Daniel Hemric came back from nearly a lap down and benefitted from a late caution to take the lead from Randy Gentry with 10 laps to go and win the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model season opener Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Hemric’s win in the Fox Carolina 150 was his third career PASS South Super Late Model triumph and his second behind the wheel of car owner Dickie Woodman’s Ford.
“The plan was to just stay in front of the leaders and stay on the lead lap,” said Hemric in victory lane. “I thought I had saved enough and I told them I could go, but I couldn’t have caught them if I didn’t have a caution. We knew if we could get to lap 130 and have a shot that we thought we had the best car here.”
2013 PASS North Super Late Model Champion paced the 33 car field in qualifying with a lap of 89.597 miles per hour around the flat half mile for his third career fast qualifying time in PASS South. Clark would be relegated to the fifth starting position after the top 10 redraw while Garrett Campbell and Randy Gentry would move up to the front row.
At the drop of the green flag for the Fox Carolina 150, Campbell and Gentry quickly distanced themselves from the star studded field of PASS Super Late Model drivers. While they were racing hard up front, the rest of the field deployed various strategies with the hopes of positioning themselves for a late race run for the victory. 2013 PASS North runner-up Joey Doiron started 17th, but was in the top 10 by lap seven and in the top five by lap 36. However, with just past a third of the race behind him, Doiron started to fade and would eventually fall from the race and finish 26th.
Several other drivers, including Hemric, Tyler Church, Cameron Hayley, Preston Peltier, and Kyle Benjamin, deployed a different strategy which saw them fall out of the top 20 early on. While Peltier and Benjamin struggled to get on track, Hemric and the others raced just in front of the leader Campbell, barely staying on the lead lap. But, despite being nearly a lap down, Hemric and Hayley slowly began to power away from the leaders with both breaking in to the top five with less than 30 laps to go.
Working a slew of heavy lapped traffic late in the race, Gentry closed in on Campbell for the lead. Using the slower machines of Peltier and Russell Fleeman as a pick, Gentry powered by Campbell to take the lead on the front straightaway with 23 laps to go.
As Gentry began to stretch his advantage up front over Campbell, Tim Pinion spun in turn four with 13 laps to go to bring out the Fox Carolina 150’s lone caution, erasing the leaders’ huge advantage over the rest of the field. On the restart, Gentry and Campbell led, but it was clear Hemric and Hayley had something left in reserve. Hemric moved by Gentry for the lead with 10 laps to go and Hayley followed by just a few laps later. Hemric sped to the checkers to take the win in the first PASS National Championship Series race of 2014 over Hayley, Gentry, Ben Rowe and Campbell. Rounding out the top ten were Jared Irvan, Church, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Timm, and Ted Mickelson.
Walker Yates came back from an early race spin to take his first career PASS Pro Late Model win. The first incident of the race occurred on lap nine when Kerry Lawrence spun on the front straightaway after contact from Anthony Anders. Just four laps later, Yates was spun from the lead by Kodie Conner in turn three resulting in both cars going to the tail of the field. The hardest crash of the night occurred on lap 15 when Anders and rookie Lucas Jones made contact while battling for the lead sending Jones hard into the inside wall on the backstretch. Yates and Conner cycled back around to the front with Conner taking the lead with 11 laps to go. Conner’s time up front was short-lived though as he went to the pits with a transmission leak handing the lead and eventual victory to Yates. Rounding out the top five were Lawrence, Nick Robinson, Jacob Schneider, and Matt Murphy.
Randy Porter took the Southeast Super Truck victory over fellow Greenville-Pickens Speedway veteran Kenneth Headen, Tim Lollis, Jamie Tate, and Wally Fowler.
The PASS South Super Late Models and PASS Pro Late Models will be in action once again this Saturday night March 8 at Dillon Motor Speedway for the 9th Annual South Carolina Clash. Allison Legacy and 4-Cylinder Mayhem will also be in competition. Qualifying starts at 4 PM with racing at 6 PM.