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Tri County Racetrack will debut a new look when the Schaeffer Oil Series visits Brasstown

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

(Photo by Travis Dockery) Brandon Overton turns laps around the Brasstown Bullring

By Travis Dockery

389 Country Editor

It's hard to make something that's more than 50 years old new again, but Tri County Racetrack promoter Ray Cook is taking steps to do just that. Putting his ideas into action, Cook hopes a facelift to the Clay County landmark will not only improve the action on the track, but the facility overall.

The darker strip along the bottom gives an indication of how much wider the new racing surface is.

Over the past few weeks, Cook has worked with the Brasstown Fire Department and Vinson Sims Construction to bring in fresh dirt for the track. "It's not new dirt," Cook said with a grin. "The Good Lord stopped making dirt a long time ago, but it's new to us."

Along with adding dirt, Cook has also widened the racing surface. "I've travelled all over the country the last couple of years and have seen things some tracks do and I take note of things that I think will help our track. One of those things was making it wider," Cook said. The re-worked Tri County Racetrack now has turns that are at least 15 feet wider than they were in the last event held there. The straightaways are also wider.

Cook's improvements have not only been on the racing surface itself, but also the grandstands. "So far this season we've replaced $6,000 worth of bleachers," said the promoter. "I've got more ideas and plans for the grounds, but we just have to take one step at a time.

The new-look Tiger Pit will show off in a big way as the Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Super Late Model Series invades Brasstown on Thursday, July 28. Earlier in the month, Cook announced that the event, which was once scheduled to pay $4,053 to win, had received additional sponsorship, raising the winner's portion to $7,553.

Scheduled as race number 10 for the series, Tri County's chance to host the series will no doubt be made even more interesting by the changes to the surface. Often referred to as "a hidden gem," Tri County's great racing is no longer a secret as the track has shined on a national stage over the last few years.

This year's line-up is one of the strongest to ever visit Brasstown. One of the wheelmen expected to be at the Tiger Pit is Jensen Ford. While qualifying for last season's Southern Nationals event, Ford set a new track record. That record was broken earlier this season by young gun Payton Freeman who will also be at Thursday's race. A frequent flyer at Tri County and last year's winner Kenny Collins will be on hand as he attempts to repeat. Local favorites like David Payne, Jamie Oliver, Danny Ledford, Shawn Chastain and more will be looking to defend their home turf.

Other names on the tour include:

Cory Hedcock

Will Roland

Carson Ferguson

Cameron Marlar

Josh Henderson

Ashton Winger

Parker Martin

Brendon Smith

Dalton Cook

Dale McDowell

Another name who has not been a regular with the series this season but who is expected to be at Thursday night's race is "Big Sexy" Brandon Overton. Overton, who has multiple wins at Tri County, ended the 2021 season ranked number one in the country among Dirt Late Model drivers.

During qualifying, drivers will not only compete for strong starting spots, but also for cash. Memory Lane Classic Car Museum in Hiawassee, GA will award $150 to the fastest driver with Hayesville Trailer Sales adding an additional $100 if the time is a new track record.

The Super Late Models might be going for the biggest purse of the evening, but they won't be the only division to test the new Tiger Pit. Also on the card are the Interstate Welding 602 Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Street Stocks and Front Wheel Drives.

Big changes, big names and big money all add up for what is sure to be a memorable night at Tri County Racetrack.

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