- Travis Dockery
Back-to-Back Nights Of Racing Open Tri Country Racetrack's 2023 season
Tri County Racetrack opened the 2023 racing season in a big way. The Brasstown, NC facility waved the green flag on this year's campaign with a two-night show. Highlights for the weekend included a $2,000-to-win Super Late Model race and a 40 lap Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association feature that awarded the winner $5,000.
On Friday, March 24, the SCDRA turned the first laps for the series at The Tiger Pit with three practice sessions and the first round of qualifying. In other action, Jim Exum took the checkered flag and $500 for his win in the Tri County Racetrack Front Wheel Drive division. First-time winner Stevie Clark pulled his No. 95c into victory lane following the Open Wheel Modified feature.
Tweedy "Cornbread" Chinn opened the season with a dominant win in the Pony division win. In the main event of the night, Danny Ledford, from Warne, NC, led the King Ford Limited/Crate Late Models to the green flag after recording the fastest qualifying time. Outside pole-sitter and defending track champion Jason Deal was able to work the high line, clear Ledford and start the year off with a victory. Ledford came under attack from Drew Deaver in the closing laps, but hung on for a runner-up finish.
Saturday morning storms and showers meant the racing surface was totally different for the second night of action. Alex Vance picked up right where he left off the 2022 season when he parked his No. 95 Camaro in victory lane after winning the Street Stock main event. The Interstate Welding 602 Late Models saw two veterans battle for the win. Ricky Smith out-dueled Bobby Elkins to pickup the victory.
For the second time in as many nights, Ledford led his competition to the green flag after setting quick time during Vinson Simms Construction Super Late Model qualifying. After hanging tough on the low line, Ledford eventually slid back to second place as "The Coach" David Payne motored around on the outside and never looked back, claiming the win and $2,000.
In what was called "The Little Tarheel," 26 SCDRA cars came up to speed for their 40-lap feature. Brandon Dalton took advantage of a front-row starting spot and jumped out to a quick lead. The race was riddled with caution flags which erased Dalton's lead he had worked so hard to build. On the final restart of the night, the winningest driver in series history, Andrew Smith, made one last attempt to get by the leader. Smith's attack was the biggest challenge of the night, but came up short. Dalton made the final handful of laps around the quarter-mile dirt oval and celebrated in victory lane.
Tri County Racetrack will open its gates again on Thursday, April 6. The main event of the night will be the King Ford Limited/Crate Late Model Spring Championship race which will pay $1,500 to win. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m.