A talented field of drivers consisting of NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champions in Lee Pulliam and Josh Berry, along with Matt Craig and Ty Majeski from the Super Late Model ranks, have descended upon Florence Motor Speedway for the South Carolina 400.
Also on the entry list is third-generation competitor Anthony Adams from Clemson, SC, who was impressed to see so many drivers from around the United States take an interest in the inaugural South Carolina 400 and is hoping to be among the 28 starters when the green flag drops on Saturday.
“This is really a big deal for me,” Adams said. “I’ve run races here with only six Late Models, but to potentially see 40 Late Models take the green flag is an extremely different experience. The sport is growing and that’s what we want it to do, but it just feels like Myrtle Beach has moved to Florence.”
Having raced since he was 12 years old, Adams has garnered experience in a variety of different divisions such as Chargers and Super Trucks, but he has spent a majority of the last decade logging laps in a Limited Late Model at Florence, Dillon Motor Speedway and Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Adams’ career has benefitted from the guidance of his father and grandfather, who both still actively compete today. Adams’ grandfather, Archie Adams Sr. most recently competed in Florence’s South Carolina 250 at the age of 79 and managed to put together a strong, 13th-place run.
Adams said that being around his father, Archie Adams Jr., and Archie Sr. not only helped him fully understand the intricacies behind preparing a car, but it also allowed him to appreciate his family’s commitment to short track racing, which dates back to Archie Sr.’s first race 61 years ago.
“This takes a lot of time and a lot of effort,” Adams said. “Regardless of how much money you want to spend or how many sponsors you got, you have to enjoy what you’re doing. We work on our cars for or five days a week, and we’re typically at the racetrack 30 weekends a year.”
As with many other South Carolina-based drivers, Adams was disappointed when he heard that Myrtle Beach Speedway was going to cease operations, but he expressed excitement when it was announced that the facility’s prestigious 400-mile race would move over to Florence.
While Adams believes Myrtle Beach offers more room for drivers, he affirmed that Florence is one of the most competitive facilities in the entire southeast, and is confident that the on-track product will make the South Carolina 400 a proud Late Model tradition for many years to come.
“In my opinion, Florence is one of the only true, two-groove tracks out there,” Adams said. “You could ride side-by-side with somebody for 250 laps straight. The outside line is typically quicker on restarts, and that makes for tough, hard racing. It’s possible to pass people at other tracks, but they don’t provide side-by-side racing like Florence can.”
With the South Carolina 400 starting grid being capped at 28 cars, Adams knows it will be a tall order to try and skip the last chance qualifier by earning one of the 20 guaranteed positions, but he intends to get the most out of his car in practice so he can have a realistic shot at competing in the main event later in the evening.
“Saturday is more about going out there and having fun,” Adams said. “Our goal is to try and make the race. Ideally, we would like to lock ourselves in during qualifying, but if not, then we’ll have to race our way in, which is going to be difficult with at least 20 good drivers in it. At the same time, Saturday is going to be very exciting, and to just get the opportunity to race against so many talented people means a lot to me.”
Adams will attempt to lock himself into the field in a group qualifying session at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The feature events will start at 4:00 p.m., with the South Carolina 400 being the final race of the night.
Photo: Redmoon Photography