Mayberry opened the awards ceremony with words of appreciation for his staff and the racers themselves who put on the show.
“I appreciate all the support during a tough season,” said Mayberry. “We didn’t get much cooperation from the weather this year, and I know it made it hard for all of us. But because you all showed patience and dedication, we managed to have another successful season of racing.
“When I look back at where this all started and realize how far we’ve come, it’s pretty impressive,” continued Mayberry. “Interest in what we do continues to grow, from tracks wanting to host races to teams wanting to come race with us. I think the competition we have in our Super Late Model division is second-to-none, and I’m thrilled with the car counts and quality of racing in our Outlaw Late Model division. There are several new Modifieds being built out there, and I think 2007 will be strong for that class, as well. Overall, PASS remains very healthy and our outlook for the future is bright. All of this is because of the great show you guys (race teams) put on week-in and week-out. I’m looking forward to more of the same during the 2007 season.”
Mayberry then moved on to present several special awards as the ceremony continued. First up was Cassius Clark, who was selected as Most Improved Driver. Clark, of Farmington, Maine, earned a series-high five wins in 2006, along with four runner-up finishes. His Team EJP/Chapman Racing Ford Fusion was the hottest thing on wheels for much of the season.
Next to be recognized was veteran Alan Wilson, recipient of the Hard Luck Award. The Hebron, Maine, native was competitive at every venue in 2006, yet tough luck prevented him from reaching Victory Lane. Wilson is one of the most respected and easy-going drivers to ever sign in at the back gate. He is a quiet man who lets his performance speak for him.
51's NORTHERN EXPOSURECompiled by Mike Twist
Star Sold, PASS Celebrates, ACT Adds a Race and Unity Closes Out Their Season
Johnny Clark, Chris Staples, Derek Ramstrom, Jimmy Rosenfield, and Matt Lee were all recognized as champions in their respective divisions. The top 10 drivers from the Super Late Model, Modified, Outlaw Late Model Central, North, and Combined divisions were honored, along with the presentation of several special awards. The evening was capped by music and dancing as race teams celebrated their 2006 successes.
After the crowd of 300-plus had enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner from the staff at Verillo’s, PASS president Tom
PASS HOLDS 2006 BANQUET
Five different drivers from across the northeast were honored for their achievements Friday evening, as the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) officially crowned its 2006 points champions at Verillo’s in Portland, Maine.
This year’s Sportsmanship Award went to two teams, both of whom exemplified giving to others in times of need. Johnny Clark Motorsports and Cushman Competition were the co-winners for 2006 after working tirelessly on two different engine swaps for other teams during a recent trip to Nova Scotia. Members of these squads worked hard to ensure their rivals could race against them. Their efforts did not go unrecognized.
Jack Gerbrands of Northern Race Tires was presented with a Special Appreciation award for his many contributions to PASS racing. Jack provides quality American Racer tires for all PASS divisions, and the efforts of his staff are greatly appreciated each week. The Commitment to Excellence award for 2006 went to Norm Marx. The Dracut, Massachusetts, resident does a world-class job in his capacity as official photographer and Webmaster for PASS. Mayberry spoke of Norm’s dedication to maintaining the constantly-updated Web site, and how his action photos are second-to-none. Marx is indeed a valuable asset to the sanctioning body.
Next up was the Lifetime Achievement Award, given this year to Mike Rowe. The short track legend from Turner, Maine fell just 31 points shy of his first PASS North title, and leads the PASS South standings with just the Mason-Dixon Meltdown 250 lap race at South Boston Speedway, South Boston, VA on November 24th and 25th remaining. Rowe has won just about every major race ever run in the northeast, some more than once. He is truly a living legend.
Besides the battle for the championship each year, another focus of attention is how the rookie drivers fare throughout the season. Troy Morse was recognized as 2006 Rookie-of-the-Year in the Modified division, while Alan Tardiff was recipient in the Super Late Models. Both drivers showed tremendous potential and determination all season long.
Rosenfield, of Middleboro, Mass., was recognized as Central division champion in the Outlaw Late Models, while Lee, of Albion, Maine, claimed the North division title. Ramstrom, the teenage sensation from West Boylston, Mass., earned the combined title in his first year driving a full-bodied race car. At just 15, Ramstrom has an incredibly bright future in this sport.
Staples had a fantastic season in the Modified division, and recognized his entire team for their efforts in helping him earn the title. The Brunswick, Maine driver will return to defend his crown in 2007.
Capping a wonderful night of celebration, Johnny Clark received a standing ovation from the crowd as he received his second PASS North Super Late Model championship trophy in three years. The Farmingdale, Maine driver was emotional as he thanked all those who made the achievement possible.
“We struggled in the first couple of races this year,” said Clark. “I didn’t think we could ever climb back into contention, but we pulled it off. I’d like to thank everybody on this team for digging in and keeping their heads up. We got things turned around, and this championship means the world to me. It takes a ton of work and a little luck to get here, I’m proud of this group and what we accomplished. I hope to come back and do it again in 2007.”
The 2007 PASS North Super Late Model season will kick off on April 21 at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. A complete schedule, featuring roughly 13 points-paying races will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, go to www.proallstarsseries.com.
Derek Ramstrom was the top Outlaw for 2006. (Norm Marx Photo)
STEFANIK TO APPEAR ON SPEED
Mike Stefanik, who just wrapped up his seventh Whelen Modified Tour and ninth overall NASCAR Championship, will be a featured guest this Sunday, November 12th on SPEED Channel’s Wind Tunnel With Dave Despain. Stefanik’s 2006 title ties Modified legend Richie Evans’ record for most NASCAR Championships. The 48-year-old driver will be interviewed live via satellite from the teams race shop in Palmer, Mass.
“This seat has been reserved for guys like John Force, Jeff Gordon, Nicky Hayden, Tony Stewart, and guys like that, so this is quite an honor to be asked to be on the show. This is big glitz and glitter, and I’m flattered.”
The Coventry, Rhode Island native posted one win, ten top-five, and 15 top-10’s throughout the 2006 campaign. His closest rival, Ted Christopher, allowed Stefanik and the Eric Sanderson-owned Flamingo Motorsports team to all but wrap up the title following the next to last race at Thompson International Speedway when an on-track altercation took Christopher out of the race and out of contention for the crown. Stefanik completed the Stafford season finale with a 209 point advantage over Eddie Flemke.
Despain will talk with Stefanik about his long and victorious career, and will get his thoughts on tying the record with Evans, who, before his untimely death in 1985, was a friend and mentor to Stefanik.
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain can be seen Sunday, November 12th on the SPEED Channel (check your local listings for station number) at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
STAR SPEEDWAY SOLD
Pro Stock/Super Late Model driver Bobby McArthur has purchased New Hampshire’s Star Speedway. The new owner is planning upgrades to the track including Upgrades such as new bleachers, pit shack, cement pads, new bathrooms and a play area for children.
MacArthur also plans to bring back weekly Pro Stock/SLM racing to the quarter-mile oval.
An informational meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn at the Portsmouth circle in N.H. on Tuesday the 14th of November ,any one interested should attend, rules and divisions will be presented at that time, time is from 6:00 to 10:30P.M. with coffee and appetizers at 6:00 to 7:00. The Holiday Inn is located off exit 6 off of I-95 in N.H. Any questions regarding the speedway and the sale of the speedway can be discussed with Bobby MacArthur at 978-815-2305 or RACETEAM55@AOL.COM.
ACT ANNOUNCES ANOTHER DATE
The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) announced today (Wednesday, November 1), the addition of a high paying race to the 2007 ACT Late Model schedule. For the first time in the Series’ history, the competitors will travel to the 3/8th mile Kawartha Raceway (Peterborough, Fraserville, ON) for a 200-lap event on Saturday, September 15th.
Mike Stefanik will be on TV this weekend.
The 2006 PASS North championship team of Johnny Clark Motorsports. (Norm Marx Photo)
“That’s awesome news!” said enthused six-time and 2006 ACT Champion Jean-Paul Cyr, “I’d have to say that Kawartha is one of my favorites – it’s smooth and fast – a real racy track. Its configuration allows you to run hard. That race will be a whole lot of fun.” Cyr, along with a couple of other ACT Tour competitors, attended a couple of races at the wide, semi-banked speedplant in 2005, competing with the area’s top Late Model teams as an experiment in integrating the Ontario Late Model rules with those of ACT.
Mark Lamberton of Mooers Forks, NY was another of the ACT drivers to venture to the Canadian speedplant in 2005, “Kawartha is a great track, plus, other than Airborne, it’s the closest track to where I live, which will make for an easy commute,” he stated. The fifth place
finisher in the 2006 standings continued, ”The facility is awesome – it’s fast, smooth and the pits are nice. We had a great experience there. The only problem I had was getting my parents out of the casino!” Kawartha Raceway is located in a unique setting – on site there is a casino as well as a 5/8ths mile Euro-designed standard bred horse track which encircles the stock car track.
“We were pleased with the initial results of last year’s experiment but the timing was not quite right,” commented Derek Lynch, promoter at the suburban Peterborough venue. He continued, “There is a changing complexion among Late Model racing in eastern Ontario which opens the door for ACT‘s business model of highly competitive yet affordable racing. This newly announced race will only enhance the race experience for the hometown drivers as they go head-to-head with the best that ACT has to offer from throughout New England and Quebec.”
“A Super Series race at Kawartha Raceway will create an even playing field – very few of us have been there. Most of the tracks ACT races on are in New England and Quebec. They have been around for a while so few have progressive banking. While it’s fun to drive, it’s a challenge to get the car set-up,” Cyr explained. “Plus, ACT keeps bringing big money races to our Tour and that is great. This will probably be the highest paying stock car race held in that area in years and should bring lots of good race teams from all over.. Introducing the ACT rules in Ontario is good for racing in the Northeast – they’re the best out there – and it will help the keep the ACT expansion rolling,” he finished.
BURGESS IS TOPS AT LONGJOHN 150
Unity Raceway closed the 2006 racing season in New England Sunday. Despite the cold temperatures racers showed up in full force.
The White & Bradstreet Mini Stocks and the Sun Auto
& Salvage Mini Trucks combined for 50 laps of excitement.
Winter Harbor?s Justin Trombley took advantage of his
front row starting spot and never looked back leading all
50 laps. Lance Chapman of Fairfield had difficulty in
lapped traffic while running second and became the meat
in the sandwich of two back markers. The incident ended
Unity Raceway track champion, Carl McAlpine of
Burnham started the race almost all the way to the tail
of the thirty one car field but was able to get into the top five in the caution filled first half of the race. After getting into the Top five McAlpine had to pit for a flat tire and try to come back up through the field. McAlpine would have to settle for third.
Justin Drake of Dover-Foxcroft was stinking up the Coca-Cola Late Model Pro Four race until fewer than 10 laps to go. Drake had motored to a ¾ of a track lead on the field and had put the fifth place car down a lap when a lapped car spun in turn two right in the path of the leader. The wreck took out both cars. Benton?s Jim Dennis inherited the lead on the restart and never looked back on route to his first win of the year. He was followed across the line by 2006 Champion Steve Rackliff, who was able to do a belated championship celebration donut on the front stretch, and Dick McPhail of Fairfield.
”Cowboy” Dan Trask won the Budweiser Wildcat finale. Mike Short followed him across the line second and Mike St. Germain finished third.
Unity Raceway Sunoco Super Street Champion, Nate Weston of Madison took the hard way to victory lane in the 100 lap finale. Weston spun early and lost his clutch sending him to the tail of the field. Early on it was the Ricky Burgess and Mike Landry show as the two swapped the lead a few times. Burgess spun out of second spot in turn one and then it was Robert Green and Landry for the lead. Green?s car was very strong and looked like he would win the event until he spun out of the lead with just a few laps to go. Then it was Weston?s turn at Landry as he had worked his way back to the front. The Champion would not be denied and took the win with no breaks or clutch. Landry finished second. Burgess was able to make his way back to the front even though he also had clutch problems. Burgess wound up third.
It was the St. Clair show in the Limiteds. Dave “Boss Hogg” St. Clair and Puncin St. Clair. Dave took the early lead but Puncin was able to take it away on a restart. Puncin looked like the car to beat until he had a flat tire and had to pit. While Dave St. Clair was cruising away with the lead Puncin St. Clair was racing his way back to the front.
Puncin got to third when the final caution flew. Then it looked like ha may still have a shot at the win. While battling for second Puncin got into the marbles in turn two and did a 360 and kept going. He did lose two spots on the save but was able to recover for third. The win went to Dave St. Clair and Nick Reno finished second.
Oakland’s Jeff Burgess was only challenged once during the Long John 100. Brian Whitney was able to get beside him but unable to complete the pass. The two ran nose to tail for the entire event. It was the first win of the year for Burgess and Whitney’s best finish in a Pro Stock.
The ACT Late Models have added another race for 2007. (51 Photo)