The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models headed to South Boston Speedway in Virginia on Saturday, August 20th, for the “PASS 150 Presented by Gazette Virginian” event, the 10th race of the 2011 season. In the nine previous races of the year, multiple drivers, including Chris Eggleston, Stephen Nasse, Roger Lee Newton and Bubba Pollard, all went to the PASS South victory lane for the first time. On Saturday, one more name was added to the list as accomplished racer Clay Rogers earned his first series victory.
“Thanks for everybody for coming out,” said an excited Rogers in victory lane to the fans. “I hope that was the show you wanted that you paid for.”
Nearly 30 Super Late Model racers timed in during qualifying in the late afternoon at South Boston with Nasse claiming the top honors. Cassius Clark, Rogers, Preston Peltier, Heath Hindman, Andy Loden, David Quackenbush, Jay Fogleman, Alex Fleming and Jody Lavender rounded out the top-10 qualifiers. After the redraw, Quackenbush and Lavender would start the event from the front row, followed by Loden, Peltier, Nasse, Fleming, Rogers, Hindman, Fogleman, Clark and the rest of the 28-car field.
Quackenbush got the better jump on the initial start of the race, taking the lead on lap one. Loden shot through to second with Nasse third. Lavender dropped back to fourth with Peltier fifth in the opening laps of the event.
The first yellow flag flew at lap 13 for debris on the track. On the restart, Quackenbush tried to hold off Loden, but the high side worked for Loden, snagging the lead. After a few laps, Nasse worked his way to second with Quackenbush to third. Peltier moved to fourth with Hindman in fifth.
The second yellow flag flew at lap 20 for Fleming going around in turn two. Loden, Nasse, Quackenbush, Peltier and Hindman were the top five at the yellow.
The outside line worked for Loden on the previous restart, and it worked for Nasse on the next restart as he took the lead with Peltier following through in second. The yellow flag would fly once again at lap 32 for a spin in turn two by Ricky Frenette. Nasse, Peltier, Rogers, Loden and Quackenbush were the top five at the third caution.
The top side was once again the line to be in as Peltier took the lead on the restart with Nasse dropping back to second, but the yellow flew once again on lap 34 for an incident that involved multiple drivers, including Jimmy Weller, Fleming, Frenette, Allen Karnes, Tim Pinion, John Batten, Tyler Young, Ryan Blaney and Trevor Edwards. The incident brought out the red flag to clean up the track.
On the restart, Nasse was to Peltier’s high side, and was able to take the lead back once again. Peltier dropped into second ahead of Rogers, Loden and Quackenbush. Just past lap 50, the top two remained the same with Loden moving to third, followed by Rogers and Hindman.
While Nasse was out to a comfortable lead, the battle for the second spot headed up around lap 85, when Loden and Clark moved in on Peltier. A very close race between the three was intense for a few laps, but on the back-end of the battle, Clark went to second with Loden third, Peltier fourth and Weller moving into fifth. At lap 100, Nasse still was the leader, but Clark worked his way to within a few car lengths of him in second.
The yellow flag flew once again at lap 104 for Peltier going around in turn four. Clark got the jump on the following restart with the outside line getting the advantage over the inside line being led by Nasse, but another yellow flag flew at lap 106 for a couple cars spinning in turns one and two. Clark, Rogers, Anderson, Nasse and Loden were the top five during the yellow.
Clark was able to hold the lead on the restart on the inside line with Rogers dropping in a close second. While the top-two drivers were out to a decent lead, Loden, who was in fifth on the restart, used the high side to work his way to fourth, and then to third. Anderson went to fourth with Fogleman, who appeared to lose his power steering, in fifth.
After another caution at lap 119 for a few cars getting together in turn one, Rogers powered to the lead on the restart with Clark hanging on the low side, looking to recapture the top spot. The two raced side by side for multiple laps before Clark dropped back to fourth after slight contact between the two. That moved Loden to second, Nasse to third, Clark to fourth and Anderson to fifth with just 20 laps to go as the caution fell on the field for a spin in turn three by Quackenbush.
Loden went to the lead on the outside with Rogers in second on the following restart. Behind the leaders, another yellow flag flew on lap 134 as contact between Blaney and Anderson sent Anderson around in turns one and two. The yellow flag flew again one lap later on lap 135 for Hindman slamming the front stretch wall. Loden, Rogers, Nasse, Ward and Clark were the top five at the latest yellow.
Just before the restart, Nasse, from the third position, headed to the pits to be serviced from his crew. Meanwhile, Loden got the lead on the restart, but Rogers tried hard to get the lead back. Lavender moved up to third with Clark in fourth and Anderson fifth as Ward also slowed on the restart.
With 10 laps to go, Rogers and Loden raced hard side by side for the lead with Rogers getting out front. Driving out to a decent lead in the closing laps, Rogers took the checkered flag first.
“That was kind of an odd race the way it played out there,” said Rogers in victory lane. “At the drop of the green flag, I couldn’t believe how much everyone was riding. I know you have to save your rear tires in this series, but I thought my goose was cooked racing with “high-side Loden,” who normally doesn’t show up until the end of these things. He showed he had a strong car early tonight and backed off to save his stuff. I paced myself off how Andy was running. When I felt I was hurting my rear tires a little too much I backed off.
“The high side was where we needed to be on these restarts. Andy was doing what he needed to do to get another victory. That was really fun racing door to door with him as hard as we could.”
Rogers’ first PASS victory was also his first of his 2011 racing season.
“This was real important for me to come and win this race. Last week I had an opportunity to win at Concord in the Pro Cup Series, and my brother of all people outran me in that race with 20 to go. It has been a long time since I have had a season without a “W” in the win column statistically, and I was worried that this year would slip by. I can’t thank Robby and Robert Hamke enough.”
Loden, who went to victory lane earlier this year at South Boston Speedway, came up one position short of the SoBo sweep.
“It was a good run for us,” explained Loden. “Clay just ran a good race and got us there at the end. I thought when we got in front of him we might have had it, but he came on by and was hooked up at the end. Our cross-member was bottoming out, so we will get that fixed and go back to Ace Speedway. I am glad we picked up some points.”
During Friday’s practice, Lavender had trouble with his car, forcing the crew to haul it back to the shop, get it fixed, and return on race day. That dedication earned him a third-place finish during the race.
“I fell back some (at the beginning) so I would have a little bit of tires at the end, but later on when I tried to go, I didn’t have much,” said Lavender. “We got some lucky breaks and came into the pits to work on it. We were good at the end when we needed to be. Obviously when you come here you want to win, but with the trials and tribulations we had the last couple of days, I am glad to get a good finish.”
Clark and Anderson rounded out the top five.
The PASS South Super Late Model Series will take be back in action at Ace Speedway (NC) on Saturday, September 3rd. For more information on the Pro All Stars Series, go to www.proallstarsseries.com.
Unofficial Results: “PASS 150 Presented by Gazette Virginian”
1) #74 Clay Rogers
2) #29 Andy Loden
3) #115 Jody Lavender
4) #8 Cassius Clark
5) #19 Jordan Anderson
6) #98 Justin Wakefield
7) #10 Ryan Blaney
8) #17A Scott Alexander
9) #91q David Quackenbush
10) #4 Jay Fogleman
11) #51 Stephen Nasse
12) #20 Steven Legendre
13) #62 Brandon Ward
14) #91 Heath Hindman
15) #2 Gray Gaulding
16) #101 Trevor Edwards
17) #23 Jimmy Weller
18) #29 Landon Cling
19) #26 Preston Peltier
20) #30 Ricky Frenette
21) #1 Justin Allison
22) #42 Tim Pinion
23) #18 Bradley McCaskill
24) #48 John Batten
25) #05 Alex Fleming
26) #29 Allen Karnes
27) #15 Tyler Young
28) #49 Scott Saunders