The Pro All-Stars Series kicks off its southern division schedule at the historic South Carolina oval of Greenville-Pickens Speedway this weekend. With the new season ready to get under way, it’s time to take a look at everything newsworthy that has gone down since the calendar flipped to 2016.
A Champion Returns to Fight for His Crown
Two-time PASS National Champion and 2013 PASS South champion Jay Fogleman is returning to PASS competition, beginning this weekend at Greenville. Fogleman is expected to compete in the six PASS National points races, including the 43rd Annual Oxford 250 in August. Fogleman took a break from his own racing career to help further the career of his son, Tate. That turned out to be a great decision as Tate went on to win the 2015 PASS South championship.
Five drivers are set to run full-time in PASS South competition this year, including the 2015 PASS Pro Late Model champion, Kodie Connor. Connor will be joined by Rhode Island native Kyle Desouza, Vinnie Miller, Joey Padgett and Zachary Dabbs as they all bid for the PASS South championship beginning with the Winter Meltdown this weekend at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
A Northern Invasion Descends Upon Greenville
Twenty-six drivers are entered for the PASS South season-opener at Greenville-Pickens this weekend. Of those 26, nine of them are from the Northeastern part of North America. Eight drivers, including Desouza, Ben Rowe, Derek Ramstrom, Joey Doiron, Kaz Grala, Mike Hopkins, Matt Matheson and Travis Stearns will all be making the trip south from New England. Eric St. Gelais and John-Micheal Shenette will travel even farther as they’re coming down from the Great White North of Canada.
Evans Racking Up the Frequent-Flyer Miles
While a trip to South Carolina from New England or Canada may be a long trip for many, that’s nothing compared to what Garrett Evans has ahead of him. Evans hails from Ardenvoir, Washington in the Pacific Northwest. Evans will be travelling from his home in Washington down to Greenville, South Carolina for this weekend’s Winter Meltdown, then back home to Washington, and then south to Kern County Raceway for the SRL Winter Showdown in California. Between the two races, Evans is set to travel more than 9,500 miles in February.
Bell, KBM Seeking Redemption
Since December things have been a bit topsy-turvy for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Two disqualifications at the Snowball Derby (including Christopher Bell having the win taken away) and a crew chief change have been the newsworthy moments of the last two months for the KBM Super Late Model program. Now Bell and the team head to Greenville seeking a bit of redemption. KBM had a strong showing at SpeedFest with William Byron, and are looking to follow that up with a win with Bell back behind the wheel of a Super Late Model for the first time since the Derby.
Cornett-Ching to Make PASS South Debut at Greenville
Sarah Cornett-Ching is about to embark on her first season with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, but when she is able to, she reportedly plans to race in several PASS South events, the first of which is this weekend at the Winter Meltdown. Cornett-Ching scored five top-10 finishes in the ARCA Racing Series in 2015 with a best finish of eighth (twice) at Talladega Superspeedway and Chicagoland Speedway.
Doiron Set to Begin National Title Defense
Joey Dorion of Berwick, Maine will begin his defense of the PASS National title at Greenville Pickens this upcoming weekend at the Winter Meltdown. This year’s national schedule includes the Winter Meltdown, Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory (NC), Icebreaker at Thompson (CT), Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains (ME), PASS 300 at Beech Ridge (ME) and the North South Shootout at Concord (NC).
Diverse Schedule, New Track Slated for 2016
Over the course of the 2016 PASS South season, teams will visit a total of eight track for 15 different events. The series will make its inaugural appearance at East Carolina Motor Speedway (NC) on July 30. PASS South will also make two stops at South Boston Speedway (VA), three visits at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and three stops at Concord Speedway (NC). Caraway Speedway, Anderson Motor Speedway, Dillon Motor Speedway and Greenville Pickens will also host events this upcoming season.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com