HICKORY, NC (March 30) – Preston Peltier took the lead from Trevor Sanborn with 10 laps to go and utilized an aggressive stance on the final two restarts to win the 8th Annual Easter Bunny 150 Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway. The win was Peltier’s fourth Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model triumph at Hickory and he becomes the first driver to ever win the Spring Classic more than once.
“For me a win is a win and I don’t care where it is,” said Peltier of his PASS South record tenth career victory. “It feels good to be in victory lane, maybe a week from now it’ll sink in a little bit. I just gotta thank my guys. When we unloaded the car was good and it stayed good all day long.”
Carolina blue skies welcomed fans from across the country to “America’s Most Famous Short Track” for the spring’s biggest Super Late Model race in the country. Thirty-eight PASS South Super Late Models participated in practice with only the machine of John Batten having to miss the time trial session after he suffered a blown engine. In qualifying, former three-time Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Andy Loden qualified fastest with a lap just over 97 miles per hour around the .363 mile oval. Loden would draw the fourth starting position during the top ten qualifiers redraw with defending Easter Bunny 150 winner Kyle Grissom drawing pill one to start from the pole.
A stacked field of 30 competitors took the green to begin the 8th Annual Easter Bunny 150 with Grissom moving out front early. The lead would change hands three times in the first 12 laps with Grissom, Georgia youngster Spencer Davis, and Trevor Sanborn all taking turns up front. The first major incident of the night occurred on lap 14 when Randy Gentry spun in turn four after a tap from Brandon Jones collecting several other contenders including two-time PASS National Champion Ben Rowe, as well as Brandon Ward, Bill Catania, and Bobby Measmer, Jr. Rowe lost over 40 laps in the pits making repairs to a bent suspension part and would eventually finish a disappointing 25th.
With Sanborn leading, all eyes were on the Precision JLM Ford Mustang driven by DJ Shaw as he was making the early move towards the front. Shaw broke into the top five on lap 26 moving by Preston Peltier and, just five laps later, followed Roger Lee Newton around Jody Measamer into the top three. The second caution flag of the race would fly on lap 45 after a tenth place battle between Johanna Long, Harrison Burton, and Garrett Campbell resulted in Burton spinning down Hickory’s backstretch.
On the ensuing restart, Newton moved the Roger Newton Concrete Finishes Chevy to the lead bypassing Sanborn. Shaw would make his move around Sanborn into second on lap 58. At the halfway point of the Easter Bunny 150, Newton continued to lead over Shaw, Sanborn, Peltier and Measamer in the top five.
On lap 82, Shaw continued to show the strength of his Mustang moving by Newton for the lead. While the contenders were battling up front, fast qualifier Loden never seemed to get on track, racing just outside the top ten for much of the race before eventually retiring for the night on lap 96.
With 44 laps to go, Sanborn began to show his early race form, retaking the lead from Shaw. Peltier was also starting to display his hand, passing Shaw for second just five laps later after the two had exchanged a bump or two while racing hard for the position. Peltier was turning quick laps using the upper groove and began to challenge Sanborn for the lead. On lap 136, Peltier got a little over anxious lightly scrubbing the backstretch wall, yielding ground to Sanborn.
With 11 laps to go, the entire outlook of the race changed when the caution waved for a piece of debris on the track in turn one. On the restart, Peltier took advantage of the momentum on the high side to take the lead for the first time in the Easter Bunny 150. But, Peltier’s progress was slowed when rookie Tate Fogleman spun in turn four with three laps to go.
As the field barreled off into turn one on the restart, Peltier and Sanborn made contact causing the field to check up slightly behind them. Fourth place runner Garrett Campbell’s great run was thwarted as he spun in turn two collecting Long, Kyle Desousza, and Jimmy Doyle.
The field would be double-file for the green-white-checker run to the finish line. And, on the restart, Peltier and Sanborn again made hard contact entering turn one which caused Sanborn to lift out of the throttle just long enough for Shaw to snake by and retake second place. At the finish, Peltier would beat Shaw to the checkered flag by .459 seconds to take the win over Sanborn, who edged out Clay Rogers in a photo finish for third, and Jody Measamer scoring his best career PASS South finish in fifth. Rounding out the top ten were PASS South points leader Austin Theriault, Spencer Davis, Jay Fogleman, Bobby Measmer, Jr., and PASS South rookie leader Brandon Lynn. In post-race interviews, all eyes were on Peltier and Sanborn following their exciting battle for the win.
“It seems to be when the shoe’s on the other foot it’s okay and when I do it, it’s not. We’re here to pay the bills and that’s what we did tonight,” said Peltier referring to the late race restarts with Sanborn.
Sanborn continued the string of top four finishes for the Dickie Woodman-owned Q104 that began with Kevin Powell at Dillon and Jay Fogleman at Myrtle Beach. But, despite that, Sanborn was clearly agitated following the race.
“Preston was just a tick better, but the second groove is the preferred groove, especially on the restarts, and we did two restarts and I don’t feel like Preston treated me very fair…he ran me up the racetrack on both restarts, I just think it’s kind of a crappy deal,” said Sanborn afterwards.
The next event for the PASS South Super Late Models will be on April 13th as the series returns to Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, NC for the first time since 2009. For more information, please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com and don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook.
PASS South Easter Bunny 150 – UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
1. 26 – Preston Peltier 150 16. 12c – Garrett Campbell 150
2. 60 – DJ Shaw 150 17. 8f – Tate Fogleman 150
3. 104 – Trevor Sanborn 150 18. 19 – Zak Hausler 149
4. 2 – Clay Rogers 150 19. 33 – Roger Lee Newton 148
5. 98 – Jody Measamer 150 20. 47 – Trey Mitchell 148
6. 29 – Austin Theriault 150 21. 7d – Jimmy Doyle 147
7. 129 – Spencer Davis 150 22. 50 – Karl Weber 146
8. 4 – Jay Fogleman 150 23. 73 – Joey Doiron 145
9. 51 – Bobby Measmer, Jr. 150 24. 12 – Harrison Burton 135
10. 97 – Brandon Lynn 150 25. 4n – Ben Rowe 121
11. 62 – Brandon Ward 150 26. 29l – Andy Loden 95
12. 10 – Johanna Long 150 27. 18 – Bill Catania 63
13. 31 – Kyle Grissom 150 28. 33j– Brandon Jones 14
14. 57 – Cole Timm 150 29. 09 – Randy Gentry 14
15. 88 – Kyle Desousza 150 30. 1 – Justin Allison 3