Two-Track Double-Header Weekend to Kick off PASS North Season
PASS North Racers Getting Right Back At It With a Busy Weekend
It’s a racer’s dream and a team’s nightmare – two races in one weekend.
After sitting idle since their 2006 season concluded at Unity Raceway (ME) in October, the PASS North Super Late Model teams now have a busy weekend ahead of them with two events on consecutive days. First up is this Saturday’s season-opener at Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and Speedway 95. Teams will race in Southern Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon and then head up the Interstate a few hours to compete in another 150-lap event at Speedway 95, located just outside of Bangor, on Sunday.
Cassius Clark (Blue #8) and Alan Tardiff (Orange #8t) race early in last season's Speedway 95 event.
Can Clark back up his winning performances of last year? Time will tell, but his competitors already have their eyes on him.
“He’s good up there at Speedway, he’ll definitely be the one to beat,” said Ben Rowe.
But Clark isn’t focusing beyond race number one of the weekend yet. He knows that winning at Beech Ridge will provide plenty of momentum for Speedway 95.
“If you can win at Beech Ridge, you’ll be looking good for the next day,” said Clark. “We’ll be trying to win them both [again].”
The full weekend for PASS teams actually starts on Friday, May 4th, with an open practice at Beech Ridge for PASS North Super Late Model, PASS Outlaw Late Model and PASS Modified competitors from 3 - 7pm. On Saturday, May 5th, the Beech Ridge pit gates will open at 10am with practice taking place from Noon until 2pm. Racing will start at 3pm.
On Sunday, May 6th, there will be a 150-lap PASS North Super Late Model and a PASS Modified race at Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine. The post time for that event is 2pm.
So will that make competitors more cautious at Beech Ridge on Saturday? The jury is out on the answer to that question.
“For us, it won’t be bad because we’ll have a car ready for Beech Ridge and another one ready for Bangor,” said three-time PASS North champion Ben Rowe. “But if you have one car, you’ll have to tip-toe through Beech Ridge.”
Not everyone agrees, though. After all, these guys are racers, and they don’t really know much about running in low gear.
“Probably not,” said Tardiff when asked if he thought the drivers would be more conservative at Beech Ridge. “It’s the first race of the season. People are anxious to go racing, everyone wants to do well in the first race of the year, and they can’t wait to get on the racetrack.”
A number of Beech Ridge Pro Series competitors will enter the PASS North race, but that does not mean that they will have an advantage against the touring stars.
“We used to have an advantage over other people there, but as the races go on, everyone started to catch up,” said Tardiff, who raced weekly at the track before moving up to PASS. “There are more people who are on their game at “The Ridge” now than there were a few years ago. It should be a pretty close race.”
The Speedway 95 show should be just as exciting, as both tracks have a lot in common.
“Both tracks are similar in the way that we run our setups,” said Cassius Clark, who won the spring races at both tracks last season. “It will be a busy weekend, but we should be okay. There will be some routine maintenance. We might choose to skip a practice and go over everything. We’ll go back to our shop in Farmington after the Beech Ridge race, bring it home and go through it.”
Mike Rowe, showned here in his #24 last year at Speedway 95, is looking forward to some hard racing on both days of this weekend. (Norm Marx Photo)
Rain and flooding pushed the Beech Ridge race back from its original late-April date until one day before the scheduled race at Speedway 95. With a good forecast set for this weekend, it is going to make for a busy stretch for teams.
“It’s great,” said multi-time PASS victor Mike Rowe with a smile. “I just love it – racing twice in a weekend. Hopefully, we can get out of Beech Ridge with a good run and go up to Bangor and run well there. I like both tracks a lot.”
The tight schedule does put a strain on teams, with a trouble-free first leg of the weekend at Beech ridge critical to even making the starting field at Speedway 95.
“As a racer, it is good, but for a team is could be tough,” said 2006 PASS North Rookie of the Year Alan Tardiff. “If you can make it through the first race without any trouble, it should make for a good weekend. If something happens and you get torn up at Beech Ridge, it could make for a very long weekend.”