LUCAMA, NC – Two-time championship runner-up Terry Dease will be returning to Southern National Motorsports Park for the first time since 2014 on Saturday to compete in the 150-lap Late Model Stock Car portion of the Dogwood 265 presented by Solid Rock Carriers.
The 54-year-old from Oxford, North Carolina has enjoyed success at Southern National, and at nearby Orange County Speedway, throughout his lengthy career. Dease has won four track championships at Orange County and scored a handful of wins at Southern National. This weekend, he’s hoping for a solid performance to kickstart his 2018 season.
“We’re looking for a good, solid top-10,” Dease said. “I’m not expecting a win there because there are a lot of good cars and good guys and they have bump-stops down. We were a little off and ran some good times but we weren’t as consistent as we’d like to be.”
Dease has yet to finalize his 2018 plans, but if things go well on Saturday, he could compete regularly at Southern National again.
“We’re coming down to test the waters a little bit and see how things go,” Dease remarked. “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. We ran several years down there off and on. I’ve finished second in the championship, once to Deac [McCaskill] and once to Brandon Head. We have a few wins there but I can’t recall how many.”
Dease expects the key on Saturday to be tire management. Despite its appearance, Southern National Motorsports Park has become one of the more abrasive track surfaces in Late Model Stock Car racing and, often times, races at the 4/10-mile track in Lucama, North Carolina come down to who saves their tires the best.
“I think you’re going to have to be easy,” Dease explained. “Whoever manages the best is going to come out the best. That probably showed at the Thanksgiving Classic. It’s going to be hard to manage a tire for 150 laps but, if you can save that right rear, you’ll be in the hunt at the end. These guys running there have been running short races so that won’t be an advantage, just who saves the most.”
Dease says the enhanced purse at Southern National this season, which pays $3,000-to-win and at least $500-to-start, is one reason he is making the trip back to Lucama.
“You’ve got to give back to the racer and I think Southern National Motorsports Park is trying to do that,” Dease commented. “A lot of tracks, I know they don’t make money, but you have to look at the money the drivers spend. When you roll in the gate, you should at least get something back. I’ve always liked Southern National, it’s a good track and it’s getting back to where it used to be in the early 90s.”
Dease will have plenty of company when he competes in Saturday’s Dogwood 265 presented by Solid Rock Carriers. Interest has grown in the days leading up the season opener at Southern National Motorsports Park, which will commence at 2pm on Saturday, March 3rd.
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