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The South Carolina 400 … A New Late Model Stock Tradition

This isn’t the Myrtle Beach 400 but it can become just as special over time

Matt Weaver | STS

It’s not the Myrtle Beach 400, but few things were comparable to that legendary race anyway.

With the closure and demolition of Myrtle Beach Speedway, the final promoters of that historic facility have since moved west and purchased the venerable Florence Motor Speedway in Timmonsville, South Carolina.

Instead of working towards a premier short track event on the Grand Strand, Steve Zacharias and officials from Speedway Plus Production LLC have started what they hope is a new tradition at the one-fifth mile this weekend.

Based on the turnout this weekend, racers appear willing.

Josh Berry is the South Carolina 400 Favorite, But …

The 250 lap Late Model Stock main event has drawn 33 cars and the Carolina Pro Late Model Series will start 17. The Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams tour will start 13. The frontstretch grandstands are packed in a state that doesn’t seem particularly concerned with the coronavirus pandemic.

It doesn’t feel like the Myrtle Beach 400, but it absolutely feels like a big deal.

Josh Berry won the 2017 Myrtle Beach 400 and believes the ownership team of Zacharias, Brian Vause and Savannah Brotherton are on the right track with the two-week Charlie Powell Memorial special event.

“I think they can,” Berry said. “It’s going to take some time. Steve and his whole family, they are extremely hard-working people, genuine. The way they treat us, the racers, we’re going to keep coming back as often as we can. It’ll keep growing from there.”

Ty Majeski Making Late Model Stock Debut at Florence

Lee Pulliam, the 2013 Myrtle Beach 400 winner, echoed the sentiments of his fellow NASCAR national champion.

“Steve and his whole family are so good to the racers,” Pulliam said. “They don’t care if you’re Lee Pulliam, Josh Berry, they guy who runs 10th or the guy who finishes last and just wants to turn laps and have fun.

“They’re going to treat you with the same respect. That’s really important.

“I think this place is going to be really successful. People came to the beach because of the attraction, but this place is going to make for really good racing and a family that’s going to work hard to get as many race cars as possible out here.”

Timothy Peters won the 2003 Myrtle Beach 400 and issued the same sentiment.

“You look at Steve and his family running this show and what they’ve been able to do, and I respect them a lot for it,” Peters said. “I came here for the first CARS Tour race a couple of months ago and saw some of the changes they’ve made. They’re going to do a lot more with it.

“At this point, we’ve all got in the habit of going to the beach, but I don’t see why we can’t start a new tradition here.”

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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