The Cushman Competition team with driver Scott Chubbuck has found themselves showing the way in the championship chase – and they weren’t even planning on running every single race during the season.  The team has committed to running the Irving Oil 250 at New Brunswick International Speedway and was planning to skip the scheduled PASS North race at Quebec’s Autodrome Montmagny which would practically take the team out of championship contention.

Then came the rain.  Last Sunday’s PASS North event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway was pushed back a week and four Northern teams who were planning on racing in the PASS South “Over the Mountain 150” at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) on the same day.  Mike Rowe, Corey Williams, Cassius Clark and newbie Jeremie Whorff all had a tough choice to make.  All four were planning to run both races on back-to-back weekends and now had to decide which race suited their plans better.

But then someone started reading the rulebook and things got very interesting.
According to PASS rules and procedures, a team can have a substitute driver for one event.  This means that Rowe [who leads the PASS South standings and is third in PASS North], Chubbuck and Benjamin now have a shot at the title still.  It also meant that the decision to race down South or chase points was a little bit easier for Williams and Cassius Clark.

“In the first year of PASS, they were getting all of the procedures down pat,” recalls Cushman.  “They based a lot of things on the car owners because they support the tour and pay the bills.  They talked about changing things to being more centered on the drivers this past off-season, but they only changed the provisional rules.  The actual money [and seemingly the championship]
DRIVER SUBS TO BE ALLOWED IN PASS by Mike Twist
Northern Point Chase Gets Interesting and A Little Bit Confusing
The 2006 season has been a little bit of a strange one at times in PASS North Super Late Model competition – and when it comes to the points race, it is about to get even stranger.

First some background…like how the usual suspects for a championship fight haven’t been in the driver’s seat this time around – well so far at least.
to live with ourselves afterwards.  If Mike was hurt and we needed a substitute driver for our team, it might be a different story, but not under these circumstances.  We just wouldn’t feel right about it.

“We’re going to Hickory this weekend to support the PASS South race.  We’re not going to Beech Ridge at all.” 

-  Corey Williams will race at Beech Ridge in Sunday’s PASS North race there, skipping a trip to Hickory.  His team plan planned to do both races on their original back-to-back weekends.

-  Cassius Clark will race at Hickory, with Dale Shaw driving the #8 car at Beech Ridge as a substitute.

-  The Whorff Motorsports AAA Insurance team will split their resources this weekend – Jeremie Whorff will race in the PASS South event at Hickory while his father Bill, Jr. will run the PASS North event at Beech Ridge.
goes to the car owner.  About 99 out of 100 times, it’s the same team and driver.”

But 2006 could been the 1-in-100 exception to the rule.  By using a sub for the race in Quebec, Chubbuck could still be in the title fight.

“I don’t necessarily agree with the rule or the interpretation of the rules, even if it does benefit us,” said Cushman.  “But you can’t plan for everything or make things perfect for every situation.  No matter what you do, there will be a downside to someone and that can’t be helped.”

So in the coming few races, there will be a few line-up changes in PASS North.  Those are:
-  Mike Rowe will race as scheduled this weekend at Hickory.  His SP2 Motorsports team will field the #24 on teammate Brad Leighton’s Irving Oil entry at Beech Ridge. 

Correction/Update:  Reports of Brad Leighton driving as a substitute for Mike Rowe are not correct.  There will not be a #24 entry for this weekend’s PASS North race at Beech Ridge – at least not one having anything to do with SP2 Motorsports.

“We can’t have anyone else do our work for us,” said SP2 co-owner Scott Poulin.  “At first we thought about doing something, but we all talked and we don’t want to try and win a championship that way.  It’s a stupid rule and we are not going to take advantage of it.  We’ve got
Just weeks before the season started, defending champion Ben Rowe changed rides.  While his new home of Richard Moody Racing has been fast many times in 2006, they’ve also been luckless.  Meanwhile, Johnny Clark and Mike Rowe have struggled by their lofty standards at times.  Clark won the Atlantic CAT 250 and both men have been incredibly consistent.  They are ranked second and third in the standings respectively, but they are both used to winning – a lot.  Cassius Clark has won more often than not this year.  All but one race that he has finished, he won.  The one that he didn’t win, he was second in.  But a rash of engine problems and a points penalty for a rules violation at Thompson has left him out seemingly out the points chase.
Mike Rowe (#24) and Cassius Clark (#8) need to be in two places at once this weekend - one driver will be according to the rulebook.  The other won't be.  (Norm Marx Photo)
-  Cushman’s team will run Chubbuck at the Irving Oil 250 in New Brunswick in two weeks, while also fielding a car for Tony Ricci in the PASS North event at Autodrome Montmagny.

This could make the fight for the PASS title fight could get very interesting in coming weeks.

Travis Benjamin gave up his shot at a top five points position last season to race at New Brunswick.  This year, he was planning on running every single PASS North race to ensure that he stays in the top five (he is currently fifth).  This new interpretation of the rule took him and his team by surprise.

“I don’t think that it is right,” said Benjamin.  “For a driver
Mike Rowe's SP2 Motorsports team decided to do what they feel is right for this weekend - which pretty much ends their chances of winning double PASS championships.  (Norm Marx Photo)
Scott Chubbuck's #29 team wasn't planning on running the full season - or leading the points either.   (Norm Marx Photo)
Johnny Clark is the one who is most impacted by the points changes.  But he's not complaining.  He just wants to win his second PASS title on the racetrack.  (Norm Marx Photo)
to get points, I think that he needs to race.  We were going to go to Montmagny and we would have moved up to third in points there.  Now we might try to do something different.  We don’t know.  We might go back to New Brunswick and figure something else out.”

The driver most impacted by this is Johnny Clark, who would have inherited the point lead if Chubbuck skipped a race.  But Clark isn’t too concerned about the fine print.  He wants to beat Chubbuck head-to-head.

“I don’t understand the rule,” said Clark.  “I read it, but I was confused.  I don’t even know if a lawyer could figure it out.  But with six races left in the season, we’ve got plenty of time to catch Chubbuck.  My goal is to win the championship and that’s it.  If it’s our year, it’s our year.  If it’s not, it’s not.” 

Speed51.com will be on hand at Hickory and Beech Ridge this coming Sunday to bring you all of the stories from both events.