It is no surprise that Kannapolis, NC's Matt Craig leads the standings as he eyes an unprecedented third PASS South title. But, coming into the season, few, if any, could have predicted Ennismore, Ontario's, JP Josiasse would be second in the standings coming to the 13th Annual Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 200 at Hickory.
Josiasse's PASS journey began a few years ago in the PASS Pro Late Model division, a class that also brought Kodie Conner and Tate Fogleman to the PASS Super Late Model ranks. When that division went away at the conclusion of the 2014 season, Josiasse made the decision to try out Super Late Models. And, with the help of car builder Gary Crooks and a small group of fellow countrymen, Josiasse has parlayed those 20-hour trips from Canada into a chance at PASS South immortality.
"For us, we just enjoy racing with PASS and coming down South when we can," says Josiasse, driver of the Stoneridge Specialty Insurance / The Old Smokehouse Chevrolet #24. "We never imagined that we would have a chance at the championship this year, but the races fell our way for us to compete in all of them and our performance improved, so I guess, here we are."
As the owner and promotor of Ontario's Peterborough Speedway, Josiasse is limited to when he can actually race himself. But, with consistent performances, including a career-best seventh place finish at South Boston in August, Josiasse finds himself 28 points behind Craig heading to Hickory this weekend. And he is not alone, as both Kodie Conner and Roy Hayes still have a mathematical shot at the championship. After being involved in an early accident in last year's MegaMeltdown, Craig knows that everything will have to go to plan as he seeks to secure his third title.
Saturday afternoon's 200 lapper will also serve as the final event of the PASS National Championship Series to crown the country's only true nationwide champion. Derek Griffith, Ray Christian, III, Ben Rowe, and Conner will be locked in a tight battle in front of the MAVTV cameras as they duke it out for the national championship. Additionally, the MASS Street Stocks will race for $1,000 to win and will be joined by the Legends cars to complete this exciting afternoon of grassroots racing.
Joining the championship contenders will be defending MegaMeltdown winner, Brandon Setzer, 2015 PASS South champion, Tate Fogleman, and this year's Oxford Plains Speedway track champion, Gabe Brown. A strong group of New Englanders have already entered including, Cory Casagrande, Derek Ramstrom, John-Michael Shenette, TJ Brackett, and Wyatt Alexander. And the south will be represented equally as well by Gracie Trotter, Lucas Jones, and Jody Measamer.
Entry forms and the complete weekend schedule for the 13thAnnual Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 200 are available at www.ProAllStarsSeries.com.
The weekend will start on Friday at Hickory Motor Speedway with rotating practice for all divisions from 2-5 PM. On Saturday, pit gates will open at 7:30 AM, with practice beginning at 9:30 AM, followed by qualifying at 11:45 AM, the on track pit party at 12:50 PM, and racing for the PASS Super Late Models, MASS Street Stocks, and Legends beginning at 1:30 PM.