Terry Dease (06) battles Mike Darne (21) for position at Southern National Motorsports Park. Charlie Alexander Photo

Terry Dease returned to Southern National Motorsports Park for the first time since 2014 on Saturday, and the four-time Orange County Speedway champion came out with a great finish after running a conservative race.

Dease qualified sixth for the season-opening Dogwood 265, and, after playing it easy for the first 100 or so laps, roared back to finish third.

“I just tried to ride right there for those first hundred and I saw these guys up there and they were dicing around up there before lap 100 then things got a little hectic,” Dease told Race22.com “We finally got up there a little bit and something happened and I got spun and got balled up.”

Dease survived the first half, and towards the end of the race caught a break when he and the rest of the field got one final chance at a restart.

“Luckily I got to the bottom and what happened there at the end, nobody went to the high side, and I tried and what happened was I got trash on my tires and it washed up in the corner, but hey, I’ll take third,” Dease remarked.

For Terry Dease, this is a return to his prior form, as he has been runner-up for the track’s Late Model Stock division championship, and his run on Saturday appears likely to lead him back to the Lucama, North Carolina based track for the remainder of the season.

“We’re coming down to test the waters a little bit and see how things go,” Dease said earlier this week when talking about his 2018 plans.  “If things go pretty good and dates don’t fall on what we plan on what we’re doing, we might run all of them.”

When Dease returns to Southern National Motorsports Park, he could be a force to be reckoned with after his performance in the season opener.