PASS Winter Meltdown Entries Flowing In
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Early entries are starting to flow in to the Naples, Maine, offices of the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) for the upcoming Florida Winter Meltdown on Feb. 7-8 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
PASS will help kick off Florida’s annual Speedweeks festivities at New Smyrna Speedway with the Winter Meltdown serving as the season opener for both the PASS South Super Late Models and PASS National Series.
The early entries are highlighted by champions from New England, the Southeast and the Midwest. Defending PASS North Super Late Model champion Cassius Clark of Farmington, Maine, was among the first to file an entry for this year’s 125 lap Winter Meltdown at New Smyrna. In addition to his PASS North title in 2013, Clark was the inaugural champion of the PASS National Series back in 2008. The Hight Motorsports No. 77 driven by Clark was not only consistent, but fast, winning two races en route to the championship last year and will no doubt give Northeastern fans something to cheer about in Florida.
Four-time PASS North Super Late Model champion Ben Rowe has a long history of making the trek down south from his home in Turner, Maine, and will do so again for the Winter Meltdown. PASS’s all-time winningest driver swept the 2009 titles in both PASS South and the PASS National Series and hopes to mount another title run at New Smyrna Speedway. He finished 14th after a late race incident in the first Winter Meltdown at New Smyrna in 2010. In addition to his PASS South championship, Rowe has been no stranger to victory lane on the southern tour, winning eight times, including two Mason Dixon Meltdown triumphs and a win in last year’s North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway.
A driver making his PASS Super Late Model debut at the Winter Meltdown will be West Virginia’s Travis Braden. Following a championship in the ARCA/CRA Super Series last year, Braden will bring his West Virginia University-sponsored machine to New Smyrna Speedway in his first test against the short track stars of PASS. Braden hopes a good finish in the Winter Meltdown could lead to more PASS starts in 2014.
Another early entrant and a new addition to the PASS South Super Late Model tour will be rookie Brandon Setzer. The Newton, N.C., driver hopes to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Dennis, and make his mark on the short tracks of the South this year. Brandon Setzer has had success in his own right with Late Model Super Truck wins at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and captured the Limited Late Model track championship in 2013 at Wake County Speedway. After a strong PASS South debut last year in the Over The Mountain 150 at Hickory, Setzer will be looking to start his first full PASS South season off right with a good run in his first ever visit to New Smyrna Speedway.
Veteran Brandon Ward has also filed an entry for the Winter Meltdown and hopes to put a frustrating 2013 behind him with a strong showing at the beach. Although he finished 10th in points, Ward had no wins and no top fives to show for his effort. This after a 2012 season which saw him capture two wins and establish himself as a championship contender. Ward returns to New Smyrna Speedway where he made one of his first starts with the New Day Motorsports team, finishing 19th in the Inaugural Winter Meltdown back in 2010.
Action gets under way on Friday, Feb. 7 at New Smyrna Speedway with practice for all divisions from 1:30-5 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 8, pit gates will open at 10 a.m., with practice from Noon-3 p.m. Qualifying will begin at 4 p.m. and racing will start at 6 p.m., featuring 125 laps for the PASS Super Late Models and additional divisions to be determined.