CHARLOTTE, NC (April 2) – In the span of just four short years, the Easter Bunny 150 has established itself as one of the premier short track events of the year and perhaps the biggest Super Late Model event of the Spring.  For months, drivers from across North America have talked about winning the premier event on the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model schedule.  With each passing year, the Easter Bunny 150 seems to grow in stature and prestige.  But, how did this race that began in 2006 grow to join races like the All American 400 and Snowball Derby as a must win for Super Late Model competitors?

The first Easter Bunny 150 held in 2006 marked a new era in Super Late Model racing when PASS decided to expand from its roots in New England and expand to the Southeast.  Many felt this experiment would not work, especially in the Carolinas where Super Late Model racing was viewed as a dying form of motorsport.  On a picture perfect North Carolina day, 33 Super Late Models from across the country came together and people began to take notice that Super Late Model racing still had a pulse.  When the green flag dropped on the Inaugural Easter Bunny 150, PASS North legend Mike Rowe jumped out into the lead ahead of Florida’s Travis Kittleson.  Kittleson would run strong, but eventually fell out with mechanical problems.  Rowe’s first major challenger came from a foe he knew well from Maine, Cassius Clark.  Clark took the lead and quickly established himself as the car to beat.  Just as quickly, though, he was out of the race due to mechanical problems.


Throughout the field drivers were battling each other hard, while trying to learn one another at the same time.  Add that to the fact, many drivers in the field had never been in races that incorporated double-file restarts and only counted green flag laps.  After Clark’s departure, Georgia’s Jason Hogan and Maine’s Scott Mulkern were waging a war for the lead.  Back and forth the two went until contact on the front straightaway.  The result…Hogan hard into the wall, while Mulkern would go on to finish fourth.


“It was a little too early to be racing that hard,” said Hogan.  “I’m not saying that I’m upset…but you try not to right-rear somebody because that has the potential to really hurt them.”


“I just fell horrible for Jason,” said Mulkern of the incident.  “He didn’t know I was there and he came over.  I just couldn’t slow up enough.  He came over and that turned him into the wall.”


In the end, the race came down to a battle between Rowe and Indiana standout Chuck Barnes.  Barnes took the lead from Rowe late only to have Rowe come back on the final restart and retake the lead.  Rowe held on to etch his name in the record books as the first ever PASS South winner.“To beat Jason Hogan, Travis Kittleson…I know that he had some bad luck, but he was fast…Freddie Query and guys like them.  To be in the class of guys like that is just awesome,” said Rowe of his win.


“I am really impressed with PASS,” said Barnes.  “I had fun, the tech is fair and everybody is really nice.  I think that will go real far for them.”


Following Rowe and Barnes to the checkered flag were Clay Rogers, Mulkern, and Ryan Lawler in his first ever Super Late Model start.Rowe would go on to win again that year at Tri-County Motor Speedway, just up the road from Hickory, to become the Inaugural PASS South Champion.  However, Rowe would not be the only Easter Bunny winner to go on to win the championship.

For the 2nd running of the Easter Bunny 150, crews and drivers were faced with the coldest day in North Carolina in over 80 years.  While 20 degree temperatures might be the norm for the contingent of drivers making the trek down from New England, it was anything but normal for those who are used to celebrating Easter in short sleeves.  Despite the cold weather, 37 of the best Super Late Model drivers in the country were set to battle it out in the South’s first major race of the season.


Several contenders fell out early due to various problems.  Fast qualifier Preston Peltier led early, but dropped out with a mechanical problem.  Defending Easter Bunny 150 winner Mike Rowe soon fell off the pace and his #2 PT Watts machine was smashed into by another competitor knocking him from contention.  That left 2006 rookie sensation Ryan Lawler and former PASS North Champions Ben Rowe and Johnny Clark to duke it out for the checkered flag.  Lawler had a trick up his sleeve though.  In the 2006 Over The Mountain 150 at Hickory, Lawler had motor problems and had to fall back on a crate engine with less horsepower.  Thanks to the reduced horsepower, Lawler was able to conserve his tires and take the win in that race.  Lawler and his Roger Hamke led team elected to bring that motor back for the Easter Bunny.


A back-and-forth battle would wage between Lawler, Rowe, and Clark, but both Rowe and Clark would be plagued by flat American Racer tires.  They both had plans on how to deal with Lawler when it came down to the checkered flag, but a long stretch of green flag racing late in the race ended their chances to try out those plans.


“It was pretty early on when we had our flat tire, so there were still a lot of cars on the track,” said Ben Rowe.  “I knew that I could get to him [Lawler] on a restart, so I just backed off and saved my stuff, but that yellow never came.”


“I honestly thought that we would have been able to beat Lawler,” said Clark afterwards.  “I was just trying to keep him in my sights.  That tire didn’t help the situation, but hey, that’s racing.”Lawler would hold on to take the victory in the 2nd Annual Easter Bunny 150 over Ben Rowe, Tim Nooner, Clark, and Dean Clattenburg.


“I knew that we were going to win some races, but I didn’t know we’d be this good here,” said the jubilant Texan in victory lane.  “We qualified sixth and it was a little bit tough in qualifying, but at the end of the race I don’t think you can beat a crate motor when it comes to saving tires.” In 2007, as it happened in 2006, the winner of the Easter Bunny 150 would go on to win the PASS South Super Late Model championship.


The 2008 Easter Bunny 150 carried added prestige as the first race of the PASS National Series.  The PASS National Series was announced earlier in the year with four races in PASS North and PASS South being set aside from the regional championships to determine a PASS National Champion. 

Forty four of the fastest Super Late Models in the country were on hand to try and crack the field of thirty with Tennessee’s Heath Hindman taking the fast time.  At the green, Jeff Choquette jumped out to the lead with Hindman second, and Corey Williams third.  The front of the field ran single file for the first twenty laps until Jimmy Doyle spun to bring out the first caution. Choquette didn’t get going on the restart, allowing Hindman and Cassius Clark to get by. It took Choquette just seven laps to work his way back to the point, and he kept the number one spot through several early cautions, despite Hindman’s best efforts to wrestle the away the lead.


On lap 75 Choquette was still out front with Hindman, Ben Rowe, Zach Stroupe and Corey Williams the top five. The front pack was running nose to tail, working the lapped traffic on lap 103 and the lappers got together with the leaders, jumbling the front of the field and handing the lead to 2007 PASS South champ Ryan Lawler and sending Choquette and Ben Rowe to the pits. When the smoked cleared it was Lawler followed by Williams, a charging Travis Benjamin, Mike Rowe and John Stancill. Benjamins’ run to the front was sidetracked a short while later after contact with Mike Rowe; Dean Clattenburg was a victim of the melee and had to retire for the night.


The last third of the race was a battle royal with Williams now in command and Lawler hungry to get back the point   Lawler got his way on lap 117, but 20 laps later Williams took the lead for good and drove off into the sunset to claim the Easter Bunny 150.  Lawler, Stancill, Stroupe and Hindman rounded out the top five.


Williams bid to become the third winner of the Easter Bunny 150 to go on and win the PASS South Championship came up just short as he finished second in the points race just behind Alex Haase.


The 4th Annual Easter Bunny 150 will be the first PASS National race of 2009 and is attracting some of the biggest names in short track racing including Ben Rowe, Johnny Clark, Cale Gale, Justin Wakefield, Michael Pope, Matt McCall, 2008 PASS National Champion Cassius Clark, Jeff Fultz and many, many more.  Action kicks off on Friday April 10th with rotating practice for the PASS South Super Late Models, PASS Late Model Trucks, and Allison Legacy Cars from 3 to 7:30 PM.  On Saturday, April 11th, gates open 10 AM, with rotating practice at Noon, qualifying at 4 PM, and racing at 6 PM including 50 laps for the Allison Legacy Cars, the Lucas Board Plumbing 75 for the PASS Late Model Trucks and the 4th Annual Easter Bunny 150 for the PASS South Super Late Models.  Hickory Motor Speedway is located just off US Highway 70 in Hickory.  For more information on the PASS South Super Late Models or PASS Late Model Trucks contact Alan Dietz at 704-231-2039 and for technical information contact Scott Reed at 207-625-3230.  For further information go to or