When there’s more money in the pot, race drivers tend to drive a little harder. Which should make the Thunder Road Harley- Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway on July 1 a real barn-burner.
Track officials announced over the weekend that in addition to the traditional $5,000-to-win the big pre-July 4th extravaganza, $3,000 in additional bonuses have been added to the overall purse for the night’s races.
The Late Model pole winner will receive a $500 award and the driver leading at the half-way break of the 200-lapper will get a $1,000 bonus. In a novel approach, three drivers from 11th on back will receive $500 a piece in a random draw at halfway. In addition, the Limited Sportsman pole winner will receive a $300 bonus and the Budweiser Pure Stock pole winner will receive a $100 bonus.
The winner of the Budweiser Pure Stock race will be awarded the Clark Daniel Memorial Trophy in honor of the long-time Pure Stock supporter who died earlier this year.
Crystal Day, a South Boston native who is now a recording artist and actress living in Nashville, will perform patriotic songs during the pre-race fan appreciation event on the track.
The increased incentives for the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 were announced at last Saturday night’s drivers’ meeting and there was an instant buzz about the July 1 event among competitors.
“With all the excitement that’s already in the July 1 race and then throw in that extra money and, it makes a driver get up on the wheel,” said Bobby McCarty, who finished fourth in each of last Saturday night’s two Late Model races. “It’s already a whole different deal for this race with the show and the fireworks. This just makes it even bigger for everybody.”
South Boston Speedway has experienced an incredible car count this season, averaging over 26 Late Models a night. Some drivers believe that number will go up for the July 1 race.
“I think it definitely is going to make everyone take more chances, but we’ve all still got the same goal: to finish as good as we can,” said Justin Carroll, who has finished in the top 10 in every race this season and is fifth in the points.
“I think it’s definitely good. I’m surprised at the extra money from 11th on back. You don’t see many tracks do something like that. It’s good for the guys back there. And I think all the money added is going to help attract more cars.”
The July 1 race is the longest and richest Late Model race of the year at South Boston Speedway and headlines a four-race card. The night’s action will also include a 100-lap Limited Sportsman Division race, a 50-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a 15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division.
After the night’s racing action has concluded, fans will be treated to a dazzling fireworks show to round out the night.
Advance tickets are $15 and will be available at the South Boston Speedway office until 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 30. Tickets at the gate on race day will be $20 for adults and $10 for youth ages 7-12. Kids ages six and under will be admitted free with a paid adult.
Grandstand gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and the first race of the night will get the green flag at 7 p.m.