CHARLOTTE, N.C. – official series release — Laura Ward/PASS photo —
After two months off due to rainouts at Southern National Motorsports Park and Myrtle Beach Speedway, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South super late models and pro late models will be back on the track this weekend at historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
It is also fitting that as PASS celebrates 10 years of being the South’s longest running super late model sanctioning body that it would bring back one of the most popular events of the series early days. From 2007-2009, The Howler at Greenville-Pickens Speedway saw some of the biggest names in short track racing compete for the win at the legendary South Carolina speedway.
Maine’s Cassius Clark took the win in the inaugural Howler and followed that up by capturing the first PASS National Championship at Greenville in 2008, a race won by Nevada driver Alex Haase. Six-time PASS North super late model champion Johnny Clark won the most recent Howler in 2009.
This weekend, The Howler will be back at Greenville-Pickens Speedway as the PASS South super late models get set to tackle the flat half-mile for 125 green flag laps. Three drivers, Joey Doiron, Ben Rowe and Tate Fogleman, are only separated by 22 points as they prepare to vie for the 2015 PASS National Championship at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
While the battle for the national title will be settled this weekend at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, the PASS South super late model championship still has three more races to go. Following The Howler, the Southern title fight will go to Concord Speedway for the 13th annual North-South Shootout on Nov. 7 and will then come down to the 10th Annual Mason-Dixon Meltdown 200 at Hickory Motor Speedway on Nov. 21.
So far this season, Huntington Beach, Calif., driver Zane Smith has been the man to beat in the PASS South championship battle. The 16-year-old driver, who is in his second year racing PASS South super late models, has gone to victory lane three times, with wins at Kingsport Speedway and Concord Speedway in May and most recently at South Boston Speedway in August.
Those wins have propelled Smith to an advantage of more than 100 points over his nearest competitors, Fogleman, Jody Measamer and Matt Craig, as they look to Greenville this weekend. While the focus for many might be the championship, that’s not the case for Smith.
“I’m beyond pleased with my year so far, knowing we have three wins in PASS South and looking for another this weekend at Greenville,” said Smith. “I don’t really want to think about points. I just want to go out there and win races.”
For Smith and the Gary Crooks led team, Greenville-Pickens Speedway could be another opportunity to flex their muscle in 2015. Competing in a partial schedule last year with another team, Smith completed every lap at Greenville-Pickens in the Firecracker 125 and finished ninth. Smith hopes his experience last year, albeit at a different time of the season, will help him to another victory in The Howler this Saturday night.
“I’m looking forward to Greenville-Pickens because it’s a super racy track and tire saving will be a huge factor there,” said Smith. “We have a new car for Greenville so I’m definitely looking forward to giving it a shot.”
While a lot of eyes will be focused on the title battles in PASS National, PASS South, and PASS Pro Late Model, many drivers will be looking for their first series wins this season at Greenville. All the championship contenders have filed early entries along with PASS South veterans Jeff Batten and Jimmy Doyle. Vinnie Miller will be driving a team car to that of Smith out of the Crooks Racing stable, while off-road racing star C.J. Greaves will make his first start for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Lee Hansard, who led the most laps at Anderson Motor Speedway in March, will return, while Gus Dean makes his first start of 2015. Quebec racer and PASS North regular Raphael Lessard also plans to make his first PASS South start at Greenville-Pickens this weekend.