GAFFNEY — Brett Hamm, 29, of Newberry, held off an eclectic group of competitors to take the debut win for a new racing series Saturday night at Cherokee Speedway.
Chasing Hamm to the finish line was Ross Bailes of Clover and Billy Hicks of Mt. Airy, N.C. Rounding out the top five was two more Tar Heel state drivers, Jason Pack of Ellenboro, and Donald Bradsher of Burlington.
“We got a little lucky with the draw since we were a bit behind in qualifying,” Hamm said. “Sometimes you just have to have things go your way, so tonight, that went our way. The car was real good (during the feature) though, and we were able to keep the tires on it. The tires started burning off there a little bit toward the end. But we held on and kept it out front.”
Hamm made the most of his pole-starting position to successfully lead all 40 laps of the feature. Outside pole sitter Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., threatened early but was sidelined by a flat right rear tire. Weeks would finish 10th.
The Fast Unified Engine Late Model Series (FUEL) utilizes a 525-horsepower engine that bridges the divide between lesser potent powerplants and the open engine of the dirt Super Late Models. The series caters to young up-and-comers, drivers in their prime, and veteran wheelmen alike.
In doing so, the drivers competing are a diverse bunch of different ages and experience. As an example, Legend Cars phenom 14-year-old Carson Ferguson of Charlotte, N.C., who has just a handful of dirt Late Model starts under his belt, finds himself on-track against veterans like Hicks and Weeks who have combined for thousands of dirt Super Late Model starts.
The FUEL Series will next be in action on April 26 at Friendship Speedway in Elkin, N.C.