PASS 400 Weekend Saturday Notes by Mike Twist
All of the News From Beech Ridge On the Eve of the Biggest PASS North Race of the Season
The Shaws pull onto the track for their heat races. DJ Shaw won in his #60 over Dale Shaw in the #23. (51 Photos)
DJ WINS BATTLE OF THE SHAWS FOR PASS 300 POLE
DJ Shaw will start Sunday’s 300 lap PASS North Super Late Model portion of the PASS 400 weekend on the pole, thanks to his strong performance in Saturday’s first heat race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME).
DJ Shaw started alongside his father Dale on the front row of their qualifier after DJ was very lucky in drawing both family numbers in a blind draw. Dale Shaw, a veteran of many heat race draws in open shows all over New England in his career, admitted to being a bit nervous before DJ reached in and drew the numbers, but somehow the teen defied all odds and grabbed the two best places.
DJ also proved to be just as talented when it came to driving. At the start of the heat race, he blew away his father and jumped to a lead of nearly an entire straightaway. At the line, it was DJ Shaw, followed by Dale.
“It was fun,” said DJ Shaw. “He [Dale] didn’t have as good of a car in the heat, but it was still fun. We were just going to try and take it easy with each other. The top five cars qualified, so there was no sense to bang off each other for first and second when everyone made it.”
Sunday’s race will be the longest event so far in DJ Shaw’s young racing career. He’s only moderately excited about starting on the pole though. What he’d rather do is to finish well.
“It’s pretty neat I guess,” said DJ. “This is good, but I’d rather be there at the end, so hopefully we can be.”
EACH HEAT WIN HAS A STORY BEHIND IT
The three other heat race winners on Saturday also had interesting storylines as well.
Kelly Moore won the second heat race from the pole. He’s turned laps at Beech Ridge in just about every kind of racecar throughout his career and was born and raised in the track’s hometown of Scarborough. Even today, he still calls Scarborough home and the family business, RC Moore Transportation, is headquartered about a mile from the track.
Mike Fowler, who won the third heat race, is pulling double duty with the same car on
Sunday. He’s running the 75-lap Outlaw Late Model feature and then the PASS North SLM show with the same Outlaw-bodied #66x car.
Ben Rowe won the final heat race of the day. He’s the defending winner of the PASS 300 SLM event.
Mike Fowler's #66x. (51 Photo)
A NEW…UH, OLD…LOOK FOR GARY SMITH
Gary Smith had new colors on his #75 Super Late Model. But actually, they weren’t really new at all. The paint scheme was actually borrowed from a Pro Stock that Smith ran at Unity Raceway back in 1992.
The car, which then had Buick Regal bodywork, was one of Smith’s favorite rides. It started out as a championship-winning car at Speedway 95 in 1985 and passed through the hands of many different owners throughout the years. It still races today as well, in the hands of Dough Day at Speedway 95.
“We did this to change our luck,” said Smith of the paint scheme. “It didn’t work.”
Gary Smith's #75. (51 Photo)
Smith struggled the heat races, consi and last chance race. He did not qualify for Sunday’s feature.
DNQ LIST IS STOUT
Unfortunately, Smith has plenty of company when it came to SLM competitors who left Beech Ridge early.
A window net did Brad Leighton's #55 in, while Dale Verrill's #56 Late Model was strong, but not strong enough, against more powerful racecars. (51 Photos)
Also not making the show were Brad Leighton, Alan Tardiff, John Fleming, Kevin Kimball, Dale Verrill, Curtis Gerry and Paul White.
Leighton suffered from having to start in the rear of the field during his consi race. The window net of his #55 Steve Perry-owned machine came down during the pace laps and he stopped on the track to re-attach it. Race officials penalized him for working on the car under caution and sent him to the tail. The ground was just too much for the two-time NASCAR Busch North champion to make up.
Tardiff also had to start at the tail of the field for his consi. He actually crossed the finish line in a transfer spot during his heat race, but was DQ’ed for too low of a ride height. The team reported that measurements taken in their pit before the race did not jibe with those taken in the infield immediately after the heat race. The official measurement stood, so Tardiff also had too much ground to make up.
Dale Verrill ran respectably in his #56, which is actually an Oxford Plains Speedway ACT-style Late Model complete with LM powerplant and Koni shocks. It finished second in the TD Banknorth 250 and almost made the field in the Beech Ridge SLM show.
Four drivers were close to not making the show, but got a little bit of help. Richie Dearborn grabbed the sole transfer spot in the 15-lap last chance event on Saturday evening. Trevor Sanborn and Derek Ramstrom used PASS North provisionals and Bib Bilodeau was awarded the Beech Ridge weekly competitor provisional, thanks to his 2007 track championship.
ROWE MOWS ‘EM DOWN
Mike Rowe has won races in just about any type of race machine through his illustrious career: Super Late Models to Busch North cars to Modifieds. After this weekend, he can also add a victory in racing lawnmowers to his resume as well.
Rowe won the Friday night PASS drivers feature at the North Saco Pathfinders Lawnmower Races. He was driving a #24 John Deere prepared by SP2 Mowersports and team Pluffybilt.
Rowe’s competition for the race included his son Ben, Cassius Clark, Johnny Clark, Richie Dearborn, Travis Benjamin, Chris Kennison, Alan Tardiff, Scott Chubbuck and Tony Ricci.
The race was scheduled to run 20-laps, but was shortened due to a large number of cautions. Cassius Clark and Tony Ricci both flipped their machines in separate incidents. Johnny Clark got the move of the race award of the night though when his tractor cleared the guardrail between the backstretch and the pits, landed wheels down and kept going. Clark never appeared to lift at all and rode back on the track, only losing two positions.
Mike Rowe admitted that it was a wild ride, and also revealed to Speed51.com that his first victory on a tractor will also be his last.
“I’m retired from lawnmower racing,” Rowe said at Beech Ridge on Saturday. “That was a once in a lifetime thing. It was fun, it was neat, but that’s for the young guys.”
Rowe’s #24 actually visited victory lane twice on Friday night. After he won his race, Brad Leighton’s PASS North car owner Steve Perry won the 75-lap stock tractor feature with it. Perry’s win was enough to secure the 2007 track championship over Bruce Plouffe as well.
This writer also took part in the fun. My #51 mower lost its left front wheel on the final lap of the B-Main, and somehow I managed to keep it going through turns three and four to cross the finish line in second place to earn a transfer spot. I then drove the same #8 that Cassius Clark used earlier in the night to a ninth-place finish in the feature. Like Cassius, I also flipped the #8 tractor and like Cassius, I was also able to keep going to the finish after getting my machine tipped back on its wheels.
WINK WINS IN WILDCATS
In Saturday evening’s marathon 75-lap feature for the Wildcat/Strictly Stocks, Dan Wink survived to win with his #53 machine over Wiscasset Raceway regulars Maurice Young and Dave Brannen.
The racing at Beech Ridge actually got started on Thursday night, with the running of four 50 lap features for entry-level type racecars and racetrucks.
In the four-cylinder Truck feature, Tony Field held off Marvin Hamilton and Ray Letellier for the victory. Todd Lovejoy kept Craig Smith and Adam Ricci at bay in the Mad Bomber/Outlaw 305 V-8 feature. The 350 V-8 feature for the same type of racecar went to Richard Spaulding over Steve Moon and Nick Coates. Finally, the four-cylinder feature was won by Josh Childs over Scott Farrington and Kurt Hewins.
Several PASS drivers raced mowers, but none better than Mike Rowe (Center). Later in the evening, Steve Perry won a championship. (Bottom). (Scott Poulin / Pluffybilt.com Photos)