LUCAMA, NC (August 3) – On a weekend chalked full of emotion, Daniel Hemric took his first career Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model win in the Scorcher 150 Saturday night at Southern National Motorsports Park. Fans and racers alike were still reeling from the sudden death of longtime PASS South crew member Mike Sabiston, known to many as “The Judge,” who passed away at the track Friday in an accident while unloading the #62 New Day Motorsports Ford driven by Brandon Ward. The evening started with a remembrance of Sabiston which included a moment of silence and the local Bandolero division drivers laying a flower at a wreath in his honor. Due to the circumstances surrounding the weekend, the win by Hemric was bittersweet.
“I know everybody here has a heavy heart thinking about “The Judge” and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, so this one’s for you buddy,” said Hemric afterwards in victory lane.
The evening started with Preston Peltier knocking his Johnson Motorsports teammate Tyler Church off the top of the qualifying charts with a lap of 98.307 miles per hour. Peltier’s 11th career pole equals the All-Time PASS South leading total of Andy Loden and marks the first race back for the veteran after being injured eight weeks ago in an accident at home. In the top 10 qualifiers redraw, Peltier drew pill #7, while rookie Trevor Noles and Daniel Hemric had the luck of the draw to start on the front row for the Scorcher 150.
Prior to the start of the race, the pole position was left vacant during the pace laps in a tribute to Mike Sabiston and the entire PASS South field of drivers and the fans in the grandstands gave a thumbs up in an additional tribute. At the drop of the green flag to start the race, Hemric quickly jumped into lead from the outside of row 1, but his stay at the front was short lived as Ross Kenseth moved into the top spot on lap 7. The first caution of the night waved on lap 10 for a solo spin by Jerrick Johnson on the frontstretch. On the restart, top 10 runners Peltier and Blake Jones had issues when the field stacked up in front of them ending both of their nights’ early. Then, just four laps later, PASS South championship contender Kyle Grissom suffered a mechanical problem that knocked him out of the race and relegated him to a disappointing 23rd place finish.
The first half of the Scorcher 150 saw Kenseth dominate, while PASS South points leader Jay Fogleman moved into second looking to build on the eight point advantage he had on Grissom entering the race. Another championship contender having a good run was rookie Brandon Lynn, who entered the race third in points behind Fogleman and Grissom. Despite a poor qualifying effort that resulted in starting 21st, Lynn wasted little time making his way to the front. Lynn was in the top 10 by lap 60 and on lap 95 he moved around Church to break into the top 5. The third caution of the night would wave on lap 107 for rain leaving many to wonder of Kenseth could be on his way to his third straight rain-shortened PASS South win dating back to last year. But, the skies cleared and after an approximately 30 minute delay to dry the track, competitors were back out and ready to complete the final 43 laps.
At this point, Hemric had made his way around his Woodman Racing teammate Fogleman and would start outside of Kenseth for the restart. Much like the initial start, Hemric was able to jump into the lead while Kenseth fell back to fourth behind Spencer Davis and Fogleman. Despite the hiccup, Kenseth regrouped to move back into second and would restart outside of Hemric following two minor cautions for spins.
On the lap 118 restart, disaster struck for Fogleman when he would spin exiting turn two following contact with Brandon Lynn, collecting Cole Timm in the process. All three cars would suffer race ending damage. Although not able to completely capitalize on Grissom’s earlier problems, Fogleman’s 15th place finish still enabled him to extend his points lead over Grissom to 24 markers.
In the end, Hemric proved to be too strong taking the checkered flag 1.5 seconds over Kenseth, Jody Measamer, Davis and Church. Rounding out the top 10 were Alex Fleming, John Batten, Noles, Randy Gentry, and Tate Fogleman.
“We were good on the bottom, but it definitely took us two or three laps to get going,” said Hemric, who made his first ever Super Late Model start with PASS in 2010. “I can’t thank Dicky Woodman and Hamke Race Cars enough and everybody who put their hearts and souls in this deal.”
Kenseth looked to be on his way to another PASS South win, but struggled with the handling on his machine following the rain delay.
“I wasn’t too happy with the car, I thought we were too tight,” said Kenseth. “I thought me and Daniel had very similar handling race cars and after the rain I got really loose going into turn one for some reason and it messed me up.”
In the 50 lap PASS Pro Late Model feature, Trevor Noles took the lead with less than 10 laps to go when Jared Fryar slowed for an accident involving slower cars for his fifth win of the year. Following the race, Noles and the Coulter Motorsports team announced they would be giving their race winnings from this weekend to the family of Mike Sabiston. Tyler Audie led the first 27 laps of the race, but fell back to fourth and was involved in an accident with Harrison Burton that ended his night early. Following Noles at the finish were Jeff Batten, Nick Robinson, Fryar, and Walker Yates.
The PASS South Super Late Models will be in action again on Saturday night, August 17th at South Boston Speedway along with Twin 75’s for the NASCAR Late Model Stocks and CCS Legends. For more information please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com.