PASS Leftovers - The Howler at Greenville-Pickens by Jason Buckley
Haase Wins, Bates Strong, Bonsignore & Townley Debut
Alex Haase Enters Victory Lane After Another Hard Battle With Wakefield
Justin Wakefield and Alex Haase know each other quite well, at least on the race track. This season in PASS South Super Late Model competition, both drivers have raced against each throughout the year with both drivers going to victory lane twice prior to the Greenville-Pickens "Howler 150" race. And, both drivers put on a show earlier in the season at Greenville in the "Firecracker 125" event, which led to contact and harsh words being thrown around.
Alex Haase (top) won after a battle with Justin Wakefield (bottom) in the closing laps. (51 Sports Photos)
This time, Wakefield and Haase were once again the center of attention at the end of the feature. With 20 laps to go, Wakefield was well on his way to victory as he opened up a large lead over Haase. In fact, if it was a 125-lap race like it was in July, Wakefield would have already been celebrating in victory lane, but a caution erased his lead and his hopes at a win.
"That caution came out at the wrong time for us with 14 laps to go," said Wakefield. "We had them covered, and nothing was going to take us out of it except a mechanical failure, but the caution came out and they (Haase) were better than us on short runs. It just took a while for my car to come in. We just didn't have enough time there."
Haase was able to get by Wakefield to take the lead late in the race as well as the win, but it wasn't without trouble earlier in the day. Issues under the hood of his primary car during practice forced the team to pull out the backup. They worked hard to get the car race ready, and the work paid off.
"We unloaded the back up car because our primary car blew up in practice, so we unloaded this and it was just as good I felt it was going to be," said Haase. "We didn’t have much practice, so the beginning of the race we were just feeling it out. It started getting a little loose there so we waited for a pit stop and we got what we wanted there. We just had to ride because these races it’s so hard to tell who has tires and who doesn’t. Everybody put on tires when it was about 25 to go, so that’s when you really need to start moving. And Justin, he all of a sudden just checked out and I was like alright, we’ll just finish second, but then he kind of came back to me on that restart there and I got around him somehow.”
Haase wasn't the only one that had to work hard to get to the front. Earlier in the day, Wakefield was less than pleased with his race car, but his team worked hard to get it in the show and up in front of the field.
"We worked about as hard as we ever have on this car today," explained Wakefield. "We got it working, qualified second and it was a good day. It just didn't turn out though how we wanted it."
The win meant more than just breaking the win column tie with Wakefield. In the PASS South championship battle, Haase trailed Corey Williams for the top spot. Williams had trouble early on during the race, finishing multiple laps off the pace. With the win, Haase gained valuable points and passed Williams for the points lead with two races to go.
"That real cool," said Haase. "I knew Corey had problems there, my crew told me. I just knew I had to ride and not hurt anything even though the left front finder is beat up on it and what not. We are going to be as conservative as we can (in the remaining races), but at the same time win this thing."
Adam Bates Travels South for a Second-Place Finish
Easley, South Carolina is a long distance from Warner, New Hampshire. Adam Bates knows, as he traveled from his residence in the northeast United States to the south for the Howler 150. Bates made the best of his long journey by being one of the fastest drivers all day, finishing second to Alex Haase.
"It was a great race," said Bates. "From early on, I was just riding around and saving everything to not get too beat up. Then halfway through I think I was fourth. I was trying to run with the leaders, but my tires were getting worn out. I forget what lap it was, but once we came in and pitted, we threw right sides on and had to pick the car up a little bit because it was bottoming out. Then we had to make an extra pit stop because my windshield was dirty and I couldn’t see out of it. I think we went back to about 19th or so and we made our way back up from there.
"The car was hooked up. It just rolled through the centers like you wouldn’t believe. I just didn’t have quite enough time at the end, but the car was definitely good enough to do it.”
In the PASS North Super Late Model Series, Bates has had a stellar season. He has won a few races and finished fourth in the point standings. Coming down south though and mixing it up with the southern boys put a smile on his face.
"I would like to have them come up to as many as they could," explained Bates, about having the south drivers race up in the north more often. "I can’t explain why they don’t like to. I wish they would come up more and I’d like to come down here more.
"I don’t want to rub it in or anything, but it feels great to come down here and do so good.”
Adam Bates. (51 Sports Photo)
Toby Porter might race the full season in PASS South next year. (51 Sports Photo)
Toby Porter Makes Rare Racing Appearance; Might Run Full Time in 2009
Many people know the name Toby Porter. He has been around the racing world for years, but over the past few seasons, he has been out from behind the seat and instead working on the cars and with other drivers. That was until Saturday, when Porter jumped into the PASS South race at Greenville, making it known he can still get it done from behind the wheel.
Porter turned the fastest time during the race and spent some time out in front of the field before finishing in the fifth position. For Porter, it was all about enjoying racing again.
"I had this opportunity to drive this car," said Porter. I haven't raced in about two years. It was a good car and good opportunity, so I decided to run. I grew up basically driving these cars, so I wanted to drive again. Everything around here is Late Model Stocks. I was excited about running a straight-rail car."
Now that his helmet and gloves have been dusted off, Porter is not looking to get out of the driver's seat anytime soon. In fact, the competition in the PASS South Series might see Porter running the entire season.
"We would like to," said Porter. "We have talked about it. If we get our money right and get a few sponsors locked down, we will run the whole season next year."
John Wes Townley Makes His PASS Debut
Many people know Ken Schrader as a driver that will race just about anything anywhere. He doesn't care what it is as long as he gets to race it.
John Wes Townley has that same desire as Schrader as he has driven in multiple race vehicles and series over the last few years. In his PASS debut, Townley lead some laps early, before contact with another car caused damage that forced him to finish 18th. Still though, he was thrilled to add another series to his resume.
"I just love racing," said Townley. "Anything that has four wheels is fun to go and race. Seat time is seat time, and of course each car is different. The more diverse my racing program is the better is my philosophy.
"I like this series a lot. Everyone is really laid back, and that is something good to have in a series. A lot of times you get too caught up planning things, but this series has everything together. It has really impressed me."
Kyle Bonsignore Fairs Well During His First PASS South Event
One name known around the pits last year in the USAC Ford Focus series is Kyle Bonsignore, however that name is not known in the PASS South Super Late Model Series. Making his debut in the series at Greenville, the former open-wheeled driver has been making his transition to full-fendered cars this season.
John Wes Townley has added PASS South to his racing resume. (51 Sports Photo)
Kyle Bonsignore made his PASS debut at Greenville. (51 Sports Photo)
"Last season I ran about four races in the USAC Ford Focus Series in the Carolinas," said Bonsignore. "That series is kind of defunct now, so we had to move on."
While he didn't set the world on fire, Bonsignore did exactly what he needed to do during the race by logging laps, staying out of trouble and learning what it takes to race 150 laps in a Super Late Model.
"It was a good race overall. We didn't hit anything and nothing hit us, so it was a pretty good day."
Originally from Bayshore, New York, the former northeast racer has moved south to Mooresville, North Carolina, looking to make a name for himself in the southern fendered ranks.
"There is too much racing and too much fun to be had down here," said Bonsignore. "Our main goal here was to race on the lead lap and finish on the lead lap, and we accomplished that today. It worked out for us in the long run."
Legacy and Pro Challenge Racer Ryan Glenski Eyeing PASS South
Former Bandolero racer Ryan Glenski has spent the last few years moving up in the ranks of scale-car racing. He has run in the Allison Legacy Series for the past few years, but got behind the wheel of a Pro Challenge car this season, obtaining a victory in his first time out.
At Greenville, Glenski raced in the Allison Legacy Series feature, finishing third, but he spent some of his time during the PASS South meet and greet up around the Super Late Models, checking them out.
“It’s a good car," said Glenski. "I am just looking to get into something different next year. I just want to move up and get a potential ride."
There are many options for young drivers moving up in the sport of racing, but Glenski has his eyes on the PASS South Super Late Models.
"They just race hard and have a lot of power. The fans enjoy it. That’s what you need. It’s a great series and no politics. That’s the best part.”
Speed51.com's Trackside Now
For the racing action as it happened in the Howler 150 PASS South Super Late Model 150-lap feature, click here.