PASS Squads Preparing For Caraway
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As teams from up and down the East Coast make their way to North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway for the 10th Annual North South Shootout this weekend, the points battles for both the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South and National Championships could not get much tighter.
After winning the Labor Day Classic at Caraway in September, PASS South points leader Kyle Grissom held a commanding lead and appeared to be cruising to his first series championship.
But a relatively quiet fifth place finish for Grissom at Hickory Motor Speedway, coupled with a disappointing 20th place finish in the All American 400 at Nashville, have brought the top four in PASS South points to within 24 points of one another.
Preston Peltier sits second in PASS South points 18 points behind Grissom thanks in large part to his second win of the season at Hickory in the Over The Mountain 150. But, Peltier failed to further capitalize on Grissom’s problems at Nashville after a cut tire relegated him to a 16th place finish.
One of the biggest surprises this year has been the performance of third place points man Brandon Ward. Along with his New Day Motorsports team, Ward racked up their first two PASS South wins at Wake County Speedway and Anderson Motor Speedway and even led the points through the middle of the season.
Lackluster runs looked to have dropped Ward out of serious contention for the title, but an eighth place finish at the All American 400 has the #62 back in the fold, just 22 points behind Grissom.
Once again, as it has been since he joined the series as a full-time competitor in 2009, Jay Fogleman finds himself in the middle of the championship fight. Fogleman ended a long winless streak this summer at Motor Mile Speedway and a strong second place finish at Caraway in September has him excited to close the gap in the standings.
But, for Fogleman, Caraway is doubly important since it serves as a PASS South and PASS National point race. In addition to being fourth in PASS South points, Fogleman sits just 15 points behind PASS National points leader Ben Rowe and a good run in the North South Shootout will be crucial to his title hopes.
Maine’s Ben Rowe comes to Caraway looking for an unprecedented third PASS National crown. Although this will be the former four-time PASS North Champion’s first trip to Caraway, he probably will not be at a disadvantage.
Of his seven career PASS South wins, three have come on Rowe’s first trip to those speedways. Canadian Matt Matheson sits fourth in PASS National points and joins Rowe in the long trek down South for this year’s North South Shootout.
In addition to the championship contenders, an impressive group of racers have already pre-entered for PASS South’s inaugural race as part of the North South Shootout. Ross Kenseth looks to continue his Fall hot streak which includes a win the All American 400.
Brad Keselowski Racing teammates Landon Cling and Nate Caruth have had a solid 2012 season and hope to bounce back after rough stretch in September and October. Youngsters Gray Gaulding, Scott Hensley and Jared Irvan have filed entries along with seasoned veterans like Jimmy Doyle, Bill Catania, Jody Measamer and Kevin Powell.