.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Clash cranks LMS campaign

-A A +A
By Dwayne Sims

Lancaster Motor Speedway awakens from the long, cold winter Saturday when the storied half-mile launches its 54th season in grand style with the Carolina Clash Super Late Models.Featuring some of the top drivers in the Southeast, the series hosts its first event for 2008 at LMS, a $5000-to-win 50-lap feature.Due to inclement weather last week, the Clash’s opener at Carolina Speedway was postponed, so now Lancaster hosts the opener.Last year, the series twice visited the LMS high banks and thrilled crowds with some dazzling racing as well as setting new track speed records.In the first visit, Ricky Weeks marched over the competition to win, and begin his successful quest for his fourth championship. Dennis “Rambo” Franklin set the new qualifying mark of 18.695 seconds in the June event, which he won.The format will feature a lap qualifying run to lock in the top 12 racers. From there, the top 12 will compete in two dash races to set the starting order. Drivers unable to make the first six rows will run consolation races to complete the 24-car starting field.The list of potential entries reads like who’s who in the world of dirt late model racing.In addition to Weeks and Franklin, other drivers to keep an eye out include Union’s Petey Ivey. Ivey won in 2006, and was stout in both events last year.Another driver looking to avenge himself will be Furman Parton. Parton battled furiously with Franklin in the fall event at LMS, only to have the handle go away in the closing laps.Jeff Smith, of Kings Mountain, will also be looking to sneak away with the top prize. Smith had solid runs in both events last year, nearly winning the spring race.With ARCA having a few weeks off, young gun Jeremy Clements of Spartanburg may also have his shot at the win. Clements has notched nearly 100 wins across the South on dirt, as well as a win in the ARCA/Remax series and solid runs in the NASCAR Busch series, but has yet to post a win at LMS in the Clash.Take all these as well as local favorites such as Chad Paxton, Randy Smith, and John Pursley, and this could prove to be one of the best races of the night.The stars of the Carolina Clash will be just the icing on the cake as 4 other divisions will be competing.Lancaster unveils it newest class, super street. This division promises to be one of the most exciting of the year. Combining super stock and street stock, fans will now be able to see favorites such as Robert Mullis, Frankie McGuire, Ben Watkins, Brandy Baker, Lester Robinson and a host of others going head to head.Also on tap for the evening will be the FASTRAK Crate Late Models.New tires and and new rules will greet the drivers for this class. Fans will surely get their bucks worth with drivers like Brandy Baker, Andy Blackwood, Benji Knight, Timbo Mangum and Andy Hodges in the field.One of the largest contingents of cars expected to compete Saturday night will be the super stock fours. Three-time defending track champion Jeffrey McGuirt will put his streak on the line against drivers such as Wes Helms, Blake Rallings, Jeremy Broome, Mike Snipes and many more.The class that arguably has the most drivers with the potential to win is the pure street.Last year, Steve Hinson barely won the championship over Jerry Sexton and Joe Johnson Jr. But those three will be just the tip of the iceberg Saturday night as Matt Cauthen, Kenneth “Big Show” Deese, Michael Outlaw and James Marion will be just a few of the teams looking to jump start the season.Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday, with racing starting at 6.