Dirt track race comes with $10K, $20K payouts

World of Outlaws comes to Cherokee Speedway
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 8:51 PM EDT
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GAFFNEY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A two-day dirt track racing event with the World of Outlaws Late Models Series is pitting stand-out racers from the Southeast against those who compete on a national level.

The 2nd Annual Rock Gault Memorial kicked off Friday night at the Cherokee Speedway. Michael Brown won the race on Friday and received the $10,000 prize. A $20,000 prize will go to Saturday night’s winner.

The race gives 2021 Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series champion Payton Freeman, of Commerce, Georgia, a chance to compete against Brandon Sheppard, an Illinois native and four-time winner of the Dirt Track World Championship.

“We all race and try to do our best, but when you’ve got guys who have ‘been there, done that,’ you always want to perform your best,” Freeman told FOX Carolina.

Sheppard credits the work of others in helping him win consistently.

“I’ve got a really good team behind me,” Sheppard said. “Our boss travels with us everywhere and makes most of the set-up decisions. We’ve got a crew chief and our tire and body guys.”

Cherokee Speedway co-promoter Tony Adair said he’s been coming to this track since childhood.

“I’ve seen Richard Petty, David Pearson - a lot of big NASCAR drivers - down here signing autographs,” Adair said. “A lot of your NASCAR drivers, at some time or another, have raced here.

Although many of those racers took their careers to asphalt, World of Outlaws promoter Rick Eshelman said dirt track racing has an enduring appeal that continues to attract new fans.

“Watching a car go 100 miles an hour down a straight-away and then go into a corner...while keeping the car from turning over...that’s where the excitement comes in,” Eshelman told FOX Carolina.

The gates open tomorrow at 2 p.m. with the race starting at 6:30 p.m.