MIDLAND, N.C. – Driving a car emblazoned with ‘Trump for President’ decals on the quarter-panels and painted like his father’s old NASCAR Winston Cup Series ride, second-generation hotshoe Jared Irvan topped qualifying for the PASS South super late models on Friday at Concord Speedway.
Amid a torrid battle for the series championship, Irvan blazed around the lightning-quick half-mile in 15.822 seconds (113.766 mph) to top a 26-car field ahead of the Mason Dixon Meltdown 125, part of the 14th annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout in memory of Charles Kepley.
The effort was Irvan’s fourth-career PASS South quick time and first of the season.
“When I ran that last lap (in qualifying), I knew that it felt pretty good and I knew that all I had to beat was a 16.0 … which was pretty much what I ran in practice,” Irvan said. “I figured if I ran a consistent run that it would be enough for the pole and it was. That scoreboard popped up a 15 and I knew we had it.”
“When you start up front it’s easier to save your stuff a little bit for later in the race, so we’ll try to make that our goal and use track position to our advantage. We’ve still got the redraw to go, but we’re really happy with the speed we’ve had so far.”
Local favorite Matt Craig, who enters Saturday’s season-ending race four points back of championship leader Kodie Conner, timed in second-fastest (15.910/113.136) at the wheel of his No. 54 CNC Boiler entry.
If Craig beats Conner, who timed in 22nd overall, by two positions or more on-track Saturday afternoon, he will clinch his first-career PASS South championship.
“It’s in the back of our mind, but first and foremost, we just want to go out and have a clean race,” Craig said of the title fight. “We had a good lap. 125 laps tomorrow is a long race though, so we’ll just take it one step at a time and it’ll shake out however it shakes out. I’m excited for it.”
All-time PASS South qualifying leader Preston Peltier piloted Roger Lee Newton’s No. 33 to the third-fastest lap ahead of reigning series champion Tate Fogleman and NASCAR Next driver Spencer Davis.
Clay Rogers, Dalton Sargeant, Christian Eckes, Josh Berry and Jake Crum rounded out the top 10 on the speed charts.
Those 10 drivers will redraw for their starting positions on Saturday prior to the 125-lap feature event, which kicks off at 2 p.m.
For more information on the Pro All Stars Series, visit www.proallstarsseries.com.
Audio with fast qualifier Jared Irvan: