HICKORY, N.C. — Part-time competitor and hometown favorite Tyler Church claimed his first career Pro All Stars Series South Super Late Model win Sunday afternoon at Hickory Motor Speedway in the seventh running of the Over The Mountain 150 Presented By CV Products.
Church took the lead with 13 laps to go from Johnson Motorsports teammate and four-time Hickory Motor Speedway winner Preston Peltier and held on the rest of the way to take an emotional victory in front of the hometown fans.
“I wasn’t going to give up, but I owe a lot to Preston (Peltier) because he’s got these cars figured out and I’m privileged to get to drive one,” said an emotional Church in victory lane. “Man, this is home. Mama’s buried in the cemetery on the hill. This is special.”
Peltier and Church set the rest of the field on notice during qualifying as they claimed the top two spots. Following the mandatory redraw for the top 10 qualifiers, Peltier would start sixth and Church would start 10th, while Bobby Measmer Jr. and Colt James moved up to the front row.
At the drop of the green flag, James and Kyle Grissom moved around Measmer, who would settle into third at the start. But, Peltier wasted little making his move towards the front moving around Measmer for third and by Grissom for second on lap 8. The first caution of the day waved on lap 15 after contact between rookies Joseph Mursuli and Tyler Audie sent Audie for a spin in turn one.
On the restart, Peltier would bypass James for the lead. Several cars were making their way to the front on the slick, old racetrack though, including Ryan Moore, who started 17th, and PASS South points leader Jay Fogleman, who started 21st after having to race his way into the feature via the last chance race. Moore was in third by lap 53 and Fogleman moved into the top five after passing Rodney Brooks on lap 75.
While Peltier continued to lead, early race leader James struggled, spinning from 10th with 49 laps to go. Although Grissom managed to pass Peltier on the restart, his stay up front was short lived as Peltier moved back around to take the lead just two laps later. Grissom would struggle in the final third of the race, falling out of the top 10 at one point before eventually finishing ninth.
With Peltier still out front, his teammate Church was making his push towards the leaders passing Moore for second with 26 laps to go. Following a caution for a spin by John Batten in turn one with 14 laps to go, Peltier and Church would line up on the front row for the restart.
Heading into turn one after the green flag, Peltier had to get out of the gas as his car pushed up the speedway allowing Church to take the lead on the high side. Church would lead the final 14 laps, holding off a spirited charge by Peltier to join Austin Theriault and Daniel Hemric as first time PASS South winners in 2013. Fogleman edged out Moore to finish third, in front of Roger Lee Newton, Trevor Noles, Brooks, Brandon Ward, Grissom, and Jared Irvan in the top 10.
In the PASS Pro Late Model division, points leader Trevor Noles took the lead at the drop of the green flag and never looked back for his sixth win of the season. Erik Nash finished second in front of Kodie Connor, fast qualifier Austin Reed and Kerry Lawrence.
In other feature racing action, Gary Young, Jr. edged out Jonathon “John Boy” Brown, and Josh Nichols in the CCS Modified division. Ryan Mackintosh held off Kyle Beattie and Ryan Shattuck to win the Legends feature.