The Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series kicked off its 2021 season on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for the event known as March Madness at the historic Cherokee Speedway. At the end of a perfect day that saw him set fast time in qualifying, win his heat race, then lead every lap of the feature, Brandon Overton earned the lucrative win. The Evans, GA driver took home $10,000 for his efforts.
A total of 40 cars were entered for competition at ‘The place your momma warned you about’.
Brandon Overton was fastest in Group A qualifying with a lap of 15.279 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval to top Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Bronson, Josh Richards and Michael Brown.
Zack Mitchell was quickest in Group B time-trials with a lap of 15.557 seconds to beat out Kyle Strickler, Bryson Harper, Billy Franklin and Tyler Erb.
Brandon Overton won the first heat of the day ahead of Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie, and Kyle Bronson while it was Zack Mitchell who took the second preliminary by beating Stewart Friesen, Tyler Erb, and Bryson Harper.
Jonathan Davenport defeated Josh Richards, Trent Ivey, and Austin Franklin in the third heat then Kyle Strickler bested Payton Freeman, Dillon Brown, and Billy Franklin in the fourth and final heat of the night.
Ross Bailes and Ryan Gustin won the two B-main races used to set the reminder of the starting lineup for the main event.
At the start of the 60-lap feature it was Overton who shot to the early lead with Mitchell, Davenport, Owens, and Strickler trailing. The front runner quickly began to pull away, building a lead of several car lengths by the end of the third lap.
Davenport went on the move on the fourth lap when he got around Mitchell for second. He then closed in on Overton as the lead duo found itself among slower traffic by lap 9. Davenport continued to press Overton as the slower cars impeded the progress of the lead machines.
Just behind, a battle for positions 3 through 6 was being waged as Mitchell, Owens, Strickler and Friesen ran in tight formation. Those cars would eventually begin to close on the leaders as traffic continued to be a factor.
A lap 30 caution flag waved over the field when Dustin Mitchell slowed on track.
On the ensuing restart, Friesen moved by Strickler to take fifth while Overton maintained the lead at the front of the field. Owens was able to pick off Mitchell for the third position on lap 39 as Overton again began to slip away.
A lap 56 yellow flag for a flat tire on Harper set the stage for a final dash to the finish. Davenport peeked inside of Overton on a couple of occasions but was never able to pull off the pass as the No. 76 sailed under the checkered flag for the victory.
Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Overton, 2. Jonathan Davenport, 3. Jimmy Owens, 4. Zack Mitchell, 5. Stewart Friesen, 6. Trent Ivey, 7. Payton Freeman, 8. Kyle Strickler, 9. Josh Richards, 10. Ryan Gustin, 11. Dillon Brown, 12. Tim McCreadie, 13. Ross Bailes, 14. Hudson O’Neal, 15. Kyle Bronson, 16. Tyler Erb, 17. Daulton Wilson, 18. Billy Franklin, 19. Bryson Harper, 20. Austin Franklin, 21. Dustin Mitchell, 22. Mike Rouse, 23. Jay Scott, 24. Mark Dodson