RICHMOND, Va. – Austin Reed and Mike Hopkins split Pro All Stars Series super late model wins in the inaugural PASS Commonwealth Classic Saturday afternoon at Richmond Raceway.
“The crew made some awesome adjustments at the halfway break and then the car was on rails,” said Reed after the biggest win of his career. “To win at Richmond is just amazing. I can’t believe we won yet, but I can’t wait for it to sink in.”
In qualifying, both PASS Crate pole sitter Ray Christian, III and Corey Heim, the PASS Open fast qualifier, were quicker than Kevin Harvick’s pole time at Richmond last fall, with Heim posting a lap of 126.152 mph.
Heim jumped to the lead at the start for the PASS open super late model race, while Tate Fogleman settled into second. The car on the move early was Matt Craig, who started sixth, but moved past Fogleman for second on lap 30.
The two made slight contact at the exit of turn two causing damage to the right rear of Craig’s Camaro. Craig was able to repair the damage during the competition caution on lap 40.
On the restart, Craig appeared to get the advantage on Heim entering turn one, but Heim would rocket back by him down the backstretch. The battle for second between Craig and Fogleman would heat up again, literally. As Fogleman looked ready to take the position, a fire would erupt from under the hood of his car to bring out the second caution of the night on lap 48.
Following the restart, Craig continued to struggle a bit as Ben Rowe looked to try and take second. But, after the two made contact in turn three, Jared Irvan was able to jump up to the outside and pass both of them for second. The fastest car on the race track, though, was Austin Reed as he was making his way up from the rear of the field.
Reed would take second from Irvan with three laps to go, but would run out of time as Heim led flag-to-flag to apparently take his first PASS super late model win. However, in post-race inspection, Heim’s car was disqualified, handing the win to Reed.
Irvan would finish second, followed by Craig, Rowe, and Augie Grill. Rounding out the top-10 were Eddie MacDonald, Derek Griffith, Eddie Van Meter, Mike Wallace and Kyle Reed.
In the PASS crate late model, Christian jumped out to the lead from the pole. After a caution for debris from Garrett Hall’s machine on lap 10, Martin Latulippe was able to grab the lead from Christian on the restart. It would be short-lived though as Christian reassumed the top spot three laps later.
The caution would wave again on lap 24 when Hall slammed the turn four wall after spinning in fluid from the car of Reid Lanpher.
Prior to the competition caution on lap 40, Hopkins would snag the lead from Christian. Just two laps after the restart, Christian would move back by to take the lead. Christian looked to be driving away for the win, but would fall off the pace with just 12 laps to go with mechanical issues.
Hopkins moved back up front and led the rest of the way for his second career PASS win over Jake Johnson, Matt Craig, Latulippe, and Gabe Brown.
Rounding out the top ten were Ben Rowe, Kyle Reed, Devin O’Connell, Dan McKeage, and Derek Ramstrom.
“I can’t believe that we just won at Richmond,” said Hopkins in victory lane. “We really struggled with the car yesterday in traffic, but we put our heads together and worked on the car and it handled flawlessly today. I’m honestly a little emotional, this is just awesome.”
Joey Polewarcyzk Jr. was the American-Canadian Tour winner and Matt Hirschman was the tour-type modified victor, while Jason McDowell took the MASS Street Stock win and Daniel Bentley claimed the NEMST Mini Stock win.
PASS Crate Late Models: Mike Hopkins, Jake Johnson, Matt Craig, Martin Latulippe, Gabe Brown, Ben Rowe, Kyle Reed, Devin O’Connell, Dan McKeage, Derek Ramstrom, Bryan Shipp, Travis Benjamin, Bryan Kruczek, Ray Christian III, Reid Lanpher, Garrett Hall.
PASS Open Super Late Models: Austin Reed, Jared Irvan, Matt Craig, Ben Rowe, Augie Grill, Eddie MacDonald, Derek Griffith, Eddie Van Meter, Mike Wallace, Kyle Reed, Ray Christian III, Brandon Watson, Kodie Conner, J.P. Josiasse, Collin Garrett, Martin Latullipe, Tate Fogleman, Travis Benjamin, D.J. Shaw, Corey Heim (DQ).