CHARLOTTE, NC (April 21) – Durham, North Carolina’s Jay Fogleman has spent more nights than he can count over the years racing and winning at Orange County Speedway. After all, it is where he began his racing career in 1982 and is located in Rougemont just a few miles from where he lives. But, in all the races Fogleman has competed in at Orange County, perhaps he has never looked forward to an event like this weekend’s 4th Annual Orange Blossom Special. Fogleman will return after a long absence from Orange County Speedway on Saturday night to battle the best field of Super Late Model drivers in the country. Over the better part of the last decade, Fogleman has been a regular in the USAR Pro Cup Series and has not had the chance to compete at Orange County. After finishing third in Pro Cup points in 2008, Fogleman has made the switch to the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model division and will have the opportunity to race twice at Orange County this year. In a limited PASS South schedule in 2008, Fogleman managed to win one race and has elected to go for the PASS South championship in 2009. Although the season has gotten off to a slow start with Fogleman stuck in 15th place in the PASS South point standings after two races, many look to Orange County as the place that the veteran can turn it around. Nobody racing in the Orange Blossom Special has as much experience at Orange County as Fogleman does. And, Fogleman will not be the only driver with local ties to Orange County looking to defend the home turf.
Mark Gibson from Winston-Salem, NC finished fourth in PASS South points in 2008 and is looking for his first top 10 finish in 2009. Duane Linville of Kernersville, NC made his return to PASS South at Orange County last year and has been knocking on the door of finishing in the top ten. Bradley McCaskill and Alex Fleming of Raleigh are best friends off the track and the toughest of competitors on the track. Both McCaskill and Fleming scored top five finishes with PASS South in 2008 and are hoping to give the hometown fans something to cheer about at Orange County.
Perhaps the best chance of scoring a win for the locals could come from one of the series youngest competitors. 14-year-old driver Ryan Blaney from High Point, NC has impressed since making his PASS South debut at Orange County in 2008. In his first start in a PASS South Super Late Model, Blaney stormed through the field and made it all the way up to third before a mechanical problem took him out of contention for the win. After poor qualifying runs in the first two races of the season at Dillon and Hickory, Blaney again charged through the field to score top five finishes in both races. Blaney comes to Orange County a surprising third in PASS South points behind veterans Ben Rowe and Jeff Fultz. Maine’s Rowe hopes to make it three for three in PASS South for 2009 while Fultz looks for his first win in the series after four straight top five finishes dating back to last year.
While locals hope to steal the show at Orange County, a couple of PASS South rookies hope to join Blaney in the “phenom” category. Most short track observers would say Pensacola, Florida’s Johanna Long has already achieved that status. Last year, Long became the first female to win a Pro Late Model race at her home track, the Five Flags Speedway. Earlier this year, she made more history by becoming the first female winner at Five Flags in the Super Late Model division. Long looks to her crew chief, veteran racer Freddie Query, and teammate Trey Mitchell to help speed her learning curve in PASS South as she makes the transition from racing in Florida.
Texas rookie Bryce Walker will also make his PASS South debut in the Orange Blossom Special as a teammate to Jeff Fultz. Walker was virtually unbeatable in INEX Legends car racing and has scored a couple of top tens racing Crate Late Models thus far in 2009.
Veterans, rookies, and locals will be joined by the strongest Super Late Model drivers in the South including Justin Wakefield, Heath Hindman, Michael Pope, Clay Jones, Hal Goodson, John Batten, Devin Jones, and many, many more.
Joining the PASS South Super Late Models at Orange County Speedway for the first time will be the PASS Late Model Trucks. Through two races, Grant Davidson has a second place finish at Dillon and a win at Hickory. Those finishes have given Davidson a slight edge in points over Marty Griggs and Jody Measamer. Ben Ebeling led several laps at Hickory until an accident took him out of the running for the win. This weekend, Ebeling will be joined in a team truck by Allen Huffman. 2008 Pro Challenge National Champion Clint King continues to impress in his first season racing PASS Late Model Trucks and will be joined by another Pro Challenge alum Justin Crider. The PASS Late Model Trucks continue to grow and will compete along side the PASS South Super Late Models at the next three events before taking the month of June off when PASS South travels down to the New Senoia Raceway in Georgia. In addition to the 4th Annual Orange Blossom Special for the PASS South Super Late Models and the PASS Late Model Trucks, the Allison Legacy cars and Limited Late Models will be in action this weekend at the Orange County Speedway.
Action gets under way on Friday, April 24th at Orange County Speedway with gates opening at 1 PM and rotating practice for all divisions from 3 PM to 7PM. On Saturday, April 25th , pit gates open at 11 AM, rotating practice for all divisions from 1 PM to 4 PM, PASS South qualifying at 5 PM, and racing starts at 7 PM. Orange County Speedway is located off NC Highway 57 near Rougemont. For more information go to ocstrack.com or racewithpass.com. For marketing or media questions contact Alan Dietz at 704-231-2039 or for technical information contact Scott Reed at 207-625-3230