Leftovers: PASS North at Riverside Speedway by Mike Twist
Trash Talking in Rural New Hampshire, Cassius is Back With the #8 and More
In this corner....Bill Penfold (51 Photo)
PENFOLD VS. BERRY – ROUND ONE OF MANY?
Early on in the PASS North race at Riverside, the #15 car of Stephen Berry and the pink #0 of Bill Penfold set the pace. Those drivers were running first and second though the first part of the event.
Some circumstances kept them from finishing that way, but the storyline between those two drivers easily made for the biggest fireworks of the night.
On a lap 63 restart, Penfold ended up sliding off turn two and he wasn’t the least bit happy about Berry’s role in making that happen.
“We had a great car and the #15 just drove me into the wall,” said Penfold. “The PASS officials never did anything about it. They didn’t make a call, so it screwed my race up.”
After the race, Berry admitted his mistake and then made a prediction.
“On that restart, Penfold and I got together,” said Berry. “I slid up and bounced him into the wall. Now I’ll have to deal with that for the probably the rest of my life.”
Berry might have been dead-on with that prediction.
“A mistake? He hit me so hard that he broke my rim in two,” said Penfold. “That’s not a mistake. The little bastard tried to wreck me. Quote this: the little f----- is never going to finish a race that I’m in. That was just plain dirty, cheap and rotten. He knew that I had a better car, [so] he just wrecked me.”
The lap 63 incident wasn’t the only one between the two drivers during the night. After going in and out of the pits to repair his damage, Penfold found himself crossed up with Berry on lap 112 as well.
The views on what happened there varied.
“I came back out and was running slow because my car was all messed up and the #15 dumped me again,” said Penfold. “The PASS officials still didn’t say nothing. That was twice that he wrecked me in one race and they didn’t do a thing. They are blind.”
“I tried passing him and he tried to run me off the track,” said Berry. “Then he slid up in front of me, tried to chop me to wreck both of us and he did.”
The squabbling was not just confined to the racetrack either. After the event, a few of Groveton, New Hampshire’s finest stood around Berry’s car, expecting a possible altercation. Penfold first visited the pit in his drivers’ suit, and was turned away. He came back in the general direction again wearing his street clothes and was noticed and turned away again. At that point, it was suggested that he packed up his equipment and leave.
In fact, when Speed51.com caught up with him to get a few comments on the race, Penfold got animated enough while retelling his story that an officer came over again to ask him to move on. We explained that Penfold was just talking and he was left alone to go about his business at that point.
BERRY CAN’T CATCH A BREAK
The incident between Berry and Penfold was especially unfortunate because it ruined the race for two drivers who have been quick all season long, but fairly luckless.
And in this corner...Stephen Berry. (51 Photo)
Berry is a rookie this year in PASS North, but he has won heat races and led multiple events. After getting damaged at Riverside though, he fell back to a finish of 13th.
“I don’t know what that [the incident with Penfold] did to the car,” said Berry. “After that, it went horrible and the left front went flat. We put a new tire on and it didn’t get any better. It tweaked something up.”
But Berry didn’t think that he had a car quite good enough to win the race anyways.
“I don’t think so. I thought that Trevor [Sanborn] had the car to beat all night long.
“We’re getting better, but our luck needs to change at some point. I don’t know what happened tonight to be honest.”
Berry's #15 (Norm Marx Photo)
DEARBORN MAKES MOST OF BENT CAR
Richie Dearborn finished third at Riverside. That wasn’t surprising since the Maine driver hasn’t fared worse than 11th at the finish of any PASS North race all season.
Dearborn (#33) races with second-place finisher Trevor Sanborn. (Norm Marx Photo)
What was surprising was the fact that his car was far from ideal for most of the race. An early incident left his with front end with suspension damage.
“On lap five, a car bounced off the wall and hit our right front,” said Dearborn. “So that wasn’t bad for what we had for a car. I think that we would have been a little bit better, but it’s hard to tell.”
Dearborn is one of the most consistent drivers in PASS North this season, but he really wants to be accomplishing something else on the track.
“All that I want is a win,” said Dearborn. “Everyone keeps talking about points, points, points, but we aren’t racing for the points. We want to win. It’s been almost two years since I’ve won and if we win, the points will take care of themselves. All that I want are some W’s.”
WELCOME BACK CASSIUS
It had been two races since Cassius Clark had driven the EJP #8 in PASS North competition. The team had lost a 50-pound weight break given to cars with a stock snout and took over two events after that change to the rulebook.
Clark did race at Antigonish, but in a different car than his usual ride. At Riverside, he was competitive again, but got caught up in some trouble and finished ninth.
“The car was awesome really,” said Clark. “But we had a hole in the tire and lost the power steering again. It all went down hill from there.”
“We couldn’t afford a big motor for Thompson and Antigonish, plus with this stock clip we couldn’t fit a dry sump motor in the car even if we borrowed one. So there was no sense in going to those places [with our car] and looking stupid. So last week, we drove a car for a guy from up there. It had a big motor in it.”
JOHNNY CLARK HAS WORST RIVERSIDE FINISH – A FOURTH!
Before Saturday night, two-time PASS North champion Johnny Clark had run three events at Riverside. He won twice and finished second once.
So finishing a career-worst fourth this time around might seem like a letdown, but considering that Clark started deep in the field because of PASS North rules that forbid a current season winner from starting a race in the top 10, that race wasn’t a bad effort at all.
“We started 11th and I’ve never started that far back here,” said Clark. “Every time that I won here, I started in the front five or six. We started 11th and that made a big difference having to come from the back. All of the good cars were in front of us and it was a tough race. Track position was everything.
“We came home in fourth and in one piece. We haven’t been able to say that in a long
time. We had a good race. I was fighting with Richie pretty hard and we were rubbing
doors in the last 15 laps or so. I lost the front end and everyone was fighting for forward
bite. I didn’t have any and I couldn’t stay in front of him.”
OUTLAW WILSON GUNS HIS WAY TO SIXTH
Alan Wilson moved from the PASS North Super Late Model Series to the PASS Outlaw
Late Model Series in 2007. The friendly low-buck racer did so to try and be competitive
at a lower cost. But the popular face has been missed in the pit area during his absence.
Thankfully, PASS North rules allow Outlaw-bodied cars to enter up to three SLM events in
a season, so Wilson decided to tow to Riverside and was rewarded with a solid sixth-place
“We’ve been bored and haven’t been doing much racing,” said Wilson. “We thought about going to Star the other week, but decided to come here and get some practice in for our race in August. Right out of the box, the car was really good. We were able to be competitive with them.
“I miss racing with these guys. They are great racers. They aren’t going to give you an inch, but they’ll race you clean. I enjoy the hell out of it.
“Now, we’ll go back to the Outlaw deal and we can run up to three of these [PASS North races], so we’ll be back. That’s’ the plan.”
STATS, FACTS AND RECORDS
By winning at Riverside, Kelly Moore became the eighth driver to win in both PASS Super Late Model and NASCAR Busch North/Busch East Series competition. The other drivers on the list are Dale Shaw, Mike Rowe, Joe Bessey, Ralph Nason, Tracy Gordon, Rick Martin and Ted Christopher.
Billy Clark has also victory lane in both series, but not in the same role. He won two NASCAR Busch North Series events in the late 1980’s as a driver and then guided his son Cassius Clark to victories in PASS North and South as a winning crew chief.
Dave Dion or Brad Leighton are the most likely candidates to add their names to the list of double-winners next. The two drivers have a total of 37 Busch North victories between them and currently run limited PASS North schedules.
With his victory, Moore also becomes the 30th driver to win a PASS North and/or South Super Late Model event.
RACING IN THE SPONSOR’S BACKYARD
Dave Dion has raced all across the land with the support of Berlin City Ford on his
familiar orange #29 cars for years. This marked the first time that anyone can
remember though that he has raced so near to his sponsor’s backyard. Riverside
Speedway is in Groveton, New Hampshire – a short drive from the mill town of Berlin
where Berlin City Ford got its start (Berlin City Dealerships have grown to now include
several different facilities in three New England states).
MOORE AND MAYBERRY GO WAY BACK
Race winner Kelly Moore and PASS President Tom Mayberry have known each other for
a long time – but not just in racing. Moore’s family business, RC Moore Transport, has
done business with the Mayberrys in the past and these days, Moore is very happy to be involved in the PASS North Series.
“Tom’s a good guy to race for,” said Moore. “He used to have a truck leased out to him from my company. I’ve known Tom and his father for a long time. I’ve also know a lot of the officials – Scott, Bruce, Tink and those guys for a long time too. They are a great bunch of guys to work with. I’ve known them because I’m an old fart. I’ve been around a long time.”
Cassius Clark's team had their work cut out for them at Riverside after a heat race wreck. They still had a fast car in the feature though. (51 Photo)
Johnny Clark had to work his way through traffic to get to the top five. (Norm Marx Photo)
Alan Wilson's #53 car. (Norm Marx Photo)
Dion's #29D Ford. (Norm Marx Photo)