Brandon Setzer may have led the South Carolina Clash at Dillon Motor Speedway from wire to wire, but it was anything but a walk in the park.
The Newton, North Carolina native won the second round of the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model championship, holding off charges from Jody Measamer and Kodie Conner through several restarts.
“On the long runs, this thing’s got so much forward bite, it’s really good,” Setzer said about his machine. “But on the restarts, it’s bound up and a little tight. It takes four or five laps for everything to get going.”
Setzer was able to display that strength over the first 75 laps of the 125-lap event. The race started with a long green flag run, and Measamer and Conner were the only drivers able to match the torrid pace of Setzer. When Derek Scott, Jr. pounded the outside wall in turn one for the caution, this bunched the field together and put Setzer’s victory in jeopardy.
This led to a spree of cautions, which whittled the field down to roughly a dozen cars. It also led to the end of Measamer’s shot at the victory, as Setzer and Measamer came together exiting turn four on lap 82.
“I hate we didn’t get to race Jody for the win,” an apologetic Setzer said in victory lane. “He deserved it. He had a super good car, especially on the short runs he was a little better than us.”
The apology did not wash away the sting of the mishap for Measamer, who was in search of his first career PASS South Super Late Model victory.
“We almost had him cleared,” Measamer said about the incident. “He gassed up not wanting to lose the lead and drove straight into the left rear wheel. We were about 18 inches, two feet away from clearing him and he just got back to the gas and drove straight into the left rear tire.”
Measamer was able to recover for a seventh place finish, but did not have enough in reserve to chase down the leaders at the end.
“It didn’t hurt nothing on the car other than flat-spotting the tires,” Measamer said. “I just had to use up the tires. If we could have sat there with Brandon or got by Brandon, I felt like we had them beat. I just hate it for the guys, AquaVapor, everyone that helps us out.”
This created a two-horse battle between Setzer and Conner, with the final showdown coming on a lap 105 restart. Setzer was able to clear Conner exiting turn four on the final restart before checking out for the final 20 laps of the race.
“That caution at the end, I was beside him on the outside,” Conner recalled after his runner-up finish. “I was really getting in there, and I was just a little bit off. I was really hoping at the last caution, I would have got him. He just had a little bit more than I did.”
Jared Irvan finished third in the 125-lap event, in which his father and 1991 Daytona 500 winner Ernie Irvan gave the command as the grand marshal. Defending PASS South Super Late Model champion Tate Fogleman rallied from a 13th-place qualifying effort to finish fourth, with Trevor Noles rounding out the top five.
The unofficial results of the South Carolina Clash can be viewed below:
1. Brandon Setzer
2. Kodie Conner
3. Jared Irvan
4. Tate Fogleman
5. Trevor Noles
6. Matt Craig
7. Jody Measamer
8. Raphael Lessard
9. Jeff Batten
10. Jody Lavender
11. Gus Dean
12. Kelly Moore
13. Tanner Gray
14. Hayes Goodson
15. Christian Eckes
16. Nicole Behar
17. Riley Herbst
18. Kyle McCallum
19. Joey Padgett
20. Derek Scott, Jr.
21. Kyle DeSouza
22. J.P. Josiasse