CHARLOTTE, NC — With just under two months left until the revitalized Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway, Pro All Star Series (PASS) Super Late Model teams from across the continent are already making preparations for the $15,000 to win event.
Over 20 teams have already entered for what many believe could be the biggest “new” event of the year. As they prepare, many questions loom as to what engine combination teams will utilize to tame Hickory’s tricky surface for 300 green flag laps. Both “built” and “crate” engines have found success at Hickory since PASS began racing there in 2006. Where the “builts” have a power advantage pumping out over 600 horsepower, the “crates” with less horsepower, also could have less tire wear proving critical to pit strategy late in the race.
Summerland, British Columbia’s Sarah Cornett-Ching has been successful in her rookie season racing PASS South Super Late Models, currently sitting sixth in the standings with three top ten finishes. And, those strong runs have all been while utilizing a “crate” motor.
“We have had success this year running ‘crates’ at the longer races where the ‘built’ motors start falling off the pace due to tire wear,” says Cornett-Ching. “I think a ‘crate’ can easily run in the top three with the tire management factor in such a long race at a rough abrasive track like Hickory.”
In the last four PASS Super Late Model races at Hickory, both engine combinations have found success and are evenly split in the win column. Maine’s Ben Rowe dominated the 2016 Easter Bunny 150 driving a ‘crate’ engine car and has frequently started outside the top 20 at Hickory, only to be a threat for the win late in the race. In the next race at Hickory in June, Georgia’s Chris Dilbeck took his first career PASS win driving a ‘crate,’ the combination he plans to utilize again in November. But, in the last two PASS races at Hickory, the ‘builts’ have proven to be the way to go with Tate Fogleman winning last September and Preston Peltier taking the win in the Easter Bunny 150 this year. Cornett-Ching thinks there are benefits to both engine combinations that should make the MegaMeltdown a race for the ages.
“We are working on our big motor program now, especially with how it ran last time out at South Boston,” said Cornett-Ching. “It’s all about how well your car is setup and how hard you have to drive to stay on the lead lap. Hopefully we will be there with those guys when we get to Hickory.”
A strong group of drivers have already pre-entered including former Hickory winners Ben Rowe, Tate Fogleman, Chris Dilbeck, and Brandon Setzer. Former PASS National Champions, Jay Fogleman and Cassius Clark are also entered along with current PASS North title chasers, Travis Benjamin and Glen Luce and PASS South championship contenders, Matt Craig, Kodie Conner, and Dave Farrington, Jr. Northwest legend Garrett Evans will make the trip from Washington state and will be joined by veterans Jody Measamer and Ontario’s JP Josiasse. New England will also be well represented by Trevor Sanborn, Derek Griffith, Derek Ramstrom, Travis Stearns, Dennis Spencer, Jr. and, from Nova Scotia, Cole Butcher.
All the action gets under way on Thursday, November 16 at Hickory Motor Speedway with hauler parking and optional practice. On Friday, November 17, pit gates open at 8 AM with practice with practice from 10 AM – 4 PM. On Saturday, November 18, pit gates will open at 7:30 PM, with qualifying at 11 AM, followed by last chance races and support divisions, and the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown at approximately 3 PM.
PASS Super Late Model entry forms for Oxford Plains Speedway and Orange County Speedway, along with entry forms for the 12th Annual Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300 can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
-Pro All Stars Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com