The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models returned to Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia on Saturday, May 28th, for the first time since the inaugural race at the track in 2008. This time, the event also marked the second PASS National championship race of the season. After 150 laps of grueling competition, Ben Rowe edged Jay Fogleman at the line to win his first series race of the year, making six different winners in six races this season in PASS South competition.
While 29 cars entered the weekend’s events at Motor Mile, two had trouble on practice day, leaving 27 cars to battle it out for top honors in qualifying. Fogleman stuck his machine on the top of the charts with a 15.350-second lap, earning him the pole position as well as a new track record at Motor Mile. Stephen Nasse was second, followed by Cassius Clark, Jimmy Weller and Andy Loden. Matt McCall, Rowe, Ryan Reed, Preston Peltier and Justin Wakefield rounded out the top 10.
After the top 10 redraw, Fogleman and Clark led the field of 27 to the green flag. Fogleman got the edge, leading early with Clark dropping in second. With most of the front half of the field getting single file, Nasse was the driver on the move, using the outside line to work his way from eighth to third by lap 10.
At lap 20, Clark worked his way into the lead on the outside of Fogleman, bringing Nasse with him. Fogleman dropped into third with Wakefield and Rowe rounding out the top five early.
The first yellow of the race flew on lap 36 as David Quackenbush spun in turn three. He was able to get his car going the right way without assistance. At the yellow, the top five were Clark, Nasse, Fogleman, Wakefield and Rowe.
On the restart, Nasse was able to use the high lane to take the lead with Clark dropping in second. Wakefield moved up to third with Fogleman fourth and Loden moving into the fifth position.
Series points leader Ryan Blaney attempted to move up through the field from his 14th-place starting position, but after some hard racing with Jeff Choquette, contact between the two sent Choquette’s car into the inside wall on the front stretch. Blaney was penalized and put to the back of the field for the incident, but the contact appeared to have damaged his car as well as he spent several laps in the pits.
After a few more yellow flags for incidents on the track, the battle for the top spot between Clark and Nasse heated up. The two battled side by side for a few laps, but contact on the front stretch sent both into the wall in turn one and out of the race on lap 78. That incident handed the lead over to Wakefield with Lavender, Rowe, Peltier and Hindman rounding out the top five.
The front position wasn’t the place to be late in the race. Wakefield, while cruising out front, had a tire go down, forcing him to pit at lap 119. A few laps later, Peltier, who worked his way to second and had the lead once Wakefield dropped off the pace, looped his car in turn four while trying to negotiate lapped traffic.
After a late-race yellow, Rowe and Fogleman battled hard during the last 10 laps for the top spot with Loden lurking behind. Contact between the two front runners kept the fans on the edge of their seats, but the two veteran drivers kept their cars pointed straight with Rowe crossing the finish line first.
“There is no better guy to race like that than Jay Fogleman,” said Rowe. “We hit a few times, but you didn’t see either of us end up in the fence. That is just good racing with 10 laps to go. He was going way down on the apron. I thought he was by me once and I was about ready to pull in behind him, but we motored back up alongside him. It was a blast racing him like that.”
Even though he wanted the victory, Fogleman enjoyed racing with Rowe over the final laps.
“Ben and I have just been racing the last couple years, but it is like we have been racing each other all our lives,” explained Fogleman. “I raced him like he would race me. I mean, I shook him around, but I wasn’t going to turn him around. Ben is a good racer. He took it and held his line.”
Loden made it a three-car battle for the victory, but just couldn’t advance any further than third, which wasn’t bad considering he lost track position early with a tire problem.
“We had a really good car,” said Loden. “We got a flat left front there at the beginning and had to go to the back. We got it fixed and got back to third, so it was a good night.
“I was running all over to see if I could find a way around. I couldn’t get around Jay because he was running where I needed to be. It was a heck of a race.”
Rowe entered the race fourth in the National points, but with the victory and the fact that the next three National events are up in his neck of the woods in the northeast, Rowe was leaving Motor Mile Speedway with more than just a victory.
“We come down here from Maine to race with these guys,” said Rowe with a smile. “It is their time to travel 16 hours and race on my tracks. Hopefully I have the upper hand and we will keep this National points deal going.”
Lavender and Roger Lee Newton rounded out the top five.
The PASS South Super Late Model Series will be back in action at Orange County Speedway (NC) for the sixth-annual “Orange Blossom Special” on Saturday, June 4th. The next PASS National Championship event will take place on Thursday, July 21st, at Thompson International Speedway (CT).
1) #4n Ben Rowe (150)
2) #4 Jay Fogleman (150)
3) #29 Andy Loden (150)
4) #115 Jody Lavender (150)
5) #33 Roger Lee Newton (150)
6) #39 Kenzie Ruston (150)
7) #04 Ryan Reed (150)
8) #91 Heath Hindman (150)
9) #2 Gray Gaulding (150)
10) #56 Gus Dean (150)
11) #62 Brandon Ward (150)
12) #91q David Quackenbush (150)
13) #26 Preston Peltier (150)
14) #20 Steve Legendre (149)
15) #98 Justin Wakefield (147)
16) #30 Danny Bohn (143)
17) #10 Ryan Blaney (142)
18) #7 Daniel Johnson (138)
19) #07 Matt McCall (136)
20) #48 John Batten (129)
21) #29L Landon Cling (99)
22) #5 Spencer Wauters (97)
23) #8 Cassius Clark (77)
24) #51n Stephen Nasse (77)
25) #42 Tim Pinion (73)
26) #129 Jeff Choquette (50)
27) #23 Jimmy Weller (13)