MIDLAND, NC – Dalton Sargeant held off Preston Peltier in a near photo finish to claim his first career Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model win Saturday afternoon in the Mason-Dixon Meltdown as part of the North-South Shootout at Concord Speedway. Maine’s Ben Rowe also celebrated his fourth career PASS National Championship, while Matt Craig edged out Kodie Conner for the PASS South Super Late Model title.
“First off, I really want to thank Preston [Peltier] for driving me as clean as he did, I really respect that,” said Sargeant in victory lane. “I think we had a little bit better drive off the corner than he did, but it’s just amazing to get this win as part of the PASS North-South Shootout. I’ve got to thank my guys for all the hard work they’ve put in all year long.”
In qualifying, Jared Irvan blistered the half-mile triangle for his fourth career PASS South quick qualifying lap with a time of 15.822 seconds (113.766 MPH). After the top 10 qualifiers redraw, Irvan would slot into the third starting position, while Clay Rogers and Sargeant would move up to the front row. PASS South points leader Kodie Conner would have an uphill slog racing for the championship as he would start 21st and second place points driver Matt Craig would start fifth. For Ben Rowe, he secured the PASS National Championship by merely starting the race.
Rogers led the field at the drop of the green flag, but was quickly overtaken by Irvan on lap five as they raced through the dogleg. The big mover early on was the winner at Concord in May, Ryan Moore. After starting 12th, Moore moved by Tate Fogleman for 10th on lap 15 and was making his way up towards the leaders.
The first caution of the afternoon waved on lap 34 for a solo spin by Terry Horak in turn three. Just two laps later, Horak would again spin, along with Ontario’s JP Josiasse, in turn three. Irvan continued to lead, now over Sargeant, who moved by Rogers for second. The caution would wave again on lap 50 for the third time during the race as Wes Burton spun down the frontstretch.
After struggling on several restarts due to a broken shifter, Peltier made his way up to third as Sargeant began closing in on Irvan for the lead. The final caution of the afternoon would wave with 45 laps to go when former Meltdown winner Trevor Noles spun in turn three.
On the restart, Sargeant got a slightly better start than Irvan and was able to use the advantage to take the lead. As Irvan continued to struggle with the handling on his Chevrolet, Peltier moved by to take second and set his sights on Sargeant for the lead with 30 laps to go. Both drivers masterfully worked through slower traffic, but Sargeant was able to maintain just a one car length advantage over Peltier.
Peltier made one final run at Sargeant on the last lap, but the Boca Raton, FL driver held the advantage at the finish for his first career PASS South Super Late Model win. Irvan finished third, with Moore in fourth and Rogers in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Craig, Josh Berry, Christian Eckes, Jake Crum, and Trey Jarrell.
With his sixth place finish, Craig was able to overtake Conner to become the PASS South Super Late Model titlist by just 12 points.
“All week I just put in my mind that it wasn’t a big deal, but every day I got more and more nervous and this morning was pretty rough,” said a relieved Craig afterward. “A lot of good guys have come through this series and a lot of the tracks are tough and prove yourself as a racer and I’m very proud to be the PASS South champion.”
For Rowe having only to start the race, his championship run might have been a bit anti-climactic. But for him and his team, a chance to call himself the nation’s only true national champion is an honor he truly relishes.
“You know we all start off the beginning of the year with the goal to be the PASS National Champion and luckily we were able to do it again this year,” said Rowe. “We really enjoy coming down to race with the southern guys, but we were just a little bit off today. My guys did a great job all year long and we’re looking forward to celebrating some more when we get back to Maine.”
While the 2016 season is in the books, next year is just around the corner. The first race for both the PASS National Championship and PASS South will be on Saturday, February 4, 2017, with return of the Winter Meltdown featuring the South Carolina Clash at Dillon Motor Speedway.
For the complete 2017 PASS South schedule and more information on any PASS division, please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com, follow us on Twitter at @PASSSLM14, or “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook.
PASS Super Late Model – Mason-Dixon Meltdown 125 – Unofficial Results
- 55 – Dalton Sargeant 125 14. 45 – Kodie Conner 125
- 33 – Preston Peltier 125 15. 4n – Ben Rowe 125
- 28x – Jared Irvan 125 16. 4s – Trevor Sanborn 124
- 74 – Ryan Moore 125 17. 27 – Lee Tissott 124
- 15x – Clay Rogers 125 18. 8f – Tate Fogleman 124
- 54 – Matt Craig 125 19. 16m – Vinnie Miller 124
- 25 – Josh Berry 125 20. 28 – Terry Horak 121
- 15 – Christian Eckes 125 21. 13 – Wes Burton 113
- 01 – Jake Crum 125 22. 29 – Spencer Davis 110
- 12 – Trey Jarrell 125 23. 76 – Jake Spillers 102
- 7 – Dave Farrington, Jr. 125 24. 22 – Trevor Noles 78
- 83 – Joey Padgett 125 25. 53 – Jerry White 77
- 09 – Jeremy Davis 125 26. 24j – JP Josiasse 53
27. 59 – Dustin Dunn 5
-PASS Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com