EASLEY, SC – Daniel Hemric made what has become an almost characteristic late race surge to pass rookie Harrison Burton with four laps to go and claim the win in the 8th running of the Firecracker 125 Thursday night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Hemric’s sixth career Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model win was tempered, however, when a car he owned, driven by Denver Foran stopped on the track to bring out a caution with 22 laps to go. PASS officials deemed that Foran intentionally stopped on the speedway to bring out the caution. Foran has been suspended indefinitely by PASS for attempting to manipulate the outcome of the race and Hemric has been fined and placed on probation for the remainder of the season.
“Hats off to Carswell Motorsports, to do this four times this year is just unbelievable for me and the whole team,” said Hemric, after sweeping both PASS events at Greenville-Pickens Speedway this year. “We get so strung out here and I was hoping we would be 9th or 10th when that last caution came out with 25 laps to go. When they said we were 18th I got a little worried, but everything worked out.”
On a sweltering afternoon, an outstanding field of 32 PASS South Super Late Models assembled for practice and qualifying. In time trials, Hemric paced the field for the second time in his career with a lap of 87.434 miles per hour around the flat half-mile speedway. Following the top 10 qualifiers redraw, Hemric would slide back to the eighth starting position while Vermont’s Steve Legendre and Harrison Burton would move to the front row for the start.
Legendre quickly jumped into the lead with his Haas Automation Chevrolet. Following a couple of minor cautions early on, Legendre continued to lead as those behind him tried to figure out the winning strategy for the Firecracker 125. Hometown favorite Randy Gentry quickly advanced from his ninth starting position, passing Jared Irvan for third on lap 20. Just three laps later, Gentry moved around Legendre on the outside to take the lead.
While Gentry and others were charging, Hemric quickly dropped to the rear of the pack falling as far back as 24th in the 30 car starting field. But, just as he did at Greenville in March, Hemric maintained at least a 10 car length buffer between himself and the leaders as they closed in to lap him.
Meanwhile, Gentry’s strategy began to backfire as he lost the lead to Preston Peltier on lap 36. Gentry continued to drop back and would eventually finish 21st. Peltier led the field in his new Hamke Dodge Challenger through the middle stages of the Firecracker 125, but would surrender the lead to Burton on lap 73. Another driver on the move at this point was Central, SC driver Eric Stokes. Stokes had one of the fastest cars on the track moving from the 23rd starting position into the top five by lap 79.
After a nearly 100 lap green flag run, the third caution of the night waved on lap 102 when Foran stopped in turn three. On the ensuing restart, both Tyler Church and Stokes were slow to come up to speed from the second row. Struggling with alternator problems, Stokes spun in turn two to quickly bring out the fourth caution of the race. Church continued on, but would limp home with clutch issues to an 11th place finish.
When the race went back to green, Burton led Peltier and began to stretch his advantage over the field, while at the same time, Hemric was charging into the top five. With five laps to go, Spencer Wauters top 10 run came to an end when he spun in turn two. At this point, Hemric had made his way up to second.
On the next restart, Peltier, who had been dropping back just a bit, spun in turn two with brake problems and collected Wauters, Gentry, Ted Mickelson, Tate Fogleman, and others.
As the field went back to green, Hemric got the best of Burton entering turn one to take the lead with three laps to go. Hemric maintained a five-car length advantage over Burton to become the first driver since Alex Haase in 2008 to sweep both PASS events at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Following Hemric and Burton to the checkered flag were Brandon Setzer, Tyler Dippel, and Irvan. Rounding out the top ten were Jeff Fultz, Brandon Ward, Joey Doiron, Zane Smith, and Joe Ryan Osborne.
Kodie Conner passed Nick Robinson on lap 8 and led the rest of the way for his second PASS Pro Late Model win of the season. Rounding out the top five were Zachary Dabbs, Lucas Jones, and Walker Yates.
Randy Porter survived late race contact with Kenneth Headen to win the 75 lap Southeast Super Truck Series event over Lee Tissot and Cole Glasson.
The PASS South Super Late Models and PASS Pro Late Models will be in action again on Saturday, July 12, at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, NC along with the USAC HPD Midgets. For entry forms and more information, please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com.
PASS South Super Late Model – Firecracker 125 – Unofficial Results
- 98 – Daniel Hemric 125 16. 7k – Ted Mickelson 124
- 12 – Harrison Burton 125 17. 2 – Trevor Noles 123
- 6 – Brandon Setzer 125 18. 54x – Denver Foran 123
- 1 – Tyler Dippel 125 19. 154 – Matt Craig 122
- 28 – Jared Irvan 125 20. 74 – Preston Peltier 120
- 54 – Jeff Fultz 125 21. 09 – Randy Gentry 120
- 62 – Brandon Ward 125 22. 8f – Tate Fogleman 120
- 4 – Joey Doiron 125 23. 5w – Spencer Wauters 120
- 66 – Zane Smith 125 24. 5h – Brett Holmes 119
- 13 – Joe Ryan Osborne 125 25. 14 – Clete Caywood 115
- 7 – Tyler Church 125 26. 88 – Lee Tissot – 107
- 57 – Cole Timm 125 27. 8x – Eric Stokes 102
- 24 – Cassius Clark 125 28. 5g – Will Gallaher 43
- 5 – Steve Legendre 125 29. 12j – Trey Jarrell – 4
- 71 – Jimmy Doyle 124 30. 49 – Jeff Batten – 1
PASS Pro Late Models – 50 laps
- 45 – Kodie Conner
- 71 – Nick Robinson
- 23 – Zachary Dabbs
- 16 – Lucas Jones
- 02 – Walker Yates
- 7 – Matt Murphy
- 45x – Dakota Jackson
- 81 – Jacob Schneider
- 55 – Jared Smith
– PASS PR – Photo credit: Laura Ward – LWPictures.com