Over 170 cars signed into the pits for heat races and four 50-lap features.
First up were the Mini Trucks, which saw the top four drivers to cross the finish line get disqualified for various rules infractions. When the dust settled, Rick Hebert in the #19x Toyota was awarded the victory. The #51 Speed51.com truck of yours truly finished 22nd in the 36-truck field after developing fuel system problems.
In the Stock Fours, it was Derek Cairns who brought his #87 home for the victory over Troy Jordan and Jerry Goss.
Bob Washburn won the Stock Eight class over Nick Coates and Travis Stearns.
But it was the Ladies who did it with the most style. The final feature of the night was for the full-sized Ladies class, where Dottie Patria crossed the finish line backwards to beat Tina Titus for the victory.
PASS 400 WEEKEND: FRIDAY NOTES By Mike Twist
Double Duty for Racers of All Ages, Whitten is Back and More
There was a healthy field of Super Late Models that rolled through the pit gates on Friday morning at Beech Ridge for the PASS 400 weekend (300 laps for the PASS North SLMs and 100 laps for the PASS Outlaws in addition to several support races).
Although more cars are expected on Saturday, all of the major players were there on Friday including the top 10 drivers in PASS points, Canadian drivers John Flemming and Patrick Laperle and former NASCAR Busch North champions Dave Dion, Kelly Moore and Brad Leighton.
Part-timers Walt Hammond, Billy Penfold and Scott Mulkern were also there for practice as was Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) Pro Stock champion Jeff Taylor, True Value Modified two-time race winner Tony Ricci (in a second Cushman Competition car), Beech Ridge regulars Curtis Gerry, David Oliver and Bill Rodgers, as well as the ageless Stan Meserve.
Jeff Taylor's #88t goes out to practice Friday at Beech Ridge. (51 Photos)
Practice went clean and green for the Super Late Models on Friday, with no wrecks reported.
WHITTEN IS BACK IN THE SADDLE
Donnie Whitten has been absent from the driver’s seat since he finished sixth in PASS North points last season. In the meantime, he has been helping out Beech Ridge regular and PASS North part-timer Curtis Gerry.
For the PASS 300, Gerry rolled out a second car for Whitten to hop into and get back on track again.
“It’s really good to be back,” said Whitten. “I think that when you sit out for most of the season, it’s kind of like starting over when you get back. It usually comes back pretty quickly though. It takes a few laps to get your feel back, but it’s almost like riding a bike.”
Normally, sitting out of a racecar for 11 months would mean that a driver would be behind the times when it comes to the ever-changing set-ups that work and don’t work. But Whitten has been busy helping out Gerry and has been able to keep current on the latest technology.
“The last few years things have changed quite a bit, but I don’t think that this year things are terribly different. I’m
pretty much running what Curt had in the car and trying to make that work. I don’t know if it is going to. Different driving styles matter sometimes. He’s fast so far and I’m not, so we’ll have to figure something out.”
Most of all, Whitten is having fun being back in a car.
“It really is. You miss it when you’re not doing it. When you’re doing it every week sometimes it’s frustrating, so I’d like to find a nice balance with a partial season. Most of us can’t afford to run the whole season anyhow.”
DOUBLE DUTY FOR WILLIAMS
Running 300 laps in the longest PASS North event of the season isn’t enough for Corey Williams. His #47 team brought two cars to Beech Ridge this weekend – one to compete in the PASS 300 with and the other to run the 100-lap PASS Outlaw race in.
Rowe came over and hopped into the seat of the #88, leading the pit area to wonder if he might enter the Outlaw event with the carte-motored car.
“I don’t know,” said Rowe. “We’re going to try it out and if we are competitive, we might do it. We’re just going to see how it goes.”
The deal that might put Rowe in two cars this weekend just came about this week.
“Mike [Lux] called me a day or two ago to see if we should try it out and I said sure,” said Rowe. “We haven’t run it since Sanair and I wrecked it there.”
And even though Rowe is in his fifties, he’s up for the challenge of running 400 green flag laps in one afternoon.
“Oh yeah,” he laughed. “I’m just a young pup.”
TARDIFF REMEMBERS HIS GRANDFATHER
Earlier this month, Loren Provencher – Grandfather to PASS rookie Alan Tardiff and pre-rookie Trevor Sanborn passed away. Although he is gone, Provencher is not forgotten thanks to decals placed on the cars of both of his grandchildren.
Mike Rowe climbs into the #88, which might run as an Outlaw Late Model this weekend.
Alan Tardiff's #8t carries this decal on its dash.
Tardiff is also a little bit more motivated to log a good to honor the memory of his Grandfather.
“We’re looking to get a top five or maybe a win for the memory of my Grandfather,” said Tardiff. “He’s been there for me for everything that I’ve done in my life and my career. Right from High School on up – from graduation to the fact that he never missed a race. It’s tough to know that he won’t be there. He’ll be there in our heart
MIDWEEK SHOW PROVES SUCCESSFUL
The PASS 400 weekend got started off on Thursday night, with a midweek special for four classes of entry level cars that normally race at both Beech Ridge and the nearby Oxford Plains Speedway.
Donnie Whitten on track with the #7w.
“We figured that we would get the other car ready to go and have some fun with the Outlaw guys,” said Williams. “So far today, it’s been handling well. The Super Late Model is going well to, so we are looking forward to a good weekend.”
With both races scheduled for Sunday afternoon, that means a long day of racing for Williams and that’s fine with him. There is nothing that he would rather be doing.
“It’s going to be the most laps that I’ve ever done, so it’s probably going to take a pretty good toll on me. But I’m up for it. As long as we’re out there racing, I’m having fun.”
…AND FOR MIKE ROWE TOO?
Williams might not be alone when it comes to doing double duty on Sunday. Late Friday afternoon, a pick-up truck and open trailer pulled into the pit area at Beech Ridge with the Mike Lux-owned #88 Late Model on board. The ACT-style car had last been raced by Mike Rowe at Sanair at the beginning of the summer.
The #47 Outlaw (background) and #47 Super Late Model (foreground) will both be wheeled by Corey Williams on Sunday.