EAST MILTON — Southern Raceway recently hosted the Gator "Dirt" Nationals.
It came down to two drivers on both Friday and Saturday night: Issac Chapple from Indiana and Conner Loeffler, a 14-year-old upstart from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Chapple started from the pole of the 20-lap feature Saturday and checked out on the field, while Loeffler faded late in the race and ended up finishing fourth.
“Things were a little sketchy for us Friday night, as the surface is a little different than what we are used to running. I got a few pointers from the people back home who watched the race and the car was great,” Chapple said after his feature win Saturday.
The feature's only caution was on lap 11, when Bryan Eckley and Anthony Nicolson got together on the front stretch.
In the restart, Derek Hagar and Shane Butler passed Loeffler to finish fourth, and Bill Rose rounded out the top five.
Loeffler took the big prize in the sprint car feature as the checkered flag flew before Chapple was able to close and attempt to pass.
In the top five behind Chapple were Hagar, Butler, and Andy Baugh.
In the Just Dirt Midget Series, Loeffler swept the weekend. He worked his way into the top five by lap 10. The caution flag flew on lap 18, with Loeffler sitting in second place behind Chette Gehrke.
Gehrke got the jump on the first to attempted restarts. On the third restart, Loeffler passed him and took the lead on the back stretch.
Rounding out the top five were Baugh in third, followed by Robby Hoffman and Kyle Amerson.
On Friday Gehrke finished second to Loeffler.
In local racing, AJ Ward, an IMCA national point title contender, put on a clinic as he led all 15 laps for the win.
Rounding out the top five were Josh Goodwin, Nathan Ingersoll, Jackson Douglass and James Roete.
In the Durrence Layne Street Stocks, Mike Lane claimed his first win of the regular season.
The top five included Dylan Hamilton, Derek Gilmore, James Patrick and Chad Robinson.
John Bryant swept the Friday and Saturday Pure Stocks after trailing Dillon Ussery and Levi Donaldson.
In Friday's top five were Josh Howell, Ussery, Dillan Petty, and Mike Goraum. Saturday's top five behind Bryant were Adam Ellison, who recovered from an incident on lap four, Lane Heaton, Brandin Sidner and Gary Lippincott.
Josh Douglass topped an action-packed Stinger feature, followed by Timothy Witherington, Tommy Lowery and Tony Southard, while in the Vintage feature Kelsey Kichler held off JD Fuqua for the win.
Today, gates open at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 6 p.m at Southern Raceway, 9359 Nichols Lake Road, Milton.