Ivey Bags First Career Southern Nationals Victory at Cherokee

Trent Ivey in victory lane after the biggest win of his career. (Trevor Gonzales Photo)

July 14, 2019 at Cherokee Speedway ($10,000 to win)

By Trevor Gonzales, RPM Writer

(Gaffney, South Carolina)- Trent Ivey was fifteen years old the last time the Southern Nationals visited Cherokee Speedway. Nine years later, the twenty four year-old up and coming star, found himself in victory lane at his home track for the biggest win of his career. The driver known as "The Lil' Headknocker" would sweep the night by setting fast time in his qualifying group, winning his heat, and leading all 53 laps from the pole.

There would be 27 entrants for Round 2 of the 2019 Southern Nationals as the series visited Cherokee for the first time since 2010. Chris Ferguson would be running a new number and wrap for the race as he was piloting the number 10 Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car entry in honor of late racer Dylan King, who passed away in a car accident on June 23rd. Ivey would set fast time in Group A with a lap of 15.261 seconds. Last night's Southern Nationals winner at Wythe Brandon Overton would be the overall fast qualifier with a 15.200 second lap in Group B.

Four heat races would follow with the top four finishers in each heat race transferring into the feature. Here were the heat race results.

Heat Race 1 Results:

1. 88 Trent Ivey

2. 58 Tanner English

3. 81 Aaron Ridley

4. 66 Jake Knowles


5. 42 Cla Knight

6. 29 Larry Grube

7. 42 Doug Sanders- DNF

Heat Race 2 Results:

1. 79 Michael Brown

2. 10 Chris Ferguson

3. 18x Michael Page

4. 00 Jeff Smith


5. 4 Matthew Nance

6. 75 Donald Bradsher

Heat Race 3 Results:

1. 2 Brandon Overton

2. 7m Donald McIntosh

3. 2 Dennis Franklin

4. 421 Anthony Sanders


5. 55 Benji Hicks

6. 29 Christian Hanger

7. 2E Chris Stowe

Heat Race 4 Results:

1. 8 Kyle Strickler

2. 87 Ross Bailes

3. 101 Casey Roberts

4. 91 Derrick Ramey


5. 57 Adam Yarbrough

6. 17 Tim Vance

7. 9 Johnny Pursley- DNS

After the heat races, there would be one B-Main race where the top four finishers would lock themselves into the feature. Benji Hicks would win over Cla Knight, Matthew Nance, and Adam Yarbrough. Christian Hanger, Larry Grube, and Doug Sanders would all take provisionals to complete the full 23 car field for the 53 lap, $10,000 to win main event.

The green flag would wave as the feature would be underway. Ivey would lead the opening lap over Overton, Michael Brown, Tanner English, and Kyle Strickler. On the very next lap, Strickler would get around English for fourth. The first caution would wave on Lap 6 as fourth place running Kyle Strickler would slow in Turn 2 with a flat right rear tire. On the ensuing restart, Brown would overtake the second spot from Overton as he would battle side by side with Ivey for the lead for a lap and a half . On Lap 7, the second caution occurred as Derrick Ramey came to a stop in Turn 3. Brown actually took the lead over Ivey coming off of Turn 4 as the caution waved but series rules state that the lap was not completed therefor giving Ivey his spot back. The green was back out as Ivey lead over Brown and Overton. Almost everyone was running the bottom as the track began to lock down to the bottom groove. Donald McIntosh was able to get around Overton for the third spot on Lap 10. The green flag stayed out until Lap 19 when Christian Hanger brought out the third caution of the night for slowing in Turns 1 and 2. While under caution, second place running Brown would take his car to the infield for the second night in a row and retire with drive train issues in his car. Also, third place running Donald McIntosh would enter the hot pits for a new tire as well, moving him to the back of the field. Top ten running Chris Ferguson would also retire as well. This moved up Ross Bailes to third, Michael Page to fourth, and Tanner English for fifth. Ivey would still lead on the restart as Page and Dennis Franklin would make contact in Turn 3 as Page would suffer heavy damage on the drivers side of his Stinger Chassis. Page would be able to continue as Franklin suffered enough damage to bring out the fourth caution on Lap 24, ending his night early at his home track. The fifth caution would fly on the lap 23 Restart as Page and English would get together going into Turn 1 resulting in English spinning, as well as collecting Donald McIntosh, Doug Sanders, and Adam Yarbrough. After a quick cleanup, Ivey and Overton would lead the field to green once again as Ivey lead at the halfway point of the race over Overton, Bailes, Page, Aaron Ridley, Benji Hicks (who started 17th), Ramey, Jake Knowles, Jeff Smith, and Cla Knight. Ivey would continue to hit his marks and run on the bottom as he held a slim lead over Overton 30 laps in. Five laps later on Lap 35, Cla Knight would slow on the backstretch with a flat right rear tire bringing out the sixth caution with 18 laps to go. On the next restart, 17th starting Benji Hicks who got up to sixth, hit the inside wall in Turns 1 and 2 resulting in him dropping back to tenth. The field would stay green as the top four of Ivey, Overton, Bailes, and Page begin to set a fast pace around the 3/8 mile track until Lap 42 when Derrick Ramey spun his car around in Turn 4. Under the seventh caution, top five running Aaron Ridley would pull into the pits with a flat tire. The race would be back underway as Page would get around Baies for third place with 10 laps to go. Two laps later, Jeff Smith would stop at the bottom of Turn 3 to bring out the eighth and final caution of the night. With a single file restart on a locked down track, Trent Ivey was able to cruise to the finish line over Brandon Overton and Ross Bailes. Ivey would capture just his second ever Super Late Model win and become the 38th different winner in Southern Nationals history.

Feature Finish:

1. 88 Trent Ivey- Union, South Carolina

2. 2 Brandon Overton- Evans, Georgia

3. 18x Michael Page- Douglasville, GA

4. 87 Ross Bailes- Clover, South Carolina

5. 66 Jake Knowles- Rome, GA

6. 8 Kyle Strickler- Mooresville, North Carolina

7. Benji Hicks- Mount Airy, North Carolina

8. 4 Matthew Nance- Ronda, North Carolina

9. 7m Donald McIntosh- Dawsonville, Georgia

10. 42 Cla Knight- North Augusta, South Carolina

11. 58 Tanner English- Benton, Kentucky

12. 81 Aaron Ridley- Chatsworth, Georgia

13. 91 Derrick Ramey- Somewhere in the Carolinas

14. 421 Anthony Sanders- Spartanburg, South Carolina

15. 00 Jeff Smith- Dallas, North Carolina

16. 29 Christian Hanger- Winchester, Tennessee

17. 57 Adam Yarbrough- Denver, North Carolina

18. 2 Dennis Franklin- Gaffney, South Carolina

19. 42 Doug Sanders- McAdenville, North Carolina

20. 79 Michael Brown- Pageland, South Carolina

21. 10 Chris Ferguson- Mt. Holly, North Carolina

22. 29 Larry Grube- Mauldin, South Carolina

23. 101 Casey Roberts- Toccoa, Georgia

Southern Nationals Series Standings:

1. Brandon Overton- 396

2. Jake Knowles- 376

3. Donald McIntosh- 374

4. Benji Hicks- 370

5. Tanner English- 368

6. Michael Page- 364

7. Cla Knight- 354

8. Dennis Franklin- 352

8. Anthony Sanders- 352

10. Matthew Nance- 350

The next Southern Nationals Series event will be on Tuesday, July 16th at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tennessee with a $3,500 to win show.