The 20th Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park kicked off Friday night, with a thrilling Dash for Cash in the Limited Late Model division highlighting opening night at the Lucama, North Carolina facility.
Bradley McCaskill was third coming to white flag after being three-wide for the lead for nearly two laps. The three-way battle for the lead came down to the last corner, with McCaskill emerging victorious.
“Me and Brandon [Clements] are good friends, this is what we race for," said McCaskill after the win. "It is hard racing, but that’s what we are here for, a checkered flag and a trophy.”
A race that saw only one caution flag was dominated early by Clements. Clements sat on the pole after going fastest in group qualifying at the 4/10-mile asphalt oval.
Clements dominated the early part of the 35-lap dash, but came up one spot short. Still, being part of the thrilling finish and still having a car in one piece for Sunday's 75-lap Limited Late Model feature gave Clements plenty of reason to celebrate.
“No one wrecked, everyone saved it," said Clements. "Three-wide coming to the finish was pretty awesome for the fans. We want to win Sunday with this thing.”
A few names we had not seen in a while were also on the score sheet in Friday’s feature. Robert Arch brought home a top ten in his return to the track despite having to start deep in the field.
“We have a lot better race car than we finished," said Arch. "I am really looking forward to Sunday. I definitely think we have a good long run car.”
Jacklyn Drake also made her return to the drivers seat this weekend at Southern National. Drake had been out of the car for a while, but was eager to jump back in the saddle.
“It’s been a great experience getting back behind the wheel," said Drake. "10 years ago I had no idea it was my 'last race.' It’s been a thrill getting to compete again and also a weird feeling being on the competitor side with some of the best short trackers I’ve interviewed or worked with over the years.”
Racing America subscribers can watch both of the remaining days of the Thanksgiving Classic from Southern National Motorsports Park. On Saturday, viewers and fans in the stands will see Pro Late Models, Street Stocks, Southern Lightning Modifieds, Legends, Mini Stocks, Bombers and Bandoleros.
1. Bradley McCaskill
2. Brandon Clements
3. Ryan Joyner
4. Clay Jones
5. JD Eversole
6. Leland Honeyman Jr.
7. Travis Truett
8. Robert Arch
9. Kenneth Mercer
10. Mike Ganoe
11. Ethan Johnson
12. Jacklyn Drake
13. Gerald Benton
14. Michael O'Brien
15. Logan Martin
16. Andrew Gillis
17. David West
18. Justin Mitchell
19. Adam Murray