CHARLOTTE, NC (March 27) – As the weather warms and families get ready for a relaxing Easter holiday together, Pro All Stars Series (PASS) fans from around the country are preparing to make their annual trek to the base of North Carolina’s famed Blue Ridge Mountains this weekend. Since 2006, they look forward to Easter weekend every year in the hopes of seeing the best Super Late Model racers in the country compete at Hickory Motor Speedway.
This year’s Easter Bunny 150 looks to have all the ingredients of another instant classic. Besides being a PASS South Super Late Model points race, the Easter Bunny 150 will also be a PASS National Championship event and the final PASS National race prior to the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway in July. A good finish in the Easter Bunny will go a long way towards at least locking in a provisional at Oxford Plains for National Championship contenders like Jay and Tate Fogleman, two-time PASS National Champion Ben Rowe, Spencer Davis, Kyle Desousza and DJ Shaw. PASS National Points Leader Joey Doiron is coming off an impressive early season win in the Winter Meltdown 200 at Auburndale (FL) Speedway and will be attempting to qualify for his first Easter Bunny 150 this weekend.
“Hickory has a ton of history and it’s a huge deal to head to Hickory as the [National] points leader,” said Doiron. “I’ve personally never seen the track, but the last time we went to a track we had never seen before [Auburndale] we dominated the second half of the race and picked up the win.”
PASS South Points Leader Austin Theriault and defending PASS South Champion Kyle Grissom come to Hickory Motor Speedway with different approaches, but a common goal. Both hope to get maximum points and stake their claim to one of the biggest Super Late Model races in the country.
Theriault will be racing Hickory for the first time in his career. But that was also the case at PASS South’s first two races of the season at Dillon Motor Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway. Theirault won at Dillon and finished second at Myrtle Beach. He and teammate Zak Hausler will be led by veteran crew chief Gary Crooks, who has had solid runs at Hickory in the past guiding the likes of Trey Mitchell and Landon Cling. Needless to say, Theriault is optimistic about his chances.
“We’ve been taking some really good cars to the track every week and I think we have a shot to come out with a win in the Easter Bunny,” said Theriault. “I think Hickory suits my driving style coming from the North where you’re trying to conserve and be around at the end and I’m anxious to get to the track to see what I can learn and get better at.”
Grissom, on the other hand, has probably driven more laps at Hickory Motor Speedway than any other track on the circuit. In addition to racing Late Model Stocks there, Grissom made his first career PASS South start at Hickory in 2011 and scored his first series win in last year’s Easter Bunny. But, unlike last year when he came to Hickory as an upstart, this year he comes as the driver to beat according to many observers. And that’s a role he relishes.
“We set the bar pretty high winning the first Easter Bunny race we ever ran, but Hickory’s such a crapshoot because the track changes so much and you never know what engine combination might take off and run well,” said Grissom. “I’m looking forward to going back, it always a good field of cars, some of the toughest competition you’ll see all year. It’s a neat race and a lot of fun to be in.”
As Grissom alluded, an all-star field of racers from all over North America have already sent in entries hoping to be a part of Saturday’s 8th Annual Easter Bunny 150. Johanna Long returns to PASS for the first time since 2009 joining a host of drivers attempting to make their first Easter Bunny 150 including Bobby Measmer, Jr., Cole Timm, Karl Weber, Canadian driver Steve Laking, Chris Bohlman, Michigan’s Mark Beard and Joseph Mursuli. Former Easter Bunny 150 winner Preston Peltier will also be back looking to win along with veteran drivers Clay Rogers, Trevor Sanborn, Brandon Ward, Jimmy Doyle, John Batten, Bill Catania and Clete Caywood. Family racing traditions will continue for Justin Allison, Jared Irvan, and Harrison Burton, who will attempt to do the double by racing in the PASS Pro Late Model race and the Easter Bunny 150. Local fans will have something to cheer about as Tyler Church returns driving a team car to Peltier, PASS South rookie Brandon Lynn, and Trey Gibson, piloting the Oscar Blues Brewery entry out of Colorado.
Action gets under way on Friday, March 29th with rotating practice from 3 – 6:30 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, PASS Pro Late Models, and the brand new CCS Modified division. On Saturday, March 30th, pit gates open at 10 AM, with rotating practice for all divisions from Noon – 2:50 PM, qualifying at 3:30 PM and feature racing at 6 PM.
PASS South Super Late Model entry forms for the Easter Bunny 150, Apple Blossom 200 at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval and TD Bank 250 as well as the 2013 PASS license forms for all divisions can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models and boasts such marquee events as the PASS Northwest Triple Crown at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, PASS South’s Easter Bunny 150 at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway, the Autobus La Qubecoise Triple Crown at Autodrome Chaudiere, and the legendary TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.