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Chris Ferguson knows the importance of being the fastest qualifier at Dublin Motor Speedway. He’s done it twice and went to win at the 4/10th-mile track this season.

Saturday, Ferguson is hoping for more of the same when the Ultimate Super Late Model series returns to the Bladen County track dubbed the Rattlesnake. The 40-lap race will pay $4,000 to the winner.

“Starting up front is key because the competition is so close nowadays,” said Ferguson, who is 25 years old and based out of Mount Holly. “There is only a couple tenths separating the top drivers nowadays and it’s hard to pass because everybody is so good. So, starting in front of them makes a big difference.”

Ferguson won the Ultimate Super Late Model series race at Dublin on Aug. 29, then won the Dublin Peanut Festival Super Late Model race at the facility Sept. 19. He’s won 11 races this season, including a World of Outlaws race May 2 at Fayetteville.

“I feel we have just as good of a shot as anybody else to win,” Ferguson said. “Our car has been working great this year as the results have shown.

“I really enjoy racing at Dublin. The track has character and it’s always a good surface whether it’s fast or slick. The dogleg in the back stretch is pretty cool. You don’t really see a lot of tracks like that any more.”

More than 3,000 spectators packed into the speedway in August for the last Ultimate Late Model series race. Another large crowd is anticipated Saturday, weather permitting. The National Weather Service forecast is calling for a 70 percent chance of up to one-half inch of rain during the day Saturday, but only a 20 percent chance Saturday night.

Bladen County received about 8 to 10 inches of rain last weekend, but those heavy rains haven’t affected the track, says R.J. Bailey.

“The track conditions are great,” Bailey said Wednesday afternoon. “The track really doesn’t change a whole lot with the rain because of the clay. It holds the moisture and soaks it in. They’re working the track and grading it. The biggest issue we have with the rain is the pit road and the entry road. We had standing water in the parking lot.”

Also featured Saturday will be a 25-lap Open Wheel Modified race that will pay $2,000 to the winner and a 25-lap Limited Late Model race that will pay $1,000 to the winner. There also will be races in Pure Stock, Super Street and U-Car divisions.

The pit road gate opens at 3 p.m. and grandstand opens at 4 p.m. Saturday. Practice for the cars will begin at 6:30 p.m. with qualifying to follow and the races.

Adult admission is $30 for the pits and $20 for the grandstands. There are discounts for military and seniors. Ages 12 and under are admitted free in the grandstands.

The track is located at 1364 Rice Pond Road.

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