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Peltier edges Rowe for 4th PASS Easter Bunny 150 triumph at Hickory

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Peltier Edges Rowe For 4th Easter Bunny 150 Triumph At Hickory

HICKORY, NC (April 15) – Preston Peltier survived a three lap scramble to the checkered flag to edge out Ben Rowe for his fourth Easter Bunny 150 win Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway. Peltier’s seventh win at Hickory and 15th overall Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model win ended a two-year winless drought dating back to the 2015 Easter Bunny 150.

“Three to go when that last caution came out, I thought, oh man, here we go again,” said Peltier, driver of the Roger Newton Concrete Finishing Chevrolet #33. “My tires really weren’t the best there at the end, but I’ve got to thank Ben [Rowe] because he really could have used me up. It’s funny how life works out and right now, life’s pretty good.”

In qualifying, Peltier just beat out Kyle Busch with a lap of 14.752 seconds (88.584 MPH) for his 21st career quick qualifying time in PASS. After the top 10 qualifiers redraw, Peltier would move back to the sixth starting position, while Raphael Lessard and Derek Griffith would move up to the front row.

At the drop of the green flag, Lessard would take the lead before being overtaken by Griffith on lap three. Meanwhile, Busch would encounter early problems dropping back through the field, before coming to a stop on the track on lap 13. After just five more laps, Busch would retire for the night due to distributor problems and finish 30th.

Up front, the leaders were wasting little time, with Lessard again moving by Griffith for the lead on lap 33. The lead trio of Lessard, Peltier, and PASS South points leader, Matt Craig, would encounter heavy lapped traffic as the race neared the halfway point. As they weaved their way through slower cars, Lessard made contact with the machine of Lee Hansard, sending the Georgia driver for a spin down the frontstretch on lap 59.


On the next restart, rookie Dawson Cram struggled to come up to speed and was spun from behind, making hard contact with the inside wall. Under the brief period of green flag racing, Peltier was able to get by Lessard to take the lead. Peltier would continue to lead until the third caution flag of the night would wave with 54 laps to go for a spin by Dave Farrington, Jr. entering turn three.

Back under green, Peltier and Craig traded the lead back and forth before Peltier would again take control with 48 laps to go. Peltier appeared to be on his way to victory until a caution waved with three laps to go for a crash by Travis Kvapil entering turn one.

On the final restart, Peltier, Lessard, and Rowe ran extremely hard, making contact on occasion. But, Peltier would have enough to take the checkered flag over Rowe and Lessard. However, following the event, Lessard’s third place finish was taken away due to a disqualification stemming from his spotter entering race control immediately following the race. After the race PASS officials released a statement regarding Lessard’s disqualification:


The revised finish order showed Peltier with the win, followed by Rowe, Craig, Butcher, and Brandon Setzer. Rounding out the top 10 were Travis Stearns, Jody Measamer, Nicolas Naugle, Griffth, and Kodie Conner.


In preliminary action, George Kurtz claimed the win in the USAC Eastern Midgets, while Mike Womack took the Legends win in a photo finish over Zack Miller.

The PASS National Championship Super Late Models will be in action again on Saturday, April 29 with the Beech Ridge 300 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine. PASS North will be in action Saturday, April 22 with the Speedway Homes 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway, while PASS South hits the track again on Friday, May 5 at Caraway Speedway. Entry forms are currently available at ProAllStarsSeries.com.


Be sure to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @PASSSLM14.


PASS Super Late Model – 12th Annual Easter Bunny 150 – Unofficial Results


33 – Preston Peltier 150 17. 51 – Eddie Fatscher 149
4n – Ben Rowe 150 18. 97 – Joey Polewarcyzk 149
54 – Matt Craig 150 19. 76 – Ryan Millington 149
53 – Cole Butcher 150 20. 7f – Dave Farrington, Jt. 149
6 – Brandon Setzer 150 21. 35 – Travis Kvapil 145
16me – Travis Stearns 150 22. 15x – Roy Hayes III 107
98 – Jody Measamer 150 23. 15h – Mike Hopkins 96
08 – Nicolas Naugle 150 24. 89 – Lee Hansard 80
12g – Derek Griffith 150 25. 15e – Christian Eckes 69
45 – Kodie Conner 150 26. 75 – Dawson Cram 60
41 – Trevor Sanborn 150 27. 12h – Heath Hindman 52
55 – Tanner Thorson 150 28. 12x – Mark Reedy 30
8f – Tate Fogleman 150 29. 71 – Jimmy Doyle 24
29 – Spencer Davis 150 30. 51b – Kyle Busch 15
9 – Chris Dilbeck 149 31. 99c – Sarah Cornett Ching 8
7c – Tyler Church 149 DQ 99x Raphael Lessard

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Statement from Seth Smith, Raphel Lessard's crew chief in response to DQ:






MOORESVILLE, NC (Apr. 18, 2017) – Following events from Saturday night’s Pro All Stars Series Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway, David Gilliland Racing announced today they will make schedule adjustments to all of their super late model teams to avoid competing in any PASS-sanctioned events for the foreseeable future. “Unprofessional” behavior by race control and those in series management were cited as the primary reasons for the schedule change. The incidents in question involved DGR driver Raphael Lessard and his No. 99 team who originally crossed the line in second at the checkered flag on Saturday.


“We race all over the country and have interactions with various officials and sanctions from coast to coast,” said crew chief of the No. 99 Toyota for Raphael Lessard, Seth Smith. “Never in my entire career in racing have I been treated like I was on Saturday at Hickory by the PASS president and upper management. On-track, race control decisions are one thing – sometimes it’s your day and sometimes it isn’t. But to be singled out and treated with a blatant disregard for professionalism is something our team, our sponsors, our drivers and I refuse to be associated with.”


Four distinct incidents helped to define DGR’s decision on Tuesday. First, during an early caution where a slower, inexperienced driver was unable to get out of the way of the No. 99 car and the rest of the leaders quick enough to avoid an accident. The minor contact resulted in a spin and race control, led by series president Tom Mayberry, declared a $500 fine for “almost rough driving” to the No. 99 team, a penalty the team willfully accepted as they lined up to restart.


Soon thereafter, an accident occurred on a restart where Lessard was both the leader and the control car. Since the field did not complete a lap before the caution was displayed, series rules revert to the last completed lap for proper lineup. Upon repassing of a competitor who did not slow at the same rate as Lessard, race control once again issued a $500 fine to the No. 99 car, this time for passing under yellow.

“While we weren’t happy with their decisions during the race, we respected them as competitors and abided by their wishes,” Smith, who was also spotting for Lessard, explained after the race. “We still had a chance to win the race and we did not want to jeopardize that opportunity. It was during a lengthy cleanup that Mr. Mayberry sent one of his employees to the spotter stand near turn one to request I visit the tower. I complied immediately and quickly made my way to the center of the frontstretch.


“Upon arriving in the tower, I was greeted by Mr. Mayberry in a profanity-laced tirade addressing various subjects and incidents over the course of the night,” he continued. “I calmly attempted to explain our position but was routinely interrupted with more profanity and threats to disqualify us if we touched another car or another car touched us. After a few minutes, I politely dismissed myself from the tower as we were nearly ready to return to racing and I had a job to do.”


Lessard continued to race in the top three and was in the thick of the lead battle on the final restart with eventual winner Preston Peltier and PASS North regular Ben Rowe. He crossed the line in second, inches ahead of Rowe, in his first career Easter Bunny 150. Following the finish, Smith returned to the tower in hopes of calmly settling the matters which had race control request his visit earlier in the race.


“After the race, I visited the tower to explain to Mr. Mayberry that I did not appreciate how he treated me during our previous meeting,” Smith explained about the fourth incident of the night. “Whatever calls were made in the race were done and we had no reason to dispute them since we had a great second place run. However, before I could explain to Mr. Mayberry that his unprofessional actions were not appreciated earlier, he once again went into a profanity-laced tirade and threatened to disqualify us. I calmly reiterated that my visit had nothing to do with in-race decisions, that I simply did not appreciate his lack of professionalism. It was at that time he disqualified us and, although I had every reason to snap, I accepted his decision while reiterating that his behavior was not appreciated before exiting the tower.”


Prior to the race on Saturday night, Lessard and teammate Chase Purdy had multiple PASS-sanctioned races on their schedules including a handful of bigger-paying races later in the season. After Saturday night’s incidents, David Gilliland Racing has eliminated any PASS events from their schedules for the foreseeable future.


“Seth is one of the most calm, reasonable, and professional crew chiefs in short track racing and we stand behind everything he does on the pit box and the spotter stand,” said David Gilliland, owner and namesake of David Gilliland Racing. “While we’re proud of how he handled himself, we’re extremely disappointed in the actions of the series management when politely approached to discuss things following an event. Every other sanction with which we have raced welcomes rational discussions after competition has concluded. We owe it to our employees, our drivers, Toyota and our corporate partners to realign our schedule with more professional organizations who welcome us to their events.”


The next super late model events for David Gilliland Racing include a two-race weekend at the end of April with the Southern Super Series and the CARS Tour / CRA / Southern Super Series combination event at Bristol Motor Speedway in May, the US Nationals of Short Track Racing.


For more information on DGR, visit their website at DavidGillilandRacing.com, like them on Facebook (@DavidGillilandRacing), or follow them on Twitter (@DGR_Racing) and Instagram (@DGR_Racing).

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I guess Smith they forgot about the part about entering the control tower even after being warned not to go inside without permission. According to PASS, that was the actual reason for the DQ. Otherwise, Lessard would have kept his 2nd place finish, minus the $1,000 in fines that he already knew were coming.

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And no sooner had I posted the Lessard response than this PASS release shows up in my mail box:




PASS Statement Regarding Raphael Lessard Disqualification At Hickory

CHARLOTTE, NC (April 19) – Following Saturday night’s Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway, driver of the #99, Raphael Lessard, was disqualified due to the inappropriate actions of his crew chief/spotter, Seth Smith, following the event. The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) would like to further clarify what transpired leading to the disqualification.


First, Lessard was warned and fined $500 for intentionally spinning the #89 car driven by Lee Hansard on lap 59. Mr. Hansard is a veteran of short track racing in the southeast and has competed with PASS on a limited basis for over 10 years. While Lessard was battling for the lead, Mr. Hansard was racing hard to stay on the lead lap when he was unnecessarily tagged from behind by the #99 car. (See Attached Video)


Second, on the ensuing restart, Preston Peltier passed Lessard on the track for the lead when the caution immediately waved for a crash by Dawson Cram on the front straightaway. The #99 team incorrectly assumed that PASS reverts to the last completed lap in scoring. Lessard passed Peltier under caution, was told to give the position back, and was again warned and fined $500 for illegally passing under yellow.


In reality, as PASS has done since the sanctioning body began in 2001, the field is locked when the caution waves and timing and scoring scores ahead to the next lap. Drivers, crew chiefs, and spotters were told this in the driver’s meeting prior to the race as is done at each and every PASS event.


After the second warning for Lessard and some confusion from Smith in the spotter’s stand, Smith was summoned to race control. At this time, Smith was told that the team had received its last warning and would be penalized or parked for any further infractions that disrupted the event.


Following the race, Smith returned to race control, this time, not invited. Smith was warned by another PASS official on multiple occasions to not enter race control and that he could talk to PASS officials after a “cooling off” period. Despite this, Smith entered race control without permission and the #99 car driven by Raphael Lessard was summarily disqualified.


PASS never publicizes penalties or fines to eliminate further embarrassment for teams and their sponsors. However, PASS officials felt that the record needed to be cleared when the abovementioned team released slanderous statements that were blatantly untrue.

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