Wild Night Ends with Seventh Different Winner in 2011 Series Competition

The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models made their annual trip to Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, North Carolina, for the “Orange Blossom Special 125” on Saturday, June 4th. After 125 laps of intense racing, Roger Lee Newton drove his machine to victory lane for his first series win, the seventh-different winner of the 2011 PASS South season.

The excitement of the day kicked off during qualifying. With 27 cars on hand looking for a great starting spot, it was once again Andy Loden taking the top honors with a lap time of 13.662 seconds, a new track record and his ninth-career PASS South Super Late Model pole award. Justin Wakefield, Jimmy Weller, Jay Fogleman, Preston Peltier, Bubba Pollard, Heath Hindman, John Batten, Mark Gibson and Newton were the remainder of the top-10 qualifiers.

Weller and Hindman drew the first two numbers of the top-10 redraw, starting the 125-lap event from the front row. On the initial green flag, Hindman edged Weller to lead the first lap, but a few laps later, Weller drove by Hindman to take the lead.

The first yellow flag flew at lap five for a single-car spin in turn four by Danny Bohn. On the restart, Hindman once again went to the lead, but Weller took it right back a lap later. Wakefield moved up to third with Peltier fourth and Loden fifth.

The yellow flag flew for the second time on lap 37 when the #80 car of Dustin Hubbard went up in flames going into turn three. He was able to get his car stopped in turn four and exited his vehicle safely. At the caution, Weller was leading Hindman, Loden, Wakefield and Jordan Anderson, who was on the move from his 12th-starting spot.

Just like a broken record, Hindman took the lead on the high side once the field went back to green, but Weller’s car was too strong, taking the lead back until the caution came out again for a single-car spin on lap 49 involving Scott Hensley.

Hindman was finally able to hold the top spot on a restart, getting well out in front of the field, but a multi-car incident back in the field brought the yellow out at lap 52.

With the rolls reversed on the restart, Weller went to the lead on the outside with Hindman trying to hold onto the second position, but Wakefield and Anderson powered by on the outside line, shuffling Hindman back to fourth. Newton was fifth on the track at the time.

On lap 65, Brandon Ward attempted to advance his way up further in the top 10 from his 21st-starting spot, but spun in turn four to bring out the yellow. Weller, Wakefield, Anderson, Hindman and Newton were the top five at the caution.

The outside line continued to be the preferred spot on the restarts as Wakefield took the lead once the green flag dropped. A lot of shuffling for positions behind Wakefield put Hindman in second with Weller in third, Anderson fourth, and Newton fifth with just 50 laps remaining in the Orange Blossom Special.

The yellow flag flew at lap 86 as Anderson went around in turn two while running in the top five. Wakefield, knowing the outside line had the advantage on the restarts, got a great restart as the leader and slid up in front of Hindman when the field went back to green, holding the lead and moving out on the field. The battle was on for the second position as the top-six cars battled side by side. When Newton pushed up the track from the inside line, it forced several drivers to check up. The move resulted in Loden and Peltier both spinning the length of the backstretch, bringing out yet another caution. They were both able to get going, but were well back in the pack.

Wakefield held the lead on the restart, but Newton pressed the go button, driving to the lead at lap 103, one lap before the yellow flew for a wreck in turn one between Matt Barndt and Gray Gaulding. The top-five drivers at the yellow were Newton, Wakefield, Weller, Hindman and Legendre.

Wakefield got out to the lead on the restart, but went too high and ended up brushing the wall. He dropped back and had to pit, similar to last week’s race at Motor Mile Speedway (VA). That put Newton back in the lead with Weller all over his bumper, trying to take it away. Weller attempted numerous times to take the lead away on the low side, but couldn’t get there before another yellow flag flew two more times, first on lap 112, and once again on lap 116.

A defining moment during the race happened after the restart with under 10 laps to go when drivers in the top-five positions tangled, causing significant damage to many top-running cars, including Hindman, Alex Fleming, Fogleman and Steve Legendre.

A final caution flew on lap 121 when Ryan Blaney got into the wall battling for third with Peltier. That set up a few-lap dash for the victory. Weller tried everything he could short of wrecking Newton for the win, but had to settle for second with Newton earning his first-career PASS South win.

“It was a wild race,” said Newton. “I roughed up Jimmy Weller three or four times. Every time I got on the bottom the car just wanted to push. They have a big motor, and I have a little crate motor, and it killed me on those restarts. I did everything I could to keep off of him.”

“This here is where it is. This is big. This is PASS.”

Weller ran strong all night, wishing he could have been celebrating the win.

“Man, I have never been that bummed out about second place ever,” said Weller. “It was just hard racing and it was fun. We have unloaded off the trailer and had been strong all year, but just had stuff go wrong. I thought we had it tonight.”

After pitting early for adjustments, Peltier was able to work his way back up to finish third.

“It was pretty wild. I got bounced around a bit and others got bounced around a bit,” said Peltier. “I tried as hard as I could there to steal a win, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Ward finished fourth with series-newcomer Anderson rounding out the top five.

The PASS South Super Late Model Series will be back in action at Newport Speedway (TN) for “The Daniel Boone Classic” on Saturday, June 18th. For more information on the Pro All Stars Series, go to www.proallstarsseries.com.

Unofficial Results – The Orange Blossom Special 125 at Orange County Speedway (NC)

1) 33 Roger Lee Newton – 125
2) 23 Jimmy Weller – 125
3) 26 Preston Peltier – 125
4) 62 Brandon Ward – 125
5) 19 Jordan Anderson – 125
6) 05 Alex Fleming – 125
7) 12 Scott Hensley – 125
8) 48 John Batten – 125
9) 09 Randy Gentry – 125
10) 18 Bradley McCaskill – 125
11) 10 Ryan Blaney – 121
12) 4 Jay Fogleman – 118
13) 20 Steve Legendre – 117
14) 91 Heath Hindman – 117
15) 29 Andy Loden – 117
16) 5 Spencer Wauters – 110
17) 98 Justin Wakefield – 106
18) 2 Gray Gaulding – 103
19) 55 Matt Barndt – 103
20) 08 Bubba Pollard – 59
21) 115 Jody Lavender – 58
22) 16 Hal Goodson – 52
23) 49 Scott Saunders – 51
24) 56 Gus Dean – 51
25) 11 Mark Gibson – 48
26) 80 Dustin Hubbard – 36
27) 30 Danny Bohn – 22