CHARLOTTE, NC – With Speedweeks 2015 concluding at Daytona International Speedway, race fans and pundits are now reflecting on what this year’s action might tell us about the new season. Upon observation, several Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model graduates had a successful start. 2011 PASS South Super Late Model rookie, Ryan Reed, shocked the racing fraternity by capturing his first Xfinity Series win with a last lap pass of former PASS South car owner Brad Keselowski.
But, looking even closer, one notices that the 10th Annual South Carolina Clash coming up on March 7 at Dillon Motor Speedway could produce a future Daytona storyline. As a matter of fact, four of the last five South Carolina Clash winners made their debuts in various series at Daytona.
Former PASS South Super Late Model Champion Ryan Blaney made his first start in the Daytona 500 this past weekend, driving the iconic #21 for the Wood Brothers. Blaney had a strong showing, running in the lead draft late in the race before being sidelined by an engine failure.
Blaney is the only two-time winner of the South Carolina Clash at Dillon, taking the checkered flag in 2010 and 2011. In fact his win in 2010 at Dillon Motor Speedway, was his first of five career PASS South Super Late Model triumphs.
Maine’s Austin Theriault actually took over the #29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford in the Truck Series upon Blaney’s move up to the Cup Series in 2015. In his first ever Truck Series start at Daytona, Theriault finished fourth in a four-wide photo finish at the line, after helping teammate Tyler Reddick to the win.
This was not Theriault’s first time crossing the line in a photo finish though. In the 2013 South Carolina Clash, Theriault took advantage of race leader Preston Peltier as he slowed for the lapped car of John Hunter Nemecheck entering turn three, to take the win in the closest finish in PASS South Super Late Model history. Not only has Theriault tasted success in PASS South, but he is also a former PASS North Super Late Model winner, winning at Oxford Plains Speedway in 2012 and at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway the following year.
And finally, last year’s South Carolina Clash winner, Daniel Hemric, was able to get his first experience at Daytona International Speedway. To start Speedweeks, Hemric hit the high banks for the first time with the ARCA series, getting valuable experience in the draft and finishing a very impressive 12th.
Then, Hemric joined the NTS Motorsports team for their first race together as they go for the Truck Series championship. Again, Hemric accounted himself well, running near the front, before being collected in a multi-truck accident not of his own making.
While Daytona International Speedway and Dillon Motor Speedway have little more in common than that they are both asphalt and are both located off Interstate 95, there is little denying that success at the South Carolina short track could someday lead to big things on stock car racing’s biggest stage.
The 2015 season will begin on Saturday, March 7 with the 10th Annual South Carolina Clash at Dillon Motor Speedway with rotating practice starting at Noon, followed by qualifying at 3:30 PM, and feature racing at 5 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, PASS Pro Late Models, Challengers/Chargers, and Legends. Please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com for entry forms and the complete weekend schedule.
-PASS South Press Release. Photo credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images