Ray Cook series returning to Dixie dirt
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
May 10, 2014 04:00 AM | 1137 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the second straight year, the Ray Cook Spring Nationals series will descend upon Dixie Speedway.

In 2013, the Woodstock dirt track was one of the locations selected for the series’ inaugural running. Making tonight’s race even more exciting is that it will be the final points championship event in the 10-race series.

The 50-lap Super Late Model event has a prize of $6,000 and marks the end of the Ray Cook mini-tour.

The drivers will arrive at Dixie having competed Thursday and Friday at tracks in Wheel, Tenn., and Ringgold. Over the three days, the drivers have the chance to win as much as $14,000.

Even as Dixie was preparing to open its season a week ago, track spokeswoman Mia Swims-Green said they were already working hard to prepare for the touring series.

“This is the biggest race so far this season, so we are really excited to see them come in and challenge the hometown guys,” Swims-Green said.

Because the drivers were racing in Ringgold on Friday, many will arrive at the track on short rest, and ready to end the spring tour.

“We want to make them being here enjoyable, so they want to come back,” Swims-Green said.

When the series made its debut at Dixie last year, Swims-Green said it exceeded the expectations they had for it.

“Ray Cook has the Southern National Series in the summer, and he just started the spring series,” she said. “It was really successful. We look at it as a building year. It definitely surpassed expectations last year and we just hope that this will be even bigger. We have had a lot of fans calling who have never been in the area before and are going to come. Maybe the weather will hold off so they can come.”

As of Friday night, the National Weather Service had a 40-percent forecast for thunderstorms during tonight’s racing.

Swims-Green said the decision to go on with the show can be made right up until race time, but she encouraged fans to check the Dixie’s social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

Billy Ogle of Knoxville, Tenn., leads the Spring Nationals point standings, with Dawsonville’s Donald McIntosh 34 points behind him.

Last year, Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Ind., won the event at Dixie and went on to win the championship a week later.

Dixie opened its season last week and drew drivers from across the Southeast.

Cody King claimed the $2,000 Super Late Model prize. Also racing in the event were drivers from Alabama and Tennessee, as well as such track regulars as Tony Knowles, Jason Croft, Scottie Pritchett and Luther Jenkins.

Other winners from last week included Mario Gresham (Steel Head Late Model), Grathan Burns (Crate Late Model), Andy Morris (Super Bomber), Eric Hamby (Econo Bomber), Todd Lankster (Cruiser) and Shannon Ethridge (Pony Stock).

Gates will open at 5 p.m. today, with racing slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Grandstand admission is $20 for adults, $6 for children ages 9-17 and free for ages 8 and under. Trackside passes are $25, and pit admission is $30 for adults.
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