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Southern National Motorsports Park has raised the purse for its Thanksgiving Classic to $50,000 (Photo Credit: Andy Marquis/The Wilson Times)

Southern National Thanksgiving Classic To Pay $50,000

LUCAMA, N.C. – The 21st running of the Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Classic will take purse levels to an all-time high as a driver could walk away with more than $50,000 for the 200-lap race.

This year’s edition of the Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park will be the site of the richest and most prestigious race in Late Model Stock history. From Nov. 25-27, many of the best drivers on the East Coast will converge on Lucama, North Carolina, and battle tooth and nail for an opportunity to take home one of the biggest prizes of their respective careers.

An event of this magnitude has never been done on the Late Model Stock Car level. It has been an idea of Southern National Motorsports Park owner Michael Diaz for several years and with the help of Kirk and Lynette Ipock of Solid Rock Carriers it will come to fruition this fall.

“I just want the race to be a success,” Diaz said. “I feel that being the first to attempt purses like this is a big risk, but there is no reward without risk. I believe that this will lead to other events of this level and that those too will be a success. I am hoping that I can get the support of a lot of small businesses and racing companies to help us out with this race.”

In recent years, the addition of the CARS Tour Old North State Nationals paying $30,000 to win and a bump in the purse for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway to $32,000 to win has those two events at the top of the list for richest Late Model Stock Car events.

This year, the Southern National Motorsports Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Classic will propel to top of that list with more than $50,000 on the line.

“I have always told racers that when you see me paying $50,000 that it would be my last race,” Diaz said. “That’s not the case here but this is a testament to the support and friendship I have from Solid Rock Carriers. … Kirk actually called and asked me what I was doing this year and he brought it up to me to hold the race I’ve always wanted to hold, so Kirk and I decided to do it.”

Many talented drivers have proven themselves over the years in the Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Classic since five-time NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion Philip Morris took home the first checkered flag back in 1998.

Since that day, numerous heavy hitters have added their names to the notable list of Thanksgiving Classic winners like former track champions Deac McCaskill and Jamey Caudill, former NASCAR driver Scott Riggs, Late Model Stock standout Josh Berry and even three-time Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin.

A proud tradition has been created with the Thanksgiving Classic as a de facto season finale for Late Model Stocks, which Diaz fully expects to continue now that the stakes have been raised with $50,000 on the line.

“The Classic is just that; the Classic,” Diaz said. “This race is what keeps [Southern National] going from year-to-year and it really is one of the premier Late Model Stock events held. I’m just glad it is [still] at Southern National.”

Staffing for this year’s event competitors will see some new faces and some old faces that will return to SNMP to assist Michael and his family. Notably, Steve Zacharias from Florence Motor Speedway and some of his staff will be back to assist and take on larger roles in making this event a success.

Much more is planned for future editions of the Thanksgiving Classic. While Diaz does not exactly know what that vision looks like, he fully intends to make Southern National an end-of-year hub for the East Coast short track community.

“With me, you never know,” Diaz said. “I feel I will start with Late Model Stocks this year and then move to the other divisions in the years to come. I would love for the month of November to race a few weekends and hold nothing but large purse racing. I tell all my drivers at the Thanksgiving Classic to be thankful for being able to come to a nice facility and do what we love.”

The $50,000 opportunity will not be the only money on the line for Late Model Stock competitors, with information surrounding additional money for the Late Model Stock Cars and payouts for all divisions expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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