Colorado native takes home the big payday in North Carolina

With 77 drivers making their way to North Wilkesboro Speedway (NC) April 7th – 10th to try and win the “THE RACE” Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South presented by JE Pistons and Roush Yates Performance Parts, only one driver could go home with the $75,000.00 winner’s purse. At the end of 300 laps of competition, Colorado’s Chris Eggleston crossed under the checkered flag first to win the historic event.

“Holy cow! That is my initial thought,” said a happy Eggleston in victory lane. “This deal didn’t come together until two weeks ago. Crew chief Butch Miller gave me a call, said he got a sponsor, and decided to let me come on out and drive. He has never steered me wrong. I am so happy!”

Johnny Clark and Jay Fogleman led the 44-car field down to take the green flag in the historic 300-lap event. Clark was able to clear Fogleman, leading the monumental first lap of the race. Meanwhile, positions shuffled all through the field as drivers worked their way around the track.

At lap four, Andy Loden decided it was time to lead as he drove on the outside of Clark, taking the top spot. Augie Grill followed him to the front, working his way to the second position, putting Clark back to third. Pat Kelly rode fourth with Ryan Moore fifth. Just before lap 15, Grill decided it was his turn to lead as he drove around Loden for the first position.

At lap 24, the first car off the pace was the #40 of Sterling Marlin, who ducked onto pit road for service. A couple laps later, the #112 of Grill caught the back of the pack to start lapping cars. Through the lapping of traffic, Loden went back to the lead around Grill with Kelly, Bubba Pollard and Patrick Laperle running in the top-five positions just before lap 40. At lap 48, through heavy lapped traffic, Grill went back to the front, putting Loden back to second.

The first yellow of the afternoon flew at lap 52 as Joey Doiron had trouble in turns three and four, receiving damage to his right front. The top five at the yellow were Grill, Loden, Pollard, Eggleston and Kelly.

All restarts in the PASS Series are double file, putting Grill and Loden side by side as the field headed back to turn one at speed. Loden came around the lead the next lap with Pollard and Kelly dropping in second and third. At lap 55, Pollard drove his #18 to the front to take the lead while many of the racers back in the pack went side by side for position.

As Brian Ickler ducked onto pit road, the yellow flew for the second time as drivers stacked up in turn four. Mike Rowe received some damage, but was able to continue.

The green flag flew with Pollard and Grill driving down towards turn one, but the field started stacking up behind them. After contact between a couple cars, Rebecca Kasten’s #51 machine hit the turn-one wall. Kenzie Ruston was also collected up in the incident, but was able to drive away while Kasten’s car had to be hauled off on the hook.

The field headed back to turn one under speed with Pollard leading Grill, but Jody Lavender, who started 21st, was on the move, working his way to second.

The caution flew again at lap 68 as Patrick Laperle went around in turn two. The entire field dove left and right, avoiding a major incident as Laperle was able to right his car and tag the end of the field.

Lavender took his turn at the point on the restart, taking the lead from Pollard.

The caution flew at lap 84 as John Batten and Scott Mulkern made contact down the back stretch, sending Batten into the pit entrance water barrels. Despite the heavy damage to his car, Batten was able to exit his car and was OK.

Pollard got the run on the high side to take the lead as the field went back to green. Lavender and Loden fell in behind, second and third. While the field jockeyed for position behind them, the top-three drivers stayed in their positions until the lap 100 mark, ending the first segment of the race. During the eight-minute break, the teams worked on their cars and were allowed to change four tires to prep them for the second segment.

At lap 100 the top-10 drivers were Pollard, Lavender, Loden, Jeff Choquette, Grill, Ross Kenseth, TJ Reaid, Ryan Blaney, Eggleston and Eric Darnell. 28 of the 44 drivers that started the race were still on the lead lap.

Pollard and Lavender brought the field down to the green flag to begin the second segment. Pollard held the top spot, but Lavender dropped back putting Loden in second followed by Choquette, Grill and Reaid.

As the leaders caught lapped traffic around lap 130, Grill, who had worked his way up to second, dropped back to third as Loden moved his way forward, trying to reel in Pollard. At the lap 150 halfway mark, Pollard still led the field with Loden second, Eggleson third, Choquette fourth and Grill fifth. Two laps later, Eggleston worked his way around Loden to take the second position.

The yellow flag flew for the first time in the second segment at lap 164 for a spin on the backstretch by Justin Wakefield, who had been off the pace for several laps.

Pollard and Eggleston ran first and second after the restart with Choquette dropping into the third position.

A lot of contact throughout the field ended up biting a few drivers as contact between a couple cars on the front stretch at lap 180 had cars swerving to try and miss a mess. Sanborn, Garrett Evans and Laperle were just a few cars that received damage from the incident, the eighth caution of the race.

On the restart, Pollard stayed on point, but Choquette worked his way into the second position around Eggleston. That position was short lived though as Eggleston took the runner-up spot back a few laps later.

Just before the lap 200 end-of-segment break, while negotiating lapped traffic, Eggleston was able to work his way to the lead around Pollard. Right at the lap 200 segment break, Alex Fleming looped his car in turn two.

The top 10 drivers at the break, where teams could once again bolt on four brand-new tires and make adjustments, were Eggleston, Pollard, Reaid, Choquette, Loden, Kenseth, Blaney, Ben Rowe, Fogleman and Clark. 19 drivers were on the lead lap at lap 200.

The third and final segment kicked off with Eggleston and Pollard side as the field got up to speed. Pollard didn’t waste any time as he jumped out to the lead. Eggleston settled in second with Choquette, Reaid and Loden rounding out the top five.

With 50 laps remaining in “THE RACE,” Pollard still led Eggleston by a couple car lengths as the two negotiated around lapped traffic. Choquette, Reaid and Loden ran in the third through fifth positions.

For the next 25 laps, Pollard and Eggleston weaved in and out of lapped traffic, nose to tail. As they came up on some hard racing by a few drivers, Pollard appeared to try to turn under Clark off turn four and got sideways, allowing Eggleston to drive to the high side and take the lead at lap 276.

Over the final laps in the caution-free third and final segment, Eggleston was able to pull away from Pollard, taking THE RACE win, earning himself a cool $75,000.00.

“This is just so exciting,” said Eggleston. “The first segment I thought we were really good. We used it to get a feel for the car and see how it was on short runs and long runs. The restarts were killing us with the crate motor. Every time a yellow came out, all I could do is cover my shield and yell “here we go again.” In the middle session we were a tick loose on late exit and a little bit on late entry, so I dialed some front brake to help that.

“I told Butch we needed to close up the stagger a little bit and hopefully nothing would change. It got a little bit tight; too tight. We probably should have left it alone with the sun going down. I felt like the track really tightened up.”

With the bobble in traffic Eggleston was able to take the lead late in the race from Pollard but if the lapped traffic wasn’t a factor, he wasn’t sure he would be standing in victory lane.

“I don’t know if we had enough to get around the #18. We just caught him at the right time in lapped traffic, and that is all it took.”

If the race was 30 laps shorter, Pollard would have been celebrating in victory lane. However, a combination of his car’s handling and the lapped traffic cost him the victory.

“We just got tight in the center of the corner,” said Pollard. “I put too much wheel in it, making me loose off. The #54 (Clark) kind of messed me up right there. He (Eggleston) was able to get by me with lapped cars. We had a pretty good race car and he did too. Congratulations to him.”

Choquette started 19th in the field, and survived to take home a podium finish.

“I didn’t think it would go green that whole way, that was surprising,” said Choquette. “I can’t say enough about my guys. They did an awesome job.”

Reaid and Ben Rowe rounded out the top five.

The PASS South presented by JE Pistons and Roush Yates Performance Products will be back in action at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) on Saturday, April 23rd, for “The Easter Bunny 150” event, which is also a PASS National Championship race.

For more information on the Pro All Stars Series and “THE RACE” at North Wilkesboro Speedway, go to

Unofficial Results: “THE RACE” – Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South presented by JE Pistons and Roush Yates Performance Products – North Wilkesboro Speedway 4/10/11

with position, car number, driver, (laps completed)

1. #08 Chris Eggleston (300)
2 #129 Jeff Choquette (300)
3 #51 T.J. Reaid (300)
4 #4n Ben Rowe (300)
5 #29 Andy Loden (300)
6 #10 Ryan Blaney (300)
7 #25 Ross Kenseth (300)
8 #61 Mario Gosslin (299)
9 #112 Augie Grill (299)
10 #91l Patrick Laperle (299)
11 #53 Pat Kelly (299)
12 #83 Cale Gale (299)
13 #4 Jay Fogleman (299)
14 #54 Johnny Clark (299)
15 #115 Jody Lavender (299)
16 #24n Mike Rowe (299)
17 #1n Stephen Nasse (298)
18 #7 Erik Darnell (298)
19 #05 Alex Fleming (298)
20 #74 Ryan Moore (298)
21 #8 Cassius Clark (298)
22 #20 Steven Legendre (297)
23 #62 Brandon Ward (297)
24 #75 Gary Smith (296)
25 #23 Jimmy Weller (296)
26 #98 Justin Wakefield (296)
27 #29s Trevor Sanborn (296)
28 #47 Trey Mitchell (296)
29 #26 Preston Peltier (295)
30 #84 Scott Mulkern (294)
31 #17a Scott Alexander (279)
32 #91 Heath Hindman (251)
33 #1 Randy Turner (245)
34 #47s Corey Williams (179)
35 #64 Garrett Evans (178)
36 #10b Geoff Bodine (84)
37 #29 Kenzie Ruston (83)
38 #48 John Batten (82)
39 #2 Gray Gaulding (68)
40 #51k Rebecca Kasten (63)
41 #66 Brian Ickler (61)
42 #73 Joey Doiron (50)
43 #40 Sterling Marlin (25)
44#18 Bubba Pollard (300)