Jay Sands, Mike Fowler, Zig Geno, Mike Thomas, Tim Turner, Jimmy Renfrew, Chuck Colby, Brad Bellows, Matt Lee, Ben Erskine, Donnie Lashua, Katie Hagar, Walt Hammond and Joe Decker.
RANSTORM AND CAR TO DO DOUBLE DUTY
Derek Ranstrom will have to run the consolation races for both the SLM and Outlaw shows on Friday night. Like Corey Williams, he is doing double duty at Beech Ridge.
Unlike Williams though, Ranstrom is trying to do it with the same car.
PASS 400 WEEKEND: SUNDAY RAINOUT NOTES By Mike Twist
The Big Races Were Supposed to Be on Sunday, But Rain Gave Us Heats Instead
PASS NORTH HIT BY RAIN AGAIN
As has been the case too much this year when it comes to racing in the Northeast, rain was the story of the PASS 400 weekend.
Thursday’s support events and Friday’s practice sessions went off without a hitch, but Saturday’s practices and heat races were a complete wash. On Sunday, the PASS North Super Late Model heat races were run under dark clouds and just moments after the checkered flag flew in the third heat race, the skies opened up and a hard rain fell.
“I can’t believe that we spent three days here and only got to run a 20-lap heat race,” said defending PASS North champion Ben Rowe. “But they got more in than I thought that they would. You can’t blame them for trying.”
Rain was the story of the day on Sunday. (51 Photo)
A new schedule calls for consi races to now be run this Friday night, along with a 75-lap Strictly/Street feature and a PASS Modified show. The 300-lap main event is now slated to take place Saturday afternoon. The previously planned PASS North race at Riverside Speedway (NH) set for Saturday night [which ironically was rain-delayed from June] has now been completely cancelled.
A WHORFF, A ROWE AND A CLARK…
No, that isn’t the start of a cheesy joke. As far as we know, a Whorff, a Rowe and a Clark did not walk into a bar on Sunday.
“The car was pretty good,” said Whorff. “I feel bad for the #91 car [we’ll have more on that later]. I think that Jeff Taylor was a little bit better than us. I saw him in my mirror coming and he was looking pretty good. My car was good from the first lap and it was pretty comfortable.”
In addition to Whorff and Taylor, three other drivers also secured starting spots for the PASS 300 thanks to top fives finishes in the first heat race. Those drivers were Bill Penfold, Dave Dion and Johnny Clark.
In the second heat race, Jeremie’s father Bill Whorff, Jr. started on the pole, but had to settle for second-place behind a rocketing Ben Rowe.
“The car is good,” said Rowe, who finished second to Cassius Clark in a PASS North race at Beech Ridge earlier this month. “The car was good two weeks ago. It’s just a matter of being good on long runs for us. We changed sway bars for that heat race and we’re going in the right direction.”
Also earning 300 starting spots in heat race number two were Stan Meserve, Alan Tardiff and Bubba Pelton.
In the final heat race, Cassius Clark started on the outside of the front row and dominated the 20-lap event.
“We just started up front, got a good spot and rode around,” said Clark “Everything is going good.”
Finishing in Clark’s wake, but still earning starting positions for the 300, were Mike Rowe, Donnie Whitten, Scott Mulkern and Travis Benjamin.
LAPERLE HAD A PLAN OF SORTS…
It had already been decided before the heat races lined up that the main event for the PASS 300 would be postponed until next race. The skies were just too threatening and the schedule too tight for everything to run on Sunday.
PASS regular Corey Williams, Oxford Plains Speedway Pro Stock regular Charlie Colby, OPS Late Model runner Dennis Spencer, Jr. and Massachusetts veteran Jimmy Rossenfield (who is also going to attempt to qualify for the PASS 300 with his same car) all won their qualifiers.
Also locked into starting spots for next weekend’s 100 lap feature will be Marty Emerson, George Fernald, Jr.,
BEST OF THE OUTLAWS
Over 40 cars were on hand for the 100-lap PASS Outlaw event at Beech Ridge. On Sunday, four heat races were held with a mixed bags of winners.
Patrick Laperle (#91) spins at the bow of Jeremie Whorff's #00. (Top - Norm Marx Photo). Laperle shows that he wasn't happy about it after climbing out. (Bottom - Jamie Williams Photo)
Corey Williams (#47) and Zig Geno (#57) both made it into the PASS Outlaw feature. (Norm Marx Photo)
“I was pretty sure that I was clear,” said Laperle. “He ran into my rear bumper and spun me. After three days of being here, to have that happen three laps into a heat race makes me sick. We did three laps and I had three doughnuts on the side of my car. I was sure that he didn’t want me to pass him, but that didn’t need to happen. I’m going to remember that one for sure.”
“I feel bad for the #91 car,” said Whorff. “He ended up cutting down a little bit early and I didn’t get on the brakes soon enough. He ended up spinning. I’m sure that he’s a little upset at me for that, but it’s part of the racing deal.”
The wreck sealed Laperle’s fate for next weekend though. His Super Late Model is going to be repaired for November’s Mason-Dixon Meltdown at South Boston Speedway, but won’t see the track before that Thanksgiving Weekend event.
“No, no, no,” said Laperle when asked if there was any way that he could be back at Beech Ridge. “We’re not going to be back next week for sure now.”
Bill Whorff, Jr. (#0x) leads Ben Rowe (#4) in the second heat race. (Jamie Williams Photo)
This presented a big problem for Patrick Laperle. Next weekend, he’ll be at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) racing in the ACT Late Model Milk Bowl. Since he’s the defending winner of that event, Laperle planned to choose that race over Beech Ridge in the event of a conflict.
Regardless though, he was running the heat race for the PASS 300 for two reasons – because it was a race and to keep his options open just in case.
“We’ve been here since Friday, so we want to race [something],” said Laperle, while getting ready for his heat race. “We’re doing it pretty much for fun, but we’ll see. If it rains at Thunder Road, we’ll come back here. You never know. It’s always raining, so we’ll see.”
…BUT IT DIDN’T WORK OUT
Laperle almost had a lot of fun in his heat race. During the first three laps, he ran side-by-side for the lead with polesitter Jeremie Whorff. Entering turn one on the third lap though, the two made contact. Laperle spun around and tried to motor out of harm’s way. He got hit head-on by Chris Kennison though and wiped out the front clip on his #91 machine.
Patrick Laperle buckles in and looks forward to his heat race at Beech Ridge. (51 Photo)
“We decided that we would try to do this a long time ago after we started to run some PASS North races and got a few good finishes,” said Ranstrom. “We wanted to try and do the 300 and get some more experience.”
Going back and forth between two divisions isn’t easy, but the teenager is well prepared for it.
“It was kind of crazy, but I’ve prepared for it during the week. I drank a lot of fluids and ate good foods. I’m ready for it and I love it.”
Ramstrom needs to make a few more adjustments before hitting the track Friday night though.
“We just ran the heat races and the car felt pretty tight. It was good all day, but something went wrong.”
WHO IS THE FAVORITE?
When it comes to handicapping the field for the PASS 300, there are a couple of names that seem to stand out.
Jeremie Whorff won the TD Banknorth 250 back in July and has been adapting well to PASS North competition and Cassius Clark has won six times in PASS North this season – including at Beech Ridge. So does that make these two drivers favored in Saturday’s race?
“I don’t know if we are (a favorite), but I hope so,” said Whorff. “The crew has done a hell of a job and they’ve worked hard to get me here. Hopefully, I can make the fans happy and put on a good show. The crew has stepped it up, I’ve stepped it up and the whole program is excellent now. Hopefully, we can bring home a win.”
“There’s a bunch of them, but I don’t think anyone is going to turn their back on us,” said Clark. “We’ve got a good car that’s for sure.”
And while Whorff and Clark will be strong, neither driver will have an easy time cruising to a top finish in the PASS 300. At least not if guys like Ben Rowe, Mike Rowe, Johnny Clark, Scott Chubbuck, Dave Dion, Travis Benjamin, Jeff Taylor, Corey Williams, Richie Dearborn, Brad Leighton or Alan Tardiff have anything to say about it.
NO MAIN EVENT, BUT POINTS STILL GET TIGHTER
Even though the Beech Ridge race was postponed by rain, the championship fight for the PASS North title got even closer at Beech Ridge. The tour awards a small number of points for heat races and with Mike Rowe finishing second in his, compared to Johnny Clark’s fifth place effort, the point lead got smaller. Clark now leads Rowe by 16 markers, as opposed to the 19-point advantage that he had before the heat races.
One position in the top 10 even changed hands at Beech Ridge. With his heat race victory, Cassius Clark edged ahead of Corey Williams for the seventh in the standings.
Points are now an even more valuable commodity because there will be one less event on the schedule with the Riverside event being dropped. Three races are now left to decide the 2006 champion.