CHARLOTTE, NC – Some of the biggest names in short track racing from across North America are heading to Anderson Motor Speedway for this weekend’s inaugural Peach Blossom Special. The 4/10 mile oval in South Carolina’s Upstate will be hosting the first race of the 2015 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model National Championship. The PASS National Championship is Super Late Model racing’s only true national title and has been one by such short track luminaries as Cassius Clark, Ben Rowe, Preston Peltier, and Jay Fogleman.
But Anderson Motor Speedway presents no easy task for Super Late Model racing’s top talent. The worn surface, coupled with Saturday afternoon’s warm temperatures, will put communication between driver and crew at a premium as they search for grip over the course of the 125 lap race. Local favorite Randy Gentry has competed at Anderson over the years and knows the winner of the Peach Blossom Special could have their work cut out for them.
“Anderson’s asphalt has a little age on it and it’s a little rough, but that makes for good racing,” said Gentry, driver of the DMR Motorsports/Gentry Brothers Service/FG Express #09. “It has a tight corner in turns 1 and 2 and it’s easy to gas up and get into the outside wall. In turns 3 and 4 you can be a little more aggressive.”
Gentry was a top competitor in the old All Pro Series and has been a factor in numerous PASS South Super Late Model races in recent years. But perhaps Gentry had his best shot at a PASS victory in last year’s season opener, just down the road from Anderson, at the historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Gentry took the lead late in the race from Garrett Campbell only to have a caution come out with 12 laps to go, allowing Daniel Hemric to close in from behind and eventually wrestle the lead, and the win, away from him.
“I’ve thought a lot about where I need to be better and we focused on that last year,” says Gentry. “We only raced five times last year and led in three of the races. They changed the left side tire compound and added more rubber so the tires are lasting longer. I’m looking forward to the race. We tested a whole day at Anderson last year, so hopefully we can unload real fast and go from there.”
Gentry is from the Upstate of South Carolina, residing near Anderson Motor Speedway in Easley. He is well aware of the tradition of stock car racing in the area. A tradition that has produced greats like 1976 Oxford 250 winner, Butch Lindley. And Gentry also knows that a lot of passionate fans will be at Anderson Motor Speedway this weekend as they kick off the season with the Peach Blossom Special.
“I would say that there are so many people in this area that have been brought up around these race tracks and there’s so much history, people tend to go year after year because it’s just a part of who they are,” said Gentry.
Several PASS Northern competitors are making the trek to Anderson Motor Speedway including 3-time PASS National Champion, Ben Rowe, last year’s PASS AIM Recycling Super Late Model Champion, DJ Shaw, PASS AIM Recycling Super Late Model regular, Joey Doiron, and Eric St. Gelais, who is making a 21 hour trip from Quebec to race in the Peach Blossom Special . PASS South championship hopefuls Zane Smith, Jody Measamer, Tate Fogleman, and Jimmy Doyle will also be looking to take home the title of Peach Blossom Special winner. Those veterans will be joined by PASS South rookies Lucas Jones and Walker Yates in seeking a victory on Saturday.
Action begins on Friday, March 20 with optional practice starting at 3 PM for the PASS Super Late Model, PASS Pro Late Models, USAC Eastern Midgets, Front Wheel Drives, and Legends cars. On Saturday, March 21 pit gates open at Anderson Motor Speedway at 10 AM with rotating practice starting at Noon, followed by qualifying at 3:30 PM, and feature racing at 5 PM for the PASS Super Late Models, PASS Pro Late Models, USAC Eastern Midgets, Front Wheel Drives, and Legends. Please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com for entry forms and the complete weekend schedule.
-Pro All Stars Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com