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Pass Series Racing

Pass Series Racing News
Colt James Victorious in PASS South Mason-Dixon Meltdown 200
Nov 30, 2011 - updated Nov 30th, 2011 1:05pm
Web posted by Norm Desjardins

--

Ryan Blaney and Ben Rowe Earn Series Championships

The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South and National Super Late Model Series seasons concluded at Concord Speedway (NC) on Saturday, November 26th with the running of the Thanksgiving Classic /Mason-Dixon Meltdown 200. When the checkered flag flew, Colt James earned his first PASS South victory while Ryan Blaney won his first PASS South championship and Ben Rowe earned his second PASS National series title.

34 Super Late Model drivers took to the track for qualifying. Jay Fogleman, who entered the event as the South division points leader by a mere six points over Blaney, set fast time, followed by Heath Hindman, James, Blaney, Eric Darnell, Logan Ruffin, Austin Theriault, Gray Gaulding, Preston Peltier and Trey Mitchell. Andy Loden, who entered the event 10 points behind Fogleman in third, qualified 16th. National points leader Rowe (by 38 points) timed in 19th while Cassius Clark, second in National points, qualified 18th.

Before the green flag dropped Gaulding and Clark both had issues getting going, forcing them to start the event from the back of the pack. When the green flag flew, Blaney paced the field, not giving up the top spot until well over halfway in the event. Meanwhile, South points leader Fogleman (tire issue) and National points leader Rowe (shifter broke) both had trouble, putting them laps down to the field. Loden also had trouble during the race, ending his chance at the South title.

On lap 74, a scary incident placed the field under the red flag when Kevin Love and Michael Pilla made contact through the dogleg on the backstretch, sending Pilla up into the fence. Both drivers walked away from the incident.

During the final 50 laps, Blaney, Darnell and James battled hard for the top spot, taking turns as the leader. James took the lead for the final time though at lap 171, driving on to win the Mason-Dixon Meltdown; his first PASS victory.

“It got wild there at the end,” said James. “It got so spread out there I didn’t know where I was. We finally got that restart and I was fourth. I had a good restart there. Me and Ryan touched a little bit there, and had a good run at the end. I felt like I could pull away, but the one lapped car kind of held me up there the last lap.

“This is our first PASS win. I really love this series. I have never had any luck. I finally had some luck tonight.”

Blaney wanted to end the season with a third victory, but his second-place finish was enough to earn him the 2011 PASS South championship over Fogleman, who finished 17th.

“We led most of the race and just rode around,” said Blaney. “We pitted; they got me in and out of the pits pretty clean. We got back to the lead with about 40 to go. We had a restart and I missed a shift; it messed us up there. We got back to Colt with about 20 to go and couldn’t find a way around him.

“We were trying for two years (for the championship). We had the points lead going into the last race last year and we had a cracked rim and it cost us the championship. We worked really hard this year to get this. It feels really good to have our hard work pay off.”

Rowe entered the race with a virtual lock on the National championship, but early problems with his shifter almost cost him the title. Still, the multi-time divisional champion from Maine was able to finish 18th and earn his second National title.

“The car was really good,” said Rowe. “I thought we had a top four or five car. Then on the second restart I ripped the shifter right off in my hand. It was stuck in third and never made it into fourth, so that kind of ruined our day. We ended up fixing it. It sheered the bolts off. It is just one of them things.

“The National deal is pretty neat. You have the North and the South (championships), then the National, which I think is above them. It is something that we strive all year for, and there is a lot of travel involved. It is a whole team effort. We have a good time, and if you have a good time, good things happen.”

Peltier, Darnell and Brandon Ward rounded out the top-five finishers in the race. Also, after finishing 11th, Gray Gaulding was named the PASS South 2011 Rookie of the Year.


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