Behind the Camera with Chad Wells
March Madness IV
The 2006 O’Reilly Southern All Stars tour has officially kicked off after yesterday’s running of the
March Madness IV at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC. Defending champion and local favorite
Chris “Smokey” Madden picked up where he left off in ’05 in his Barry Wright Race Car which picks
up sponsorship from Time Out Family Restaurant, Pancake House, Henderson Amusement,
Henderson Motor Company, Xtreme Customs and Cycles, Town and Country Packing, Century
Plastics, Hoosier Tire South and Big A’s Custom Graphics, while being pushed to the limits with a
Clements Racing Engine. Many people cannot stand the man known as “Smokey”, simply because
the man is a proven winner and has a never die attitude. Some may say, well he has an attitude
problem, I say the man has the determination and the will to succeed and when it comes to winning
nothing will stop him. Having spent the entire 2005 season with him on the OSAS tour, I know what
kind of person he is. Madden is a rabid pit bull when it is time to go to work, but when its over he is
one of the most personable people you would ever meet and for that I applaud the man.

Many of the Southeast’s premier drivers came to try their hands at “The Place Your Momma
Warned You About” including Ricky Weeks, Ray Tucker, Ray Cook and a veritable list of whose
who in Dirt Late Model racing. There were also some of the Lucas Oil Series drivers in attendance
using the race as a test session for their race coming up on April 9th and the big half-mile. After all
was said and done, 40 super late models had signed in for the days action and after all was said and
done Earl Pearson Jr had picked up the Wells Racing Photography Fast Time award. However since
this was a $10,000 to win show, heat races would be run to set the running order and it was local
driver Billy Hicks besting Pearson after he slid high coming out of turn 4 around the halfway point of
the first 8 lap heat race. Randy Weaver, Ray Cook and Madden would also pick up wins in their
respective heats to set the first two rows.

As the feature rolled off the track was black and looked to turn into a one groove freight train,
however track owner Lenny Buff would slap down some water on the high side to prevent it from
becoming just that. However when all was said and done the track was not conducive to side by side
racing and very little passing was done. However Madden came charging to the front from his 3rd
place starting spot blasting past Hicks then chasing Weaver and finally making the pass while closing
in on lapped traffic. Weaver would settle for second, while the rest of the top five finishers came
across Hicks, Pearson and Cook.

The 2006 O’Reilly Southern All Stars tour looks to be a good one as eight drivers have verbally
committed to running the entire series including ’05 Rookie Of The Year Mark Vineyard and
defending champion and race winner Chris Madden. The others that have committed are a whose
who of East TN front runners including Randy Weaver, Joe Armes, Aaron Ridley, Riley Hickman, as
well as Johnny Collins and Phillip Seifert. While those are not the typical household national names,
it proves that the Southeast is full of talented young talent that is looking to get out and make a name
for themselves and I for one can not wait to see how this season turns out! Until the next time keep it
on the track and out of the ditch, and visit my new website at