WILLIAMSTON, S.C. – official series release – LWpictures.com –
Three-time Pro All Stars Series (PASS) National Champion Ben Rowe began his title defense in style with a thrilling win in Saturday night’s Peach Blossom Special for the PASS South super late models at Anderson Motor Speedway.
Rowe held off rookies Zane Smith and Jared Fryar to snap a winless streak dating back to November of 2013 when he won the North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway.
“It was cat-and-mouse the whole race and on the restart I got out in front, I was just trying to keep the 77 [Smith] 2-3 car lengths behind,” said Rowe, after his ninth career PASS South super late model win. “We stayed here till 8:30 last night working on a skip we had in the engine and I can’t thank my guys enough. It took me by surprise when [Smith] got up on the outside, but it’s tough. These kids are pretty fun to race with and coming to the checkers like that was pretty cool.”
Jared Irvan paced the field in qualifying with a lap of 88.074 mph to capture his third career quick qualifying time. After the top 10 qualifiers redraw, Irvan and second fasted qualifier Jody Measamer swapped spots to lead the field to green for the 125 lapper.
Measamer took the initial lead, but was overtaken by Lucas Jones and Irvan in a three wide move on lap three. It was quickly evident that Measamer and Irvan were going to employ a conservative strategy, dropping all the way to the rear of the field by lap 35.
While they were in conservation mode, ninth place starter Lee Hansard was on a charge, taking the lead from Jones on lap 37. Local favorite Eric Stokes and Rowe rode in second and third behind Hansard until Stokes lost a motor entering turn one on lap 78 to bring out the race’s first caution.
On the restart, Hansard struggled to come up to speed, handing the lead to Rowe, as he dropped back to the eighth position. At this point, Measamer and Irvan were ready to make their move with Measamer moving into the top 10 on lap 83 and Irvan following on lap 92. But, Irvan’s progress would be halted when he had to stop on the racetrack with 10 laps to go due to a broken wheel.
Rowe continued to lead following the restart but was now followed by Jimmy Doyle in second and Measamer, who had made his way up to third.
While racing hard for second with three laps to go, Measamer made slight contact with Doyle exiting turn four. Doyle spun across the track collecting Measamer and ending any real hopes the two veterans had for victory.
Rowe and Smith ran side-by-side over the course of the final two laps with Jared Fryar following closely behind in turn four.
As the leaders came charging to the checkered flag, Rowe held a slight advantage over Smith, and a peeking Fryar to the inside, for the win. Hansard capped off his best day in PASS racing with a fourth place finish and Tate Fogleman finished fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Joey Doiron, Jones, Irvan, Matt Craig, and Doyle.
Rookie Chandler Smith took advantage of problems for the leaders late to take his first career PASS Pro Late Model win in only his second start.
Smith led the first 35 laps before a bump from Zachary Dabbs sent him sliding up the track and out of the top spot. But, just two laps later, Matt Murphy moved by Dabbs to take the lead. With six laps to go, Dabbs spun exiting turn two after contact with Kodie Conner.
On the restart, Murphy spun his tires down the front straightaway eventually spinning in turn two. Smith reassumed the lead and held on for the win. Murphy bounced back to finish second over Ontario’s JP Josiasse, Logan Jones, and Dabbs.
Chris Lamb rocketed from his fourth starting position to take a dominant win in the USAC Eastern Midgets over Jake Nelke, Jessica Bean, Scott Hunter, and Andrew Layser.
Justin Ashley prevailed in a hard fought battle for the Legends win over Ryan Millington and Randy Gunter. Brian King was the Front Wheel Driver winner.