LUCAMA, NC – Rain arrived sooner than expected, prompting Southern National Motorsports Park to call off Saturday’s on-track activity. The race has been moved to March 1st – a week before the CARS Tour season opener at Southern National.
Track owner Michael Diaz dejectedly informed the crowd of drivers inside the Donnie Saunders tech shed of the decision shortly before 11:00 a.m., and admitted that he did everything possible to combat the rapidly-changing weather forecast and run the Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Class to its advertised distance.
“It was a hard decision,” Diaz stated. “We decided to make this a two day show instead of a three day show just to get everything in and I thought for sure that we would, but then, all of a sudden, the weather changed again. I don’t want to keep these guys here all day as I’ve been in their position before. There’s nothing easy about what happened today. Everyone lost.”
Following an eventful Friday evening at Southern National that featured a thrilling, 25-lap Legends feature, Late Models, Limited Late Models and the Prestoria Race Alliance SLM Tour all conducted their lone practice session of the day.
Shortly after the conclusion of the SLM practice, a light rainfall arrived at the facility, which quickly transformed into a heavy downpour that drenched the track and forced Southern National track officials to deploy track-drying equipment.
After carefully observing the forecast for the remainder of the afternoon and on Sunday, Diaz did not believe there was a large enough window to get all of the feature races in and elected to pull the plug on all remaining on-track activities.
Diaz told drivers in the driver’s meeting the race would be rescheduled to March 1st and the purse would remain the same, but the race format could be tweaked.
Diaz was disappointed that weather prevented the Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Classic from continuing and that he was forced to send all of the drivers and fans home, but he said that there are many lessons learned from the weekend that he will consider applying to future editions of the race.
“I really like the two-day format,” Diaz said. “As a track owner, you need three-day shows to make everything work. It helps those purses because you don’t have sponsors lining up these days. I’m thankful for Solid Rock Carriers and a couple of others that help this show, but three days is kind of rough, and I like the idea of two-day shows.”
There had been a considerable amount of anticipation for the race, as it is the final race of the year for Late Model Stock Car racing, and because two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was going to compete in the PRA SLM feature.
The PRA SLM Tour will use the rescheduled Thanksgiving Classic as their season-opener for the 2020 season, but it is not expected to feature Busch, who will be competing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Diaz expects a stout field of Late Models to accompany the 24 drivers that were at the track on Friday and Saturday when the event resumes in March.