Following an extremely successful debut at Hickory’s Easter Bunny weekend in March, southeast race fans will get a treat this Friday night at Concord Speedway when the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models and Southern Modified Racing Series (SMRS) compete together in a rare doubleheader. The Memorial Day weekend kickoff will see the two most powerful asphalt series in the South compete together for only the second time ever on Friday night at Concord Speedway, along with the Mid-Atlantic Limited Late Models and Mid-Atlantic Street Stocks.
The South’s top Super Late Model tour will be led to Friday night’s Old Glory 125 by Kannapolis, NC teenagers, Kodie Conner and Matt Craig. Conner leads the PASS South Super Late Model points in his rookie season, after claiming the PASS Pro Late Model championship in 2015. Conner began his racing career across the street from the Concord Speedway half-mile on the quarter-mile track, racing Quarter Midgets and Bandoleros. He took the checkered flag in the Pro Late Model division last year at Concord and hopes that will translate into his first PASS South victory on Friday night.
“To be able to race at Concord Speedway is pretty amazing; the history that track has, many stories that people tell, make this race track more intense,” says Conner, driver of the Accent Imaging/Champion Spark Plus Chevrolet #45. “I have raced on the quarter-mile track in the back and have always wanted to race at the half-mile and the opening last year was definitely an opportunity I could not pass up! The track is unique, old, and fast. The dog leg is my favorite part of the track and I really enjoy racing at the half-mile.”
For Craig, it is a similar story. He also began racing at Concord Speedway’s quarter-mile, but in Legends cars. The family-owned C&C Boilers #54 has a long and storied history at Concord Speedway, piloted by drivers like Rodney Childers, Clay Rogers, and Jeff Fultz to victory lane throughout the years. Craig comes to Concord this year full of optimism following his first career PASS South Super Late Model win at Caraway Speedway back in April.
“Concord has been a really tough track for me to get the hang of but every Concord race has a little more hype because of the high speed racing which is very exciting,” says Craig, who sits just two markers behind Conner in the race for the championship. “I think momentum is everything in racing and we have a lot of it after a big win in the last race at Caraway. Now with a win under my belt, I think I’ll be a more patient and smarter driver which hopefully will propel us to victory Friday night at Concord.”
As for the SMRS Tour Modifieds, Friday night’s Charles Kepley Memorial 125 has all the markings of another barnburner. Massachusetts’ driver Jonathan McKennedy has taken the first two checkered flags at Hickory and Ace, but will have his hands full as he tries to make it three wins in-a-row. Former North-South Shootout winner Burt Myers will be back, along with his brother, Jason, as well as former track champion Bobby Measmer, Jr. Cale Gale returns after a strong run at Hickory, along with Brandon Ward and James Civali, who will be making his SMRS debut in the Hillbilly Racing #79.
In addition, former Concord Speedway track champions Shaun Mangum and Kenny Brooks will compete in the Mid-Atlantic Limited Late Model series along with a very strong group of Street Stocks.
All the action gets under way on Thursday at Concord Speedway with open practice for all competing divisions from 3 – 6 PM. On Friday, practice will begin at 1 PM with qualifying starting at 5 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, SMRS Tour Modifieds, Mid-Atlantic Limited Late Models and Street Stocks, followed by main events starting at approximately 7 PM.