CHARLOTTE, NC — For race enthusiasts across the country, Memorial Day weekend is always anticipated and this year will be not be any different. Once again, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models will kickoff the weekend in the hotbed of stock car racing with the Old Glory 125 on Friday night at Concord Speedway. And, for the third year in a row, they will be joined by the Mid-Atlantic Street Stocks in a 50 lapper, just miles down the road from the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The South’s original Super Late Model tour will be led to Friday night’s Old Glory 125 by two teenagers growing up in the same small town that the legendary Dale Earnhardt called home. Kannapolis, NC is just a few minutes from Concord Speedway and is also the home to up and coming teenagers, Matt Craig and Kodie Conner. Last year, in the season finale at Concord in November, Craig and Conner battled for the championship, with Craig just coming out on top by 12 points.
Craig began his racing career across the street from the Concord Speedway half-mile on the quarter-mile track, competing in Legends cars. The family-owned C&C Boilers #54 has a long and storied history at Concord Speedway, piloted by drivers like Rodney Childers, Clay Rogers, and Jeff Fultz to victory lane throughout the years. Craig comes to Concord as one of the hottest drivers in the country, once again leading the PASS South standings on the strength of wins at Orange County and Caraway.
“We won the championship there last year and Concord is always fun because family and friends come out and watch us,” says Craig. “It’s a tough track, really tricky, but each race we go there we get a little bit better. It’s been really tough for us to find our groove there, but I think we’ve got something figured out for this weekend and we should be pretty good.”
After finishing as the runner-up for the PASS South championship last year in his rookie season, Kodie Conner comes into Friday night’s race fourth in points, with a best finish of third last time out at Caraway. Like Craig, Conner began his racing career on the quarter-mile at Concord Speedway, racing and winning in Quarter Midgets and Bandoleros. Conner took the checkered flag in the Pro Late Model division in 2015 at Concord and hopes that will translate into his first PASS South victory on Friday night.
“I know when I raced Bandoleros, I always looked over to the half-mile, the dogleg was intimidating to me, and when I got to go there and win in the Pro Late Model, it definitely boosted my confidence every time we go back there,” says Conner, driver of the Champion Spark Plugs/CRC Brakleen Toyota #45. “It’s a nice racetrack, very fast, close competition and I’m excited to go back. Every time I’ve been there something a little different always happens. The dogleg is one of my best corners, but I need to work on the other ends and hopefully we can get a win.”
Among the pre-entries, Craig and Conner will be joined by fellow championship contenders Tanner Thorson, Tate Fogleman, Dave Farrington, Jr., and Sarah Cornett-Ching. Defending Derby winner Christian Eckes will be back as he seeks his first PASS South series win, along with top rookie, Roy Hayes III, and veteran Bradley McCaskill. Defending Concord winner, Ryan Moore, returns as he looks to turn his season around and will be joined by the winner of the PASS season opener at Dillon, Jared Irvan.
All the action gets under way on Thursday at Concord Speedway with open practice for all competing divisions from 5 – 7:15 PM. On Friday, practice will begin at 4 PM with qualifying starting at 6 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models and MASS Street Stocks, followed by the pit party at 7 PM and main events scheduled to start at approximately 7:30 PM.
PASS Super Late Model entry forms for Concord Speedway, Thunder Road International Speedbowl, and Speedway 600 and the complete weekend schedules, along with entry forms for Speedway 95, Lee USA Speedway, the Oxford 250, and the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 300 can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
-Pro All Stars Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: PASS