Derek Griffith bested a strong field of Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models to win the 13th Annual South Carolina Clash 200 Saturday afternoon at Dillon Motor Speedway. While Griffith has found victory lane on the PASS North circuit in the past, Saturday’s opening day win was his first in the south in PASS National Championship competition.
“We knew we had to do better here than we did last year and we were able to put it all together today to get the win,” said Griffith in victory lane. “The track was hot and slick, but this win is big because we need to get all we can to compete with Ben [Rowe] for the national championship.”
In qualifying, Tate Fogleman claimed his second career quick qualifying time with a lap of 87.998 miles per hour around the tough 4/10 mile, egg-shaped speedway. After the top 10 qualifiers redraw, two-time defending PASS South champion, Matt Craig, would move to the pole, while Fogleman would slot into the sixth starting position.
At the drop of the green flag, Craig quickly jumped into the lead, but would be quickly overtaken by rookie Matt Thomas for the top spot. Thomas would lead until lap 21 when he was passed by Chad McCumbee and Fogleman.
After starting 11th, Griffith would break in to the top five on lap 33, passing Ben Rowe for fifth. Another car on the move in the early going was the machine driven by Connecticut’s Ray Christian, III, moving from the 14th starting position and into the top five by lap 59.
Following the first caution flag of the day for a spin by Charles Barnes on lap 69, Fogleman was able to take the lead from McCumbee on the restart. Likewise, after a caution eight laps later for Jody Measamer’s mechanical problems, Griffth would move by Fogleman for the lead on the ensuing restart.
Action began to really pick up even after a spin by Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. on lap 100. On the restart, both Griffith and Fogleman appeared to spin their tires, slamming together as they raced down the frontstretch. Fogleman’s car broke loose entering turn 1, collecting the wall and ending his promising day.
The biggest incident of the day would occur on lap 116 when the machine driven by Matt Thomas was pinched into the front straightaway wall after contact with Kevin Floars. Thomas’ car rode up the wall, sliding down the track on its left side between Floars’ car and the outside wall. After a few tense moments and a very brief fire, both drivers emerged from their racers unscathed.
Following a competition caution to change two tires, Ray Christian III emerged as a contender, leading the field back to green. Christian and Griffith would wage a 20 lap war for the lead, with Griffith finally able to take advantage in lapped traffic. Christian would continue to ride in second until being passed by Ben Rowe with nine laps to go. Griffith took the checkered flag to claim the South Carolina Clash win over Rowe, Christian, Kodie Conner, and McCumbee. Rounding out the top 10 were Jeff Batten, scoring his best career finish, Craig, Jared Irvan, JP Josiasse, and Sammy Gooden.
The PASS South Super Late Models will be in action once again for the RGS Products 125 on Sunday, March 11th at Caraway Speedway, along with the season opener for the SMRS Tour Modifieds.
- Derek Griffith
- Ben Rowe
- Ray Christian III
- Kodie Conner
- Chad McCumbee
- Jeff Batten
- Matt Craig
- Jared Irvan
- JP Josiasse
- Sammy Gooden
- Roy Hayes III
- Kevin Floars
- Matthew Thomas
- Jimmy Renfrew Jr
- Tate Fogleman
- Tim Hollis
- Jody Measamer
- Trevor Sanborn
- Charles Barnes
- Jimmy Doyle
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