CHARLOTTE, NC — As the weather cools and the seasons change, another Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model season will go into the books this weekend at Concord Speedway. This year two great events will come together as the PASS Super Late Models will compete for 125 laps in the Mason-Dixon Meltdown as part of the 14th Annual North-South Shootout. In addition, both the PASS National Championship and PASS South Super Late Model titles will be decided on Saturday afternoon in the Meltdown.
Since 2008, the PASS National Championship has become Super Late Model racing’s only true undisputed national title. Coming into this weekend’s action, Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe will be seeking an unprecedented fourth PASS National Championship crown. In his first start at Concord Speedway in 2007, Rowe edged out Corey Williams to take the win in the second ever running of the Mason-Dixon Meltdown. While Rowe enjoys a fairly healthy 72-point advantage, New Hampshire’s Jeremy Davis will be making his first trip down to Concord Speedway in hopes of upsetting Rowe for the national championship.
The race for the PASS South Super Late Model title, however, is much closer. Kodie Conner and Matt Craig are separated by only four points entering Saturday’s 125-lapper and there are plenty of ironies that surround the two drivers. In addition to both being teenagers, each are from nearby Kannapolis and both started racing across the street from the Concord Speedway half-mile at the facility’s quarter-mile track; Conner in Bandoleros and Craig in Legends cars. When either driver wins the championship this weekend, they will join Alex Haase, Ryan Blaney, and Tate Fogleman as teens that have been able to claim the South’s oldest Super Late Model title.
Conner comes into this weekend’s Mason-Dixon Meltdown finale as the unlikely points leader, considering that this is his rookie season competing in PASS Super Late Models. But, a strong runner-up finish early in the season at Dillon Motor Speedway and his first start in the prestigious Oxford 250 have shown that Conner has what it takes to compete alongside short track racing’s best.
“I know going into the Meltdown at Concord, it’s going to be tough, but to be competing for the championship and having a four point lead does help,” says Conner, driver of the Champion Spark Plugs/Trump For President Toyota #45. “It’s been a great year, we became teammates with Matt Craig, so a battle among friends will determine the champion.”
Likewise, Craig has had a breakout season that has seen him emerge as one of the top Super Late Model racers in the country. Like Conner, things started quickly for Craig, charging back from an electrical problem to capture his first career PASS South Super Late Model win in April at Caraway Speedway. Craig led the points at times during the summer and just missed out on more checkered flags at Anderson Motor Speedway and Hickory Motor Speedway. Craig returns to Concord Speedway on Saturday driving for his family-owned team. The same team that drivers such as Clay Rogers, Rodney Childers, and Jeff Fultz have driven to victory lane at Concord in the past.
“I really hope we can pull it off this weekend and win the championship,” says Craig, who drives the C&C Boilers Sales & Service #54 Chevrolet. “I think the best thing for me this week is to go through my regular routine, try not to think about it all week, and be ready to go on Saturday at Concord.”
While the championship leaders will be fighting for the titles, drivers from across North America will be looking to get to victory lane on Saturday. Trevor Sanborn will make the trip down from Maine driving the potent Woodman Racing #4, while fellow Mainer Dave Farrington, Jr. will be making his first trip to compete in the south. JP Josiasse once again makes the 20-plus hour trip from Ontario, while on the other end of the spectrum, Dustin Dunn heads up from Florida for his second PASS South start, as well as Terry Horak. Georgia’s Spencer Davis returns to PASS for the first time this season, and will be joined by Oklahoma’s Tanner Berryhill and New York’s Christian Eckes. Local favorites looking to go to victory lane will be Jared Irvan, Wes Burton, and Jake Spillers.
All the action gets under way on Thursday at Concord Speedway with an optional practice for all divisions from Noon – 6 PM. On Friday, practice begins at 10 AM, with qualifying at 5 PM, and features for the Vintage Modifieds, Street Stocks, Vintage Sportsman, and Mini Stock starting around 6:30 PM. Then, on Saturday, practice starts at 9 AM, followed by the Pit Party at 12:30 PM, and main events going green at 2 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, Tour-type Modifieds, Limited Late Models, SK Modifieds and Vintage Cars.
PASS Super Late Model entry forms and the complete weekend schedules for this weekend’s events at Concord Speedway can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
-Pro All Stars Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: PASS