The biggest and best field of NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division drivers and teams in the region is expected Saturday night as South Boston Speedway hosts its pre-Fourth of July racing extravaganza, the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200.

Last season’s 200-lap race attracted 35 cars, and a similar, if not larger field, is expected for Saturday night’s event, the premier NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division event of the season at South Boston Speedway.

Not only is Saturday’s race the biggest of the season for South Boston Speedway, it is a hallmark event on the state Late Model scene.

The race is the opening race of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, a three-race series that awards the winner $7,000, the second-place finisher $2,000 and the third-place finisher $1,000. The other two races in the series are the July 20 Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 5.

Along with that, drivers and teams will be competing for a large purse. For the first time in this event, the winner will take home $10,000, an increase from the $6,500 prize offered in past years.

When it comes to the racing action, fans will see extra-distance races for South Boston Speedway’s support divisions as well. The Limited Sportsman Division drivers will compete in a 75-lap race. Pure Stock Division competitors will go at it for 40 laps, and the Hornets Division drivers will race for 20 laps.

There will be plenty for fans to enjoy off the track as well. A pre-race Fan Appreciation Event will be held with fans having the opportunity to visit with drivers from all four divisions and get autographs.

At the end of the night’s racing program, fans will be treated to one of the area’s largest Fourth of July fireworks displays with colorful displays lighting up the night sky.

Advance tickets priced at $15 each are available and may be purchased at the South Boston Speedway office or by calling 1-877-440-1540. The advance tickets are available until 5 p.m. Friday. Tickets on race day will be $20 for adults. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com