AUDIO/RECAP: Setzer Wins Mason-Dixon Meltdown at Hickory; Fogleman Takes PASS South Title

Jacob Seelman Audio, Featured, Other Late Models, Southeast, Stock Cars 0 Comments

NEWTON, N.C. — Audio and story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Laura Ward/PASS photo —

In a battle of hometown favorites, second-generation driver Brandon Setzer held off PASS South Super Late Model Series veteran Tyler Church to win his first-career series event in the final race of the 2015 season Saturday at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Setzer, the son of former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star Dennis Setzer, passed Maine’s Mike Hopkins for the point with 61 laps to go and lead the remainder of the distance despite a caution-laden final quarter of the 200-lap Mason Dixon Meltdown — crossing under the checkered flag a half-straightaway clear of the rest of the field.

The significance of a hometown victory was not lost on the younger Setzer, either, with he and his family living just minutes from the race track in Newton.

“The car was on a rail there towards the end,” he said. “We just bided our time and I was saving some tires through the … middle of that last [green-flag] segment. We had just enough; Tyler was really good there and gave us some pressure, but I was able to pull away down the stretch and get it done.”

“Typically I like long runs, but this piece was really good on the short run too. This is a really sweet win. Me and my dad; we’re a two-man team and for him to put all the effort he does into helping me have a moment like this one, it’s one I’ll remember for a long time.”

The win made Setzer the seventh different first-time winner in PASS South competition this season.

Young Texan Derek Scott Jr. started from the pole and dominated the opening stages of the event, leading the opening 57 laps uncontested despite two early caution flags. The first yellow flew on lap 54 when Jeff Batten smacked the wall in turn two and the second came three laps later when Kyle DeSouza and Kyle McCollum made contact entering turn one, sending McCollum around and DeSouza hard into the outside concrete.

DeSouza climbed from his car uninjured, but the whole right side of his No. 88 machine was sheared back and the right front tire was broken off the suspension mount, forcing the Rhode Island driver to retire from the event.

On the restart, Setzer hit the button and took command up front, driving easily around Scott to take the lead at lap 58. Another quick yellow for a stopped Joey Padgett on lap 69 set up a restart in which Scott propelled his way back to the point, but by lap 85, it was the No. 15 of Hopkins charging around Scott to assume the lead, bringing Setzer back with him to second.

That would be the order that they continued in all the way to the halfway benchmark, with Hopkins leading Setzer, Scott, Roger Lee Newton and fast qualifier Tyler Church — who started 10th — at lap 100.

By the time the fourth caution of the night finally flew at lap 120, five laps prior to the scheduled break for pit stops, Hopkins had amassed a straightaway lead over Setzer. That was erased as the No. 4 of Trevor Sanborn came to a stop in turn four with a broken rear suspension, and PASS officials elected to utilize the yellow as the 10-minute competition break — bringing the entire field down pit road for adjustments and their allotted two-tire change.

Once the race resumed, it was Hopkins leading Setzer as Scott and Church moved to third and fourth, respectively, on-track. Setzer would not stay far behind, however, pressuring Hopkins on the bottom for the next 19 laps before the fifth yellow of the night came out for Zane Smith’s spinning car in turn two.

Smith, who was running sixth at the time, rejoined the fray quickly and was given his spot back for the restart due to contact with the lapped car of Kody Evans. On that restart, coming with 61 laps to go, Setzer powered his way around race leader Hopkins and left the neon-orange No. 15 to duel with Church for second.

Church finally lost his patience with Hopkins with 49 laps to go, giving him a shunt up the track and battling side-by-side for several laps before Hopkins retook command of the position. Even despite this battle, the duo still continued to chase down Setzer up front and made it a three-car battle for the win with 40 laps to go.

Church would be the first to pounce, charging just ahead of Hopkins to take second for an instant with 29 to go, but the two would continue dueling less than a car length behind Setzer until the caution flew again with 23 circuits remaining for Ben Rowe’s spin off the exit of turn four. This time, Hopkins was ready to make his move and dueled side-by-side on the top for three straight laps with Setzer before Clay Rogers would take his turn in the ‘360 club,’ drawing the seventh yellow flag of the night and setting up a 20 lap dash to the checkered flag.

As Setzer got away on the restart, the battle for second would finally turn sour as Church and Hopkins made contact with 14 laps to go, sending Hopkins around off the bumper of the No. 7 and leaving him understandably frustrated with the turn of events following the checkered flag.

“I was shocked by [what happened], honestly,” Hopkins told Race Chaser Online after the race. “He passed me once clean at the beginning of the race and we didn’t have any issues. I passed him there and went on to get the lead, and I’m not sure what he thought I did wrong. I feel like I raced everyone pretty fair; I’m from Maine, that’s what we do is race clean. He about dumped me going into one once [prior to lap 150] and then with 14 to go, I was running the high groove — which I preferred — and he bonzai-ed it down into three and got me when his nose slid up.”

“I don’t know if he thinks I chopped him or what, but he’s from here — he should know you’ve got to let the car roll at this place [when you’re going through the corner]. I guess it is what it is. That’s racing; tonight wasn’t our night, but it sucks because we had a top three car and to do that with a little crate motor was really impressive, I feel like. Wish we could have finished where we raced all night long.”

Church continued on and was finally able to get around the No. 33 of Roger Lee Newton for second with 10 laps to go, but simply ran out of time to chase down Setzer for the race win.

“I don’t come out here to wreck people,” Church said, “but he pinched me off … I don’t know how many times. We went off into three there and he just kept coming down. There was nothing I could do. I’m sure he’s got his opinion, and that’s part of racing, but I don’t drive people dirty. He just got the worst end of [the stick] tonight.”

“I still think we had the best car [in the field] tonight, but when you get cut off the way we got cut off tonight, you can only get so far. Me and [Roger Lee] Newton raced hard, but that was fun, hard racing and I enjoyed that tonight. We came up second, and we’ll use it as motivation to come back next time and try to win one.”

Newton, Brandon Ward and Jody Measamer rounded out the top five, followed by Smith, who finished sixth but missed out on the championship by a margin of 10 points in the end.

“I made some big moves tonight trying to get there, but we just had to come too far forward to be able to make it happen,” Smith admitted. “I made it almost four-wide at one point [after the spin] and I was just pissed at the whole deal, to be honest. At the end of the day, it was a great night for our guys; they worked their butts off here and all season long, so it’s a shame we couldn’t pull this out for them.”

Smith led the PASS South standings for the majority of the season, but an incident at Greenville Pickens Speedway in October — in which Smith made contact with race winner Joey Doiron after the checkered flag that sent the 2015 PASS National Champion hard into the wall — resulted in a $3,000 fine and a 150 point penalty for Smith that dropped him to second behind Fogleman, a deficit he could never overcome.

Fogleman hoisted the coveted eagle trophy at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night, becoming the youngest PASS South champion in series history at just 15-years-old. (Laura Ward/PASS photo)

Fogleman hoisted the coveted eagle trophy at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night, becoming the youngest PASS South champion in series history at just 15-years-old.
(Laura Ward/PASS photo)

Fogleman gutted out a hard-fought 10th place finish, and while it wasn’t what he wanted out of the day, it was still enough to garner the second-generation North Carolina young gun his first-career PASS South super late model championship.

“I just can’t thank the guys enough, I’m lost for words,” the 15-year-old said during an emotional championship celebration.  “I could feel my heart beating there, it definitely got hairy there at the end a couple of times.  In the beginning we got into a good spot and just saved tires, but in the second half the car got tight.  We were right in the middle of everything but luckily everybody got spread out and we could just ride there.”

“This is a huge moment, though. Coming into the year, we didn’t think any of this was going to come to pass. Even halfway through the year, I didn’t think it was possible, but Zane’s points [penalty] dropped him behind and allowed us to capitalize. It’s unreal to be standing here right now. You never come to the race track to finish 10th, and this wasn’t the night we were hoping to have … but we did all we could and it ended up being enough.”

The younger Fogleman joins his father Jay (2013) as a PASS South champion, and they become just the second father-son duo to claim titles in the prestigious series, joining Mike and Ben Rowe — who won titles in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

With the conclusion of the 2015 Pro All Stars Series season, the drivers and crews can begin looking ahead to the 2016 calendar, which kicks off on Feb. 6 with the Winter Meltdown at Greenville Pickens Speedway.

For more information, visit the Pro All Stars Series at www.proallstarsseries.com.

 

Audio with race winner Brandon Setzer:

Audio with race runner-up Tyler Church:

Audio with 2015 series champion Tate Fogleman:

Audio with 2015 series points runner-up Zane Smith:

Audio post-race with Mike Hopkins:

 

RESULTS: PASS South Super Late Model Series; Mason-Dixon Meltdown 200; Hickory Motor Speedway; Nov. 21, 2015

  1. Brandon Setzer
  2. Tyler Church
  3. Roger Lee Newton
  4. Brandon Ward
  5. Jody Measamer
  6. #77 – Zane Smith
  7. #17 – Clay Rogers
  8. #16 – Vinnie Miller
  9. #45 – Kodie Conner
  10. #8F – Tate Fogleman
  11. #4N – Ben Rowe
  12. #64 – Garrett Evans
  13. #19 – Riley Herbst
  14. #41 – Mike Rowe
  15. #71 – Jimmy Doyle
  16. #4 – Trevor Sanborn
  17. #15 – Mike Hopkins
  18. #01 – Derek Scott Jr.
  19. #54 – Matt Craig
  20. #83 – Joey Padgett
  21. #12 – Kody Evans
  22. #82 – John Michael Shenette
  23. #4M – Kyle McCollum
  24. #98X – Justin Ashburn
  25. #88 – Kyle DeSouza
  26. #49 – Jeff Batten
  27. #29 – Ryan Krachun
  28. #90 – Craig Winestein (DNS)

 

About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.

The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: speed77radio@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

Email Race Chaser Online: news@racechaseronline.com

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