BRASELTON, Ga. – Ben Ashline made the long trip from Pittston, Maine, count by taking a surprise win during Saturday’s Lanier National 200 for the PASS super late models at Lanier Raceplex.
Ashline’s first PASS victory came in the first event at Lanier since racing was last held here in 2011.
“We traveled down like 1,200 miles, really not knowing what to expect and made a few changes and they worked,” said Ashline in victory lane. “Mike [Hopkins] is a great competitor. We raced hard, we raced clean, and we were racing for the win. We came down here with high hopes. This is probably the best race of my career.”
After taking the heat race wins, Ryan Moore and Dawson Fletcher led the field to green, with Fletcher moving to the lead on lap two. The first caution of the day waved on lap 17 when veteran Randy Gentry went for a spin in turn four. Fletcher continued to lead until another Georgia teenager, Jake Garcia, would bypass him for the top spot on lap 39.
The third caution of the day waved on lap 67 when Brandon Herbert blew a right front tire entering turn three. On the restart, Ashline got the better of Garcia to take the lead for the first time of the day. Ashline maintained the lead through lap 108 when Ryan Herbert slammed the frontstretch wall to bring out the fourth caution of the race.
Ashline continued to lead, but was joined up front by PASS National Super Late Model champion Hopkins. Hopkins persistently tried the high line and was able to take the lead from Ashline on lap 141. But now, the roles were reversed as Ashline applied pressure to Hopkins for the lead. With 47 laps to go, Hopkins slipped, allowing Ashline to make a run on the inside and retake the lead.
Despite a spin by Fletcher with five laps to go, Ashline would go on to take the win in the Lanier National 200 over Hopkins, Moore, Garcia and Tate Fogleman.
Ben Ashline, Mike Hopkins, Ryan Moore, Jake Garcia, Tate Fogleman, Kyle Plott, Hudson Hadier, Kyle Seig, Dawson Fletcher, Shane Chastain, J.P. Josiasse, Randy Gentry, Carson Kvapil, Chris Dilbeck, Ryan Herbert, Brandon Herbert.