Southside Speedway Set to Kick 2018 Season Off Tonight; Mason Bailey Poised for First Late Model Championship
Midlothian, VA – Southside Speedway is all set to open the gates to racers and fans in the central Virginia area for their 59th season later this evening. With many other tracks within the commonwealth having the cancel their events on Saturday night, Southside looks like they will be able to get their opening night program in the books.
Gates will open for fans at 6:00 PM with qualifying getting underway around 7:45 PM with the green flag to follow shortly after. As in years past, all six divisions will be running throughout the evening with the Late Model’s running the most laps, a 40-lap feature. The IMCA style Modifieds are scheduled to run for 30-laps as will the Grand Stocks. The UCAR and Legend’s division will feature 25-lap races while the INEX Bando’s will generally kick the evening off with a 15-lap feature.
Last year Eddie Johnson proved that age is just a number by winning the Late Model championship at the 1/3-mile flat track. He is poised to make his return this year to the speedway with other long-time veterans like his son Chris Johnson and even Buggs Hairfield, however, this year those drivers will have their hands full with Mason Bailey who told The Weekly Racer earlier this week he will be competing full time this year at Southside for the championship and we have to say… we have Bailey picked as the odds-on early favorite to hoist that championship trophy at the end of the year.
“So excited for this season,” Bailey said in an interview about his upcoming season. “This time last year I was a little nervous and had no idea what to expect. With last season’s wins and experience, I feel really dialed in as a driver. On top of that, we’ve been able to take this off-season to improve the car and study last season’s information.”
Last year Southside Speedway saw some of the largest and most consistent car counts throughout all of its divisions and there was no shortage of action-packed evenings in the Late Models despite the track being unsanctioned by NASCAR – something that some will argue helps make the competition more equal. Going into 2018 Bailey will be up against some of the best in the business who have been doing longer than he has been around, we asked if that changed anything on race day.
“You got that right. No shortage of action and drama,” Bailey expressed. “It does change things for sure, but I welcome it, I understand where the veterans are coming from in that regard. The veterans out there are going to be much quicker to knock me out of the way than if it were another seasoned driver. However, knowing that ahead of time, it creates opportunities I can use to my advantage to maybe do something I know they wouldn’t expect. And I think you saw some examples of that last year.”
Looking back at last year Bailey started off strong at Southside proving he would be a contender week in and week out. Went out to Martinsville Speedway at the end of the year to compete in the prestigious VallyStar Credit Union 300 and struggled but is looking forward to getting back on track this year with some great returning partners and going after plenty of wins.
“Yessir!” Bailey proclaimed. “Very excited to have Schell Brothers return as the primary sponsor this season. Honored to work with such a prestigious organization and represent them on and off the track. Also can’t forget Commonwealth Plumbing, CR Phillips Electrical, and Hernandez Constructors. We’ve got quite the list of reputable businesses, but there’s always room for more!”
Tickets for tonight’s races and the rest of the season are just $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and military, children six to eleven are just $8 and those young race fans five and under are free. Outside coolers are permitted inside the grandstands given they are under 18” and contain no glass bottles or outside food. For group tickets or VIP suite rentals make to contact the track.