8. Chris Madden, 9. Zack Mitchell, 10. Scott Shirey, 11. Benji Hicks, 12. Larry Grube, 13. David Yandle, 14. Austin Holcombe, 15. Michael Brown, 16. Ross Bailes, 17. YAdam arborough, 18. Anthony Sanders, 19. Ryan Gifford, 20. Johnny Pursley, 21. Mark Dysart, 22. Jeff Smith, 23. Scott Bloomquist