A lot has changed since Super Late Models last raced at Myrtle Beach Speedway in 2004. The headline division for that event was the old All Pro Series, which no longer exists. And, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) which will sanction this weekend’s Inaugural Bash At The Beach was just gaining strength in New England and would not start as the South’s premier Super Late Model division for another two years. And, even more telling, young PASS South talent competing this weekend like John Hunter Nemechek, Tate Fogleman, and Cole Timm were just getting ready for elementary school back in 2004.
PASS South’s first visit to Myrtle Beach will certainly prove to be one of the toughest challenges teams will face all year. By short track standards, the .538 mile D-shaped layout of Myrtle Beach Speedway will be by far the biggest track PASS South competes on all year. But, Myrtle Beach is perhaps more famous for its abrasive surface which chews up tires lake a cheese grader.
Daytona Truck Series winner Johnny Sauter returns to PASS at the Bash At The Beach driving his family-owned #5, a tribute to his father, Jim. A win at Myrtle Beach would be nothing new for the Sauter family however. After all, Johnny’s older brother Tim won a thrilling All Pro Series race at the track in 2001, crossing the finish line with a flat tire.
“I know there is a lot history behind the speedway, but I’ve never gotten to race there myself,” said Sauter. “Tim raved about the place and said we should go and try to win us a race. I just really enjoy PASS. It’s a no BS series with a bunch of great drivers. When I race with PASS, it’s fun to just get out there and race and have a good time.”
2012 PASS National Champion Jay Fogleman will undoubtedly have the most experience of any driver in Saturday night’s field at Myrtle Beach. Fogleman drove Late Model Stocks there in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, winning the prestigious Myrtle Beach 250 in 1996. And, he finished in the top five twice in the now defunct Hooter’s Series. But, no matter what type of car he’s in, Fogleman knows winning the Bash At The Beach will come down to one thing…tires.
“It’s gonna be all about tire management, that’s what it is every time you go to the beach,” said Fogleman. “The person who can get up off the corner the straightest and can keep the right rear on the car is going to win the race. I don’t think you want to lose a lap, but you want to get awfully close. Some people are going to go too hard too early and you’re going to have to let them go. If you chase the rabbit, you won’t be there at the end.”
Despite his experience racing at Myrtle Beach competing in cars he owned, Fogleman will be behind the wheel of Dicky Woodman’s potent Super Late Model once again. The two finished second together last year at Caraway Speedway and the Woodman Racing Team is coming off another strong run finishing third at Dillon Motor Speedway with Kevin Powell behind the wheel.
“Dicky’s car ran real good at Caraway and I had a really good time working with him and I just need to get caught up on some things at Bull City Race Cars,” said Fogleman. “Dicky wanted to run a few races and this was one of them and we’ll probably run a few more together this year. I just needed to look at the big picture and this will buy me some time to get some other things done.”
On the opposite end of the experience spectrum is young Georgia driver Spencer Davis. In just his second year racing Super Late Models, Davis had only seen Myrtle Beach Speedway once prior to testing there last Thursday. But, despite his inexperience, Davis has quickly figured out what so many others have been talking about.
“I like the track, it’s a real big track and it’s definitely going to be about tire management. You can feel the tires constantly going away when you run around there,” said Davis. “The test went really good last week, I think we had some really fast times and hopefully will have a good chance at the win.”
The Inaugural Bash At The Beach will bring the best short track drivers in the country together to see who is up to the challenge Myrtle Beach will present. Two-time PASS National Champion Ben Rowe hopes to rebound after a rough start to the season at Dillon. While PASS South points leader Austin Theriault looks to build on the momentum gained from last week’s South Carolina Clash win along with his Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Zak Hausler. Jordan Anderson returns to PASS South driving the Coulter Motorsports entry with sponsorship from Darlington Raceway. PASS South championship contenders Kyle Grissom and Brandon Ward also hope to make gains after late race struggles at Dillon. A talented crop of young contenders hope to turn heads led by third generation driver Justin Allison, Bobby Gower, Karl Weber, Joseph Mursuli and Brandon Lynn, who finished fourth at Dillon. Palmetto pride will be shown for home state drivers Gus Dean and Randy Gentry, a veteran of the All Pro wars at the beach. Veterans John Batten and Bobby Measmer, Jr. look to rebound from a grinding crash at Dillon while Mark Gibson returns to the series and Bill Catania looks for another top ten finish.
The PASS Pro Late Models will get their first shot at Myrtle Beach Speedway Saturday night with a 75 lap challenge that should be equally as tough on tires as the PASS South race. Trevor Noles may be the favorite with wins at Hickory and Concord last year and a second place finish a week ago at Dillon. Darlington, SC’s Hayes Goodson should be a tough challenger though racing the blue #16 made famous at Myrtle Beach by his father, Hal. Jeff Batten comes off a strong third place finish at Dillon and will be joined as a contender for the win by Walker Yates, Tyler Audie, Austin Reed, and Collin Vernal. Tyler Dayton returns for his first start of the season and will be joined by series newcomer Kodie Connor, who moves to the PASS Pro Late Model division from Bandoleros.
The Bash At The Beach gets underway this weekend on Friday with rotating practice from 3-6 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models and the PASS Pro Late Models. On Saturday, pit gates open at 11 AM, with rotating practice from 1-3:15 PM, qualifying will be at 4 PM and main event racing will start at 6 PM. PASS will also have an awards presentation for our 2012 competitors during the “Pit Party” prior to the Bash At The Beach green flag.
Fans are encouraged to check out the Run To The Sun XXV car show held in Myrtle Beach on March 15-16 presented by the Pee Dee Street Rodders. This is one of the biggest car shows in the country and will be open to the public each day from 8 AM-5 PM. Vendors and fans who attend the car show will have the opportunity to pick up discount coupons for the PASS race at Myrtle Beach Speedway that weekend.
PASS Racing PR