Ryan Lawler Gets First PASS South Win with Crate Engine Car 

Point Leader Mike Rowe Second, NASCAR Cup Star Mayfield Falls Out With Problems


CONCORD, NC (August 28, 2006) – Just before qualifying for Sunday's “Over the Mountain 150 presented by The Big Dawg 92.1” at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), Ryan Lawler's shot at a PASS South championship looked to be going down the drain.  His #31 Hamke Racing Chevrolet blew a motor just as practice ended and that forced the team to scramble.  After unsuccessfully trying to find a backup car from another team to use during the race, the decision was made to drive an hour back to their shop in Mooresville, NC, to pick up their Crate Engine Late Model (ASA & GAS equivalent). 

The car rolled into the track on the back of an open trailer just moments before the start of the heat races.  Later, the same car would roll into Victory Lane, earning the 19-year-old Texas-native his first-career PASS South victory.

“Finally,” said Lawler after the win.  “We lost the motor about two hours before qualifying.  It turned into a pretty frantic situation.   We were running up and down to different pits seeing if I could rent someone's car, but no one had anything for me.  We decided to get the ASA Late Model (that we run with that series) and bring it here.  We were skeptical about bringing that car out because the motor in the ASA car has a lot less power, but I think that was the ticket here (at Hickory) I guess.

“We've bee fighting too much horsepower in the orange car.  We've been messing with carburetors and all.  We just can't get it down low enough.  I think we have something figured out now.”

It wasn't as easy as it sounded for Lawler.  With no qualifying time, he had to start his heat race in the back with a car that had yet to see laps at Hickory.  He finished fifth in his heat and that placed him 18 th in the starting lineup for the 150-lap main event.

It didn't take Lawler long to get to the front.  He moved into the top-five early and into second-place by lap 65.  On lap 79, Lawler took the lead from PASS South points leader Mike Rowe for the first time.  The two would end up trading the lead back and forth multiple times after that the rest of the night.

“You don't even understand how upset I was.  I was worried sick.  I was worried about our shot to win at a great track and worried about our championship hopes.  We actually ended up gaining some points,” added Lawler.

“I backed the car out of the pits as the second heat race was already a half lap into the pace laps.  It was close, that's for sure.  I didn't even get to run the car through tech before the heat race; I had to run it through afterwards, but the PASS officials were nice enough to allow us to do that.”

Lawler took the lead back from Rowe on lap 122 and was able to cruise to the victory.  Now, unofficially, Lawler trails Rowe by just 12 points in the PASS South standings. 

“I guess we are on a role,” added Lawler.  “We got an ASA Late Model Series win with the same car last week, but that isn't nearly as prestigious as the PASS South Series.  This is a big deal here with the quality of drivers out here and the competition.  I'm just pumped up; there is nothing more I can say about it.”

Rowe was the only one that was able to hang with Lawler in the end.  The two traded the lead several times, with Rowe leading the most laps all night long.  Rowe took the lead on lap 39, then traded it with Preston Peltier several times.  Once Lawler made his way to the front, it was the Lawler-Rowe show.

“Ryan had problems with his primary car I guess,” said Rowe.  “They went home and got this one.  They did their homework and it showed.  Ryan did an awesome job.  You have to give the kid a lot of credit.  I was hoping for a restart there at the end.  I thought I could get him right there and hold him off, but that is the way it goes.

“The outside was the way to go on restarts.  I know I had good luck and Preston was good out there.  I'd go 20 laps, though, and my tires would go away and I just had to ride it out.”

For Rowe, it was almost two wins in a row at the historic track.  He won the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory earlier this year when the PASS South cars visited the track.

“This is a great track,” added Rowe.  “There is a lot of history here.  We actually lucked out into the first win here.  Chuck (Barnes Jr.) should have won that one.  We've been a second-place car each time here. 

“I wanted to dedicate this win to a buddy of mine that was killed in a motorcycle accident last week.  I really wanted to win this race for him, but second was the best we had.”

Much like the PASS South point standings, Peltier, who is third in points, came home third with his first podium finish of the year.

“We really worked hard on the car all weekend long,” said Peltier.  “I struggled with it in the center and off.   The car was better in the race, but toward the end, with the fuel burnt off, the car started shoving in the center and I was having to use the throttle to get the car to turn. 

“I'll tell you what, my sponsors ARP and Corporate Image have stuck with me through some tough times.  My guys have stuck with me.  I don't have much help, but they are always right there by my side.  Now, all of that is starting to pay off.  Maybe I'll get me one of these sometime.”

Visiting NASCAR Nextel Cup Series star Jeremy Mayfield ran competitively all night long, but fell out of the event with 40 laps to go with mechanical problems while running in the top-10.

“It was a lot of fun, but we just had issues with the car all weekend long,” said Mayfield.  “You can't expect to come here and run with some of these guys on such short notice.  These racers take this stuff very seriously and are very dedicated to what they do. They have their stuff together and you can't just come in and expect to beat them up.  I had a lot of fun and we put in a lot of work on these cars this weekend.  I'm sure I'll be back to do it again.  Hopefully, we'll have more time to prepare next time and we can compete for the win.”

In supporting divisions, Terry Mathis extended his National Points lead over 13-year-old phenom Zach Stroupe by leading all 50 laps of Aaron's Pro Challenge Series event.  Mathis, who won the pole for the event, dominated.  Kyle Mitchell came from the back of the field to finish second, with Stroupe coming home third.

In the Redneck Racing Series event, Jim Cook took his “Mr. Big Shot” to a second win of the 2006 season.  Cook, who also won at Concord Motorsport Park earlier in the year, took the lead early and won going away.  The real battle was for second, as Redneck Racing Series point leader Kirby Allen, debuting a new car called “Impact,” held off Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s “Chowderhead,” driven by Dave Knight.

Duncan Molesworth took the win in a wild Legends car feature that saw the top two drivers spin coming to the white flag.  Molesworth was able to keep his #53 going, took the white and held on for the victory.  Tim Craver was second, with Patrick Molesworth coming home third.

For more information on the PASS South Series, contact Jeremy Troiano at (704) 455–2051 and be sure to visit www.racewithpass.com .  For more information on the PASS North Series, contact Mike Twist at DSG by calling (207) 590-1786 and be sure to visit the official website of PASS North, www.proallstarsseries.com .

Race Results

PASS South

"Over the Mountain 150"
presented by The Big Dawg 92.1

August 27, 2006

Hickory Motor Speedway, Hickory, NC

Ryan Lawler
Mike Rowe
Preston Peltier
Brian Scott
Lee Tissot
Ryan Sieg
Jeremie Whorff
Larry Pollard
Chris Gabehart
Tim Nooner
Wade Day
Chip Brendle
Mark Reedy
Billy Wheeler
Chris Dunn
Tom McCann
Cassius Clark
Dean Clattenburg
Jeremy Mayfield
Brandon Johnson
Mike McIntosh
Chase Austin
Bobby Macarthur
Dennis Schoenfeld
Matt Brooks

Caution Flags:  7

Lead Changes: 10 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders: Scott 1-7, Day 8-21, Peltier 22-38, Rowe 39-40, Peltier 41-53, Rowe 54-78, Lawler 79-81, Rowe 82-88, Lawler 89-92, Rowe 93-121, Lawler 122-150

Pole winner: Scott

Heat winners: Clark, Whorff

Dash winner: Day

PHOTO CAPTION :  Ryan Lawler celebrates his first PASS South win, coming on Saturday night in the “Over the Mountain 150 presented by The Big Dawg 92” at Hickory Motor Speedway.

PHOTO CREDIT :  51 Sports


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