Griffith Scores PASS South Win At Dillon Motor Speedway

Derek Griffith celebrates in victory lane after winning Saturday’s PASS South Super Late Model Series season opener at Dillon Motor Speedway. Photo: PASS Media

Derek Griffith bested a strong field of PASS Super Late Models to win the 13th Annual South Carolina Clash 200 Saturday afternoon at South Carolina’s 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. “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 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 win.

Rowe finished in second, Christian in third, Kodie Conner in fourth, and McCumbee in fifth.

Jeff Batten, Craig, Jared Irvan, J.P. Josiasse, and Sammy Gooden rounded out the top ten.

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.

PASS South Super Late Model Series
Dillon Motor Speedway – Dillon, SC
South Carolina Clash 200 – Feb. 24, 2018

1. 12g – Derek Griffith
2. 4n – Ben Rowe
3. 93 – Ray Christian III
4. 45 – Kodie Conner
5. 16 – Chad McCumbee
6. 49 – Jeff Batten
7. 54 – Matt Craig
8. 21 – Jared Irvan
9. 24j – J.P. Josiasse
10. 01 – Sammy Godden
11. 15 – Roy Hayes
12. 19 – Kevin Floars
13. 87 – Matt Thomas
14. 00 – Jimmy Renfrew, Jr.
15. 8f – Tate Fogleman
16. 22 – Tim Hollis
17. 98 – Jody Measamer
18. 80 – Trevor Sanborn
19. 37 – Charles Barnes
DNS: 71 – Jimmy Doyle


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