Wilson powers his way to Cash Money win, Erwin snags series title.
(Gaffney SC) Bright, sunny blue skies and very comfortable temps greeted both drivers and fans Saturday afternoon for the first day after a sweltering summer on tour. It’s was time for the 7th Annual Cash Money 100, A tribute to Ricky Sullivan Jr and to decide a champion for the inaugural season for the Steel Block Bandits Dirt Late Model Challenge
Forty one drivers signed in from 10 different states for the $10,000 to win show for Round 9 of the 9 race season. Qualifying would start the afternoon festivities with 2 laps on the clock for all drivers. In group A qualifying, Shaun Harrell set quick time with a lap of 14.969 then in group B, Russell Erwin was quickest with a 14.862, that was not only quickest overall but it also set a new track record at Cherokee Speedway for Limited Late Models. That would be the third track record broken by the Bandits in 2021.
Heat racing was next on the docket as the teams would battle it out in 4 , 8 lap races. In the HGR’s Truck & Trailer Sales, Inc.. heat 1, Harrell would hold off a charging Gray Parton to claim the win Willie-Crystal Milliken was the third and Dillon Brown fourth , those drivers transferred to the big show. Heat 2 presented by Scott Service Company, Milton, Delaware’s Robbie Emory would take the win with Timmy Blackwell, Cody Wright Racing #11 and Daniel Tucker transferring. The Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas heat saw Erwin get the win followed by Dustin Mitchell, Austin Neely and Matthew Bissette. The VP Racing Fuels heat #4 was won by Daulton Wilson , Christian Thomas was second, Derick Quade third and Kenny Collins fourth. Sixteen drivers were now locked in with two B- mains to decide the final six.
In the first 10 lap B main , veteran driver Johnny Pridgen raced to win and locked the JP Motorsports machine into the big show. He was followed to the feature by Mason Ticker and Owen Osteen. The second B- main was filled with very hard crashes Cody Tranquery and Robbie Bailey made contact sending Tranquery head on into the first turn wall. Brandon Dockery took a wild ride drivers side first into the fourth turn wall after contact with Steve Banal. Then Landen Zakalowski and Mason Price had vicious contact on turn two. Finally, Bubba Russell , Jesse Rockett and Banal would race into the feature. Clint Hodges and Gary Dillon received provisionals so the 24 car field was set.
Cody Wright led the field around on the pace laps with the stars and stripes out his window as the drivers and fans honored our service members presented by Racing for Heroes. Harrell and Erwin led the field to green and the fans to their feet as the Bandits dashed into turn one under a beautiful harvest moon in the Palmetto state. Erwin would take his Ford power plant to the point with Harrell and Wilson in his jet stream. Wilson would hound Harrell hard and made a power move in turn one to take the second spot. On lap 10, Wilson had caught Erwin and on lap 16 he passed Erwin for the lead. The three would stay that way as the mandatory red flag flew at lap 30 brought the drivers to a stop on the front stretch for fuel and adjustments.
After the Hoker Trucking LLC pit stop, the field doubled up for the restart. Wilson showed his muscle and dominance as he kept Erwin and the field at bay. Dillon Brown and Derick Quade hooked up from their 12th and 13th starting slots and marched their way into the top five. Milliken saw his title hopes vanish halfway through the event as he pulled pit side and didn’t return. Harrell also saw his point lead vanish and his Capital Race Cars handling go away as he slid from the top 5 to 10th. Wilson would hold off a brief and soft charge from Erwin to score the win and become the 7th different winner in the nine race 2021 Bandit season. Erwin was second, Brown was third, Parton fourth and Quade fifth.
“Man I had a fast hot rod all weekend, gotta thank Colby for letting me wheel this thing and all these guys who came and helped. We got a brand new set of Penske shocks on her this week and thst was key. I felt Russell a few times but it was because I was sliding the right front to save the right rear and that allowed him to close but with the cautions I knew I could let it cool down.”
Erwin on the title- “ Feels good, we had to go through a bunch of mess to get here but we did and that’s all that matters. The race track got crummy about middle way so I couldn’t do anything with Daulton so I just decided to ride. Gotta thank all these great people that support us and the fans for supporting us as well.”
Harrell was very frustrated afterwards both with his car’s handling and a particular caution. “ We were just off, we got the motor fixed from Friday and then the handing just went away. I’m not quite sure about one of those cautions and how it fell, I should’ve gotten my spot back but it is what it is.”
Milliken had a top five run going before he retired.
Quade was probably the biggest gainer in points as he raced through the field for a top 5 finish and possibly a move up in points.
Dustin Mitchell was making strides on the high side but settled in for a solid sixth place finish.Several drivers experienced tire trouble including Austin Neely and Daniel Tucker.Big shout out to Johnny Pridgen as he won the Bmain and raced his way after a tough season on tour.Hometown heroes Dillon Brown and Gray Parton held serve at home by scoring top 5 runs in their first Bandit starts.
Season complete.On behalf of Jim Long Jr and the entire Bandit staff, and partners , we can’t thank the drivers, crews, fans, track owners and partners enough for the amount of support yoi have shown and given us. We hope you enjoyed this new innovative brand of Limited Late Model racing and the way we presented it to you. Thank you all again, God Bless.
South Atlantic Diesel
Racing for Heroes
Scott Service Company
Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas
VP Race Fuels.
Cherokee Speedway (Gaffney, S.C.) – October 23, 2021
Cash Money 100
- Daulton Wilson
- Russell Erwin
- Dillon Brown
- Gray Parton
- Derick Quade
- Dustin Mitchell
- Robbie Emory
- Kenny Collins
- Christian Thomas
- Shaun Harrell
- Matthew Bissette
- Cody Wright
- Timmy Blackwell
- Gary Dillon
- Owen Osteen
- Austin Neely
- Mason Tucker
- Jesse Rockett
- Willie Milliken
- Johnny Pridgen
- Daniel Tucker
- Bubba Russell
- Clint Hodges
- Steve Banal