KENLY, N.C. – official release —
Trevor Noles capitalized on a bold three-wide move with 10 laps to go to pass Christopher Bell and Jody Measamer and win Saturday afternoon’s PASS South Mason Dixon Meltdown 200 at Southern National Motorsports Park.
Noles’ victory was his first career Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South super late model triumph and also marked the first series win for the Coulter Motorsports team.
“We finally got the monkey off our back and I just can’t thank Coulter Motorsports and Randy Renfrow, they give me 110 percent every week,” said Noles in victory lane. “I drove just as hard as I could those last few laps and we’re finally here where we belong. It’s been a long, cold weekend and I just can’t thank everybody enough for being here today.”
In qualifying, Jared Irvan shattered the old track record by more than a tenth of a second for his second career quick qualifying time with a lap of 98.186 miles per hour. In the top 10 qualifiers redraw, Irvan would pull pill number nine, while Tyler Dippel and Derek Ramstrom would move up to the front row.
On a very cold and brisk afternoon, Dippel and Ramstrom led the 31 car starting field to green. Dippel would lead the first five laps before Ramstrom moved by in turn three to take the lead. PASS South points leader Tyler Church experienced major mechanical problems early on heading to the pit area for over 30 laps on lap eight. With Church in the pits, the focus was on his nearest championship rival, Cole Timm, who was having a strong run inside the top 10.
Following a caution for a spin by Karl Weber in turn two on lap 31, Ramstrom and Austin Wayne Self would lead the field back to green for the restart. Self got a good start on the outside as the field roared into turn one. Ramstrom battled back on the low side, but spun exiting turn two in front of the entire field. The cars of Brandon Lynn, David Garbo Jr. and Jeff Batten all made hard contact as they tried to avoid Ramstrom. All four drivers were eliminated in the crash.
On the ensuing restart, Dippel would have a mechanical problem and stop on the front stretch to bring out a caution. Dippel pulled his car in to the pits and out of the race, handing Ben Rowe his third career PASS National Championship.
Self and Bell were the class of the field much of the first half of the Mason Dixon Meltdown, but once they entered lapped traffic, the lead duo was joined by the cars of Timm and Brandon Setzer. On lap 108, Bell moved around Self to take the lead and began to quickly stretch his advantage. The caution would wave on lap 125 to allow teams to refuel and change two tires.
On the restart with 75 laps, Timm appeared to break an axle on his machine while running third. Timm would soon retire from the event giving Church his first career PASS South super late model title, despite his problems from earlier in the race.
After a trio of cautions for relatively minor spins, Bell and Self again raced hard on the restart with Bell coming out on top in his Toyota. Self continued to struggle losing second to Setzer and would eventually fall out of the race.
Setzer quickly closed in on Bell for the lead as they entered lapped traffic. With 30 laps to go, Setzer took advantage of contact between Bell and Roger Lee Newton to take the lead exiting turn two. Setzer appeared to be cruising to his first career super late model win when a broken rear suspension sent Setzer out of the race with 11 laps to go and brought out the ninth caution of the night.
On the restart, Bell and Measamer brought the field to green, but Noles, who was in third, darted to the inside making an aggressive move to power by the leaders in turn one. As the field headed down the back straightaway, contact between Measamer and Rowe racing for third place sent Measamer hard into the outside wall.
This would give Bell one more shot at Noles, but Noles was again too quick on the restart. Despite Bell’s best efforts, Noles held on for his first career Mason Dixon Meltdown win. Rounding out the top five were Bell, Rowe, Dalton Sargeant and Harrison Burton. Completing the top 10 were Wayne Helliwell Jr., Jared Fryar, Newton, Michael Rouse and Matt Craig.
Following the race, Rowe and Church joined Noles on the front straightaway to celebrate their championships. A very relieved Church expressed his gratitude following their frustrating race.
“I knew I was in trouble when we were sitting in the pits, but I told the Good Lord to take care of this and this is where we’re at,” said Church afterwards. “I’ve got to thank Harold [Johnson] and Preston [Peltier] for getting us into this, but me and my daddy have worked hard on this car. This is special and me and daddy will always cherish this moment.”
After a year that saw him go winless, Rowe was happy, not only for his third PASS National Championship, but to finish the season out on a high note.
“It feels like a win for us to finish third, I mean we’ve struggled all year long,” said Rowe. “It’s a fun series that PASS puts on. You go to all these different tracks in the North and South and Canada and see all these different fans and it’s a pretty neat deal.”
In the PASS Pro Late Model division, Kodie Conner took the lead from Jacob Schneider and never looked back as he went on to claim his fifth win of the season. Rounding out the top five were Erik Nash, Schneider, Ryan Krachun, and Matt Murphy.
Walker Yates finished sixth en route to claiming his first career PASS Pro Late Model division title.