CHARLOTTE, NC – Top short track racers from across the country are making their way south as they prepare for this weekend’s Mason-Dixon Meltdown 200 at the legendary Hickory Motor Speedway. This Saturday’s 200 lapper at Hickory also doubles as the 2015 season finale for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model division. The South’s longest running and most prestigious short track championship will be decided between points leader Tate Fogleman and challengers Zane Smith, Matt Craig, and Jody Measamer.
Although not in reach of the championship, Nashville, NC’s Jeff Batten is on the verge of completing his strongest season yet in PASS South Super Late Model racing. In only his second season racing Super Late Models, Batten sits fifth in points. But, that was a goal he and his team really did not fill was attainable this year.
“It’s awesome that we’re in the top five in points right now, but we really hadn’t been points racing due to me missing a couple of races because of my work schedule,” said Batten, driver of the Batten Ceramic Tile/Digital Repair/Hutson Insurance Chevrolet #49. “Hopefully we can get out of Hickory with a top five and end the season on a good note and carry some momentum to the offseason.”
Following in the footsteps of his Uncle John, himself a longtime PASS South competitor and former track champion at Kenly, NC, Jeff Batten struggled at the start of the 2015 season. But, an uptick in performance late in the year has Batten optimistic for a good finish in the Mason-Dixon Meltdown.
“Hickory is a good track for us,” said Batten. “We always seem to have good speed, but we just don’t have the finishes to show for it. Hopefully we’ve got that turned around this weekend and we get the finish we need, to show for the speed we’ve had lately.”
Another driver hoping to make his mark in PASS Super Late Model racing is Texas newcomer Derek Scott, Jr. Scott was the fastest qualifier for the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway in April. After starting 7th, Scott quickly made his way into the lead on lap 17, before eventually fading to a ninth place finish due to mechanical problems.
“Experience is the key to a good quality race and we got that at Hickory this Spring,” says Scott, driver of the Derek Scott’s Auto Park Chevrolet #01. “The transmission had issues and we lost power steering in the last 30 laps at Hickory in April. So we’re definitely looking forward to getting back there this weekend.”
In addition to Batten, Scott, and the PASS South championship contenders a great group of drivers have pre-entered for this weekend’s Mason-Dixon Meltdown at Hickory. Former 3-Time PASS National Champion and former Mason-Dixon Meltdown winner, Ben Rowe, will be joined by his father and newly crowned PASS North Champion, Mike Rowe, in team cars out of the Richard Moody Racing stables. Georgia’s Kyle McCallum and Maine’s Trevor Sanborn will be teammates for the Woodman Racing team, who will also be supporting the efforts of Rhode Island’s, Kyle Desouza. Vinnie Miller will be driving a team car to that of championship contender Zane Smith for Crooks Racing, while Northwest legend Garrett Evans will be making his first ever start at Hickory. Two drivers with a lot of laps at Hickory, Jimmy Doyle and Brandon Setzer, will be back looking for their first PASS South wins, along with rookie Walker Yates and veterans Clay Rogers and Brandon Ward. And, Connecticut’s John-Michael Shenette and Maine’s Mike Hopins will be making their first trips to North Carolina to attempt their first PASS South start.
Action begins on Friday, November 20 at Hickory Motor Speedway with open practice for all divisions from 2-5 PM. On Saturday, November 21, practice will begin at 11 AM with qualifying starting at 1:30 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, PASS Pro Late Models, USAC Eastern Midgets, and Legends Cars, and feature racing at 3 PM.
Entry forms and the complete weekend schedule for this weekend’s Mason-Dixon Meltdown at Hickory Motor Speedway can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
-Pro All Stars Series Press Release & Photo