Southside Speedway Set to Crown Champions Later This Evening; Will be Without One Late Model Contender as Martinsville is Right Around the Corner
MIDLOTHIAN, VA – Friday, September 15 at Southside Speedway is Championship Night and the final race of the season when the track will crown a points champion in each of the six divisions. Eddie Johnson will enter the evening with just a nine-point advantage over Grayson Cullather. Mason Bailey, who was leading the points, took a huge hit when his car was deemed illegal after post-race inspection when he collected his season leading fourth win on August 25th and will not be battling for the win once the race goes green.
With Mother Nature playing spoiler to the original championship night, Southside Speedway added two dates to their 2017 campaign, which moved champion’s night to this evening. For some, it is not an issue. For others who are planning to run the big Late Model race at Martinsville, like Mason Bailey, made decisions tough on both driver and teams.
“We do not have any regrets,” Bailey told The Weekly Racer at the conclusion of the Martinsville test Thursday night. “Just a lot of disappointment. Would love to be out there helping my teammate Sonny Allen in the No. 20 at least. The track put is in a real box with scheduling the championship race on top of the Martinsville test.” Bailey, however, is in a position that many drivers face this week preparing for one of the largest races of the year while we enter championship season.
“We only have one car so we will not be able to make it out to Southside,” Bailey went on to say. “Between the test and the race next weekend, I cannot miss any more classes.”
Bailey was just one of about 90+ cars that converged on the .526-mile paper clip oval this past Thursday evening for the annual test day, or night rather, now that the LED light system is up and running. Bailey was relatively pleased with the handling of the car but admitted their team still has some work to do and speed to find heading into next weekend.
“We are all very pleased with the car,” said Bailey. “Wasn’t as fast as we would have liked on our sticker run but our speed and drivability on old tires were exceptional. It is a tricky track for sure. I left with a decent understanding of it, though.”
With just about a week to go before teams make the return trip to Ridgeway, Virginia for that $25,000 payday, maybe even more importantly, that grandfather clock, we asked Mason what would define a successful weekend or a reasonable goal for the young rookie driver who is one of only a few making an attempt from an “outlaw” track this season.
“To be honest I haven’t really thought about that,” Bailey went on to say. “Making the race will be a challenge due to the format but as long as we get in I would be disappointed if we didn’t finish top twenty.
In addition, Roy Hendrick, son of Ray Hendrick, owner of the famous flying #11 modified coupe will bring the race car to the track and lead the first pace car laps. Come out to watch all of the driver’s race for the lead see who will win the 2017 championship – every lap matters! Front gates open at 6:00 p.m. Qualifying starts at 6:00 p.m. and racing gets underway around 7:45 p.m. If you are not able to make it, The Weekly Racer will have lap-by-lap coverage over on our Twitter handle – @theweeklyracer.com
Southside Speedway is a 1/3 mile, paved oval track located on Genito Road in Midlothian, Virginia. The speedway was established in 1959 by J.M. Wilkinson and is currently run by his daughter, Sue W. Clements, and granddaughter, Jennifer Mullis. The speedway hosts twelve nights of racing from April through August.
The family-owned track in Chesterfield prides itself on being a family-friendly venue entertaining generations of fans and continues their 58-year tradition of great local short track racing in Central Virginia. There are six different divisions of cars racing: Late Models, Modifieds, Grand Stocks, UCARs, Legends, and Bandoleros.