By Devin Golden
For the third consecutive year, the Shaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Series will make a trip to North Georgia Speedway.
The series will hold the next race in its 2013 schedule on the Chatsworth track today. Gates open at 4 p.m., and the start of the race is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for the grandstands and $30 for the pits.
The series holds 10 races in Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia and Georgia. Randy Weaver won the race when the series came to the speedway in 2011, and William Thomas did the same last year.
“Guys travel around the country doing these series,” said Jason Jones, the track’s promoter. “This series comes to us once a year.”
Cost to enter is $450, and the purse is $3,500. The race is 40 laps around the speedway’s oval dirt design.
The type of race — super late model — is a rarity at the speedway, Jones said.
“We don’t run super late models here every weekend, so this is the way to pull in the super late models for the fans,” he said. “This is just something to give back to the fans, because it’s something they like to see.”
Jones said Gary McPhearson is the only local racer competing. McPhearson also competes in the speedway’s weekly points series, which takes place most Saturdays. In the Southern Nationals Series, he is tied for last place with just 50 points — the leader, Jonathan Davenport, has 845 — but McPhearson only has been in one of the four races held so far in the series’ season.
The last two races in the series were canceled due to rain. Jones said if that happens today, then the event will be rescheduled to the same time on Wednesday. Jones said he is a big supporter of the series coming to the speedway since last year’s race, which took place soon after Jones became the promoter.
“It was a packed house,” Jones said. “The fans really had a good time with it last year, and that’s why we scheduled it again for this year.”
The speedway will host a regular racing program Saturday. Gates open at 3:30 p.m., and races begin at 7:30 p.m.