Speedway 95 Victory Ends Dearborn's PASS North Dry Spell by Mike Twist
Good Luck for Benjamin, Clark vs. Dearborn and More Notes as Well
Before the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North Super Late Models headed to Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine, on Sunday, Richie Dearborn had finished second in a race this year. He’d also finished third…and fourth. The Hollis, Maine, driver has been strong in just about every race, and consistent enough to place himself in the middle of the battle for the championship.
Dearborn started on the outside pole and led early. Meanwhile, a pair of Clarks were busy advancing through the field. PASS rules dictate that any current season race winners need to start outside of the top 10, and since the unrelated Johnny Clark and Cassius Clark had both visited victory lane in 2007, they started deep in the field.
Cassius Clark got to Dearborn around the 50-lap mark of the race and tried to take the lead by sliding under Dearborn’s #33 car. The first attempt at a pass didn’t stick. The second attempt did not completely work either. But when Dearborn got trapped behind a lapped car. Clark got by for the lead. At that point, Clark pulled away to a straightaway lead. Johnny Clark also got by Dearborn, who slipped to third, but maintained his race pace.
That left rookie Trevor Sanborn and veteran Scott Chubbuck left to challenge Dearborn for the victory. Sanborn made the show an exciting one by passing Dearborn for the lead with 10 laps to go, but a caution on lap 143 closed up the field and Dearborn retook the point on that restart.
“We were battling hard,” said Sanborn. “The fans saw a good show and it was fun for me too.”
Sanborn had to settle for a close second at Speedway 95 with Chubbuck, Ben Rowe and Travis Benjamin in tow to complete the top five.
“The car stayed about the same the whole race,” said Dearborn. “I tried not to use the car up too much at the beginning. I knew that Cassius and Johnny would be coming from the back. I saw them coming and I didn’t let them go, but they were faster than us at the time and got by. Something happened to them at the end of the race and we got lucky and won the race.”
Cassius Clark’s day went south when he suffered from a fuel pick-up problem on his #8 machine. Johnny Clark had a flat tire on his #54 and finished 13th.
Several others who spent considerable time in the top five during the race also had misfortune. Rookie Adam Bates had a top-three run going went he had a flat tire. Sam Sessions had a tire go flat and then took a hard trip into the turn one tire barrier. He was okay, but his day was ruined.
Richie Dearborn (C), Trevor Sanborn (L) and Scott Chubbuck (R) shared the podium at Speedway 95. (Norm Marx Photo)
But one thing was missing. Dearborn had not been able to win a race on the tour in 2007. That was until Sunday, when he took the top spot for the first time since September, 2005, at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH).
“It had almost been two years and we’ve finally got another one,” said Dearborn. “We’ve been running good all year long. Last weekend we finished 12th, and that was our worst finish all year. We’ve been very consistent.
“We’ve had a bunch of seconds and thirds and last weekend we had a 12th-place finish. I’ve been thinking all week that I might have forgotten how to drive. It’s a tough deal. But if racing was easy, everyone would be doing it.”
Racing at Speedway 95 is anything but easy. Drivers either seem to love the track or hate the place. Dearborn probably fell into the second group until this weekend, and he surely didn’t expect to break his winless streak there.
“I would have never thought so,” said Dearborn. “This is the last place I expected to win. We usually go good at places like White Mountain and Star. This is our first flat track win and I can’t believe it.”
Dearborn's #33 (51 Photo)
The win at Bangor allowed Dearborn to inch closer to Ben Rowe’s point lead, but that fact was one of the last things on his mind in victory lane.
"Everyone keeps asking about points, but we’re not thinking about that. We can’t say that we aren’t in it for points because we’ve been to every race, but we’re here to win.”
In other PASS action at Speedway 95, Gary Norris held off a charging Chris Staples to win the PASS Modified feature. Troy Morse finished third.
The PASS North Super Late Models return to action on Saturday, September 15th, at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
DEARBORN AND CLARK HAVE HEATED BATTLE
Richie Dearborn and Johnny Clark raced each other hard as the laps clicked down at Speedway 95. It looked like the race might be decided between those two before Clark had a flat tire and dropped out of the top 10.
But their battle for the lead might have been a bit two intense. There was some bumping and banging and not everyone was happy about that.
Richie Dearborn (51 Photo)
“Richie was fighting hard for his first win of the year, but it might have been too hard,” said Clark. “I didn’t appreciate him running me the way that he did. He thinks that I’ve raced him like that, but I don’t agree with him. We’ve raced hard, but I’ve never body-slammed him like that and I never will.
Dearborn, who is known for being a quiet guy on and off the track, isn’t playing the role of Mr. Nice Guy at all times this season.
BUSY WEEKEND FOR THE SMITHS
Speedway 95 is the home track for Gary Smith and his son, sometime crew chief and sometime teammate Jeese Smith.
On Saturday night, both Smiths raced each other in the weekly event at Speedway 95. Gary ended up finishing second in the rain shortened race, with Jeese finishing fourth.
“Two cars in the top five wasn’t too bad,” said Jeese Smith.
Things could have even gotten better on Sunday, but bad luck interfered. Gary Smith got up to sixth place before having a flat tire. Then he got caught in a backstretch skirmish which torn the nose off the #75 car. Smith ended up finishing 18th.
BENJAMIN IS SURPRISED WITH A TOP FIVE
The Speedway 95 race was not going well for Travis Benjamin at all. He struggled all day long
just to stay on the lead lap. A flat tire and spin dropped him a lap down late in the race.
Things we not looking good for his #17 team as the race got nearer to its completion.
But somehow, Benjamin’s fortunes changed. Another chain of events left him with a fifth place
finish. He was surprised to say the least.
“That was a win for us definitely,” said Benjamin. “We spun there with about 20 or 30 laps to go.
Then we got the lucky dog to make up a lap and I almost stayed back there, just so I didn’t
wreck the car. The next thing that you know, we were fifth. I don’t know how, but we’ll take it.
I’d rather be lucky than good any day.”
Benjamin knows a thing or two about that since he is basically the poster boy of bad luck in
PASS North. But those days might be behind him after the recent birth of his son Kaiden.
“Finally, some of the other guys have having a little bad luck,” said Benjamin. “I’ve got my good
luck charm now. I shouldn’t tell you what it is, but I have a picture of Kaiden on my keychain.
Since I’ve had that, we’ve been in the top five for every race.”
PASS North Super Late Models
Speedway 95 – Hermon, Maine
August 26, 2007
1. Richie Dearborn
2. Trevor Sanborn
3. Scott Chubbuck
4. Ben Rowe
5. Travis Benjamin
6. Paul White
7. Derek Ramstrom
8. Mike Thomas
9. Curtis Gerry
10. Ryan Deane
11. Matt Eaton
12. Adam Bates
13. Johnny Clark
14. Steve Berry
15. Mike Rowe
16. John Higgins
17. Gary Bellefleur
18. Gary Smith
19. John Phippen Jr.
20. Cassius Clark
21. Sam Sessions
“I usually race everyone clean. This year, I’ve been giving a little bit back to them,” said Dearborn. “I don’t think that they like it. They are used to coming up on me and I’ll pull over and give them the spot. They don’t do that for me and don’t return the favor for me, so I’ve started to give a little bit back to them. I haven’t taken anybody out or that sort of thing though.”
ANOTHER RUNNER-UP FINISH FOR SANBORN
Rookie Trevor Sanborn finished second at Speedway 95. That sentence alone should be cause for any new driver to celebrate.
But for Sanborn, it was another podium finish without a win, in his very impressive first full season of PASS North racing. The young Maine driver keeps coming up a bit short of the biggest trophy, but expects that to change very soon.
“Things have not quite gone our way yet. It’s going to one of these times and we’re going to pull a win off.” Said Sanborn. “We struggled at Wiscasset last week a little bit. At Halifax, we were pretty good but we didn’t end up finishing up front. Now we’re got our game back together and we’re heading back to the front.”
CASSIUS’ HOPES RUN DRY
Cassius Clark is always strong at Speedway 95 and this time was no exception. He led laps and was running second when his #8 shut down and coasted around to the pits. After spending quite some time off the track, Clark did return briefly, but any hopes of winning were long gone. He finished 20th and the reason for that was a fuel problem.
“We were the class of the field, but I think that wreck last week knocked the fuel pick-up off the bottom there. We were running out of gas there because it couldn’t pick it up from the fuel cell. I think that is what the problem was. That is what we figured out, but oh well…shit happens.”
ANOTHER PODIUM FOR CHUBBUCK
In last week’s PASS North race at Wiscasset, Scott Chubbuck finished second. This week, he notched another podium finish with a third-place result.
“That wasn’t bad at all,” said Chubbuck. “We’re happy. Usually we do pretty good up here and we did today. We were a little bit loose in the heat and we thought that it was going to get worse for the feature, so we took out a spring rubbers in the left rear and it was tight the whole race.”
Chubbuck was strong early on and then faded. Near the end, he worked his way almost up to the lead. Was his car getting better? Not necessarily.
“I think that they just came back to us. We were running the same pace all day.”
Next up for Chubbuck will be Sunday’s Peterbilt 250 at New Brunswick International Speedway. Chubbuck won the prestigious open Pro Stock/Super Late Model race in 2005 and would like to repeat that fete.
“We’re headed up there on Thursday. We won’t have much to do to the car. Hopefully, we can win another one up there. We’re going to try.”
SESSIONS GOES FOR A BAD RIDE
Sam Sessions ran in the top five for much of the early going at Speedway 95, but a flat right front tire led to a chain of events that ended his day on lap 91. Sessions attempted to avoid having a caution come out by limping back to the pits under his under power. That didn’t work though and his #1 Crete Carrier machine went sailing off the turn one banking.
Sessions’ car ended up sitting on top of the tire barrier and it needed two wrecked to be removed. The result was a 21st-place finish. Sessions was uninjured in the wreck, but his car was very heavily damaged.
BAD LUCK FOR BATES
Adam Bates ran in the top five for most of the race, even getting as high as third at times. But with less than 15 laps to go, a flat left front tire ended the rookie’s chances of a great finish. Bates had to pit for fresh rubber and finished 12th.
Has this little guy been bringing the #17 team good luck? (51 Photo)
Sessions' mangled Crete #1ccc machine. (51 Photo)
Clark's #8 was fast, but it didn't make it to the end of the race. (51 Photo)
Johnny Clark (#54) wasn't happy with richie Dearborn. (51 Photo)