Leftovers: PASS North at Thompson by Mike Twist
Big Track, Big Stories
Trevor Sanborn's #29  (Norm Marx Photo)

Things were a little bit different and a little bit similar for Trevor Sanborn at Thompson.  It was the first time that the young Maine driver had ever raced at the track, but his string of strong finishes didn’t suffer at all for it.  In fact Sanborn’s debut was nothing short of stellar.  He finished second to Ben Rowe and seemed to learn his way around the 5/8th-mile oval in no time.

“I definitely did [figure the track out quickly],” said Sanborn.  “It seemed natural to me.  I think that it’s harder to get used to tracks like Unity and Bangor than it is to get used to this place.  I like speed, so it was just fun for me.

“We’re going home second and in one piece, so that’s pretty good.”

Sanborn has not finished outside of the top six in any race since May’s event at White Mountain.  Does his recent roll mean that the rookie driver has found plenty of chemistry with the #29 Cushman Competition team?

“It’s that and Jay Cushman just has some awesome equipment,” said Sanborn.  “It’s great stuff and I’m glad to be driving it.”

Mike Rowe’s team didn’t have much time to relax between their heat race and the feature at Thompson.  Clutch problems surfaced during the qualifier, which meant Rowe had to start at the rear for the feature and that the team had to work overtime just to get the car ready.

Neither problem really mattered much in the long run though.  Rowe finished a strong third in the race.

“We lost a clutch there in the heat race, but the crew did a great job,” said Rowe.  “It was a little bit loose off, but we came up from the rear and still got to third.  I wish that we could have started near the front, but we didn’t, so I’m happy with that.”

Rowe’s relationship with car owner Paul Watts, crew chief Seth Holbrook and a crew that includes long-time mechanic Buster Bean is so good that not only did Rowe not have to worry about the car before the race – he didn’t have to be involved in fixing it either.

“We’ve got a good relationship.  Seth and the crew did a good job.  I went up to watch the Limited [Late Model] race when they were fixing the car.  I let them do all the work because they do such a great job.  I don’t even worry about it.”

Richie Dearborn is the kind of racer who is real easy to miss.  He doesn’t sling his car sideways, beat on the guy in front of him or make spectacular passes for position.
The Watts team goes to work on their #2 car.  (51 Photo)
What he does do though is finish well just about every time out.  Dearborn is a quiet guy both in and out of the racecar, but his style is very effective.  This time out, it meant a fourth-place finish at Thompson.

“That wasn’t bad,” said Dearborn.  “It was a good night for us with a top five again.  We got a little loose at the end of the race.  But overall, it was a good night.

“I was actually hoping for a top three.  We had a better car than that, but we loosened up at the end.  Somebody was leaking oil ahead of us at the end too.  But everyone had to deal with the same thing there, so I can’t complain about that.”

Dearborn is currently third in the PASS North point standings.


Rookie Adam Bates just seems to be getting better every single week.  At Thompson, he finished a career best fifth in his first time on the track.
Dearborn's #33  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
“It feels awesome,” said Bates.  “I figured out this track pretty easy for some reason.  I love this place now.  Driving down the straightaways was the hardest part when I first got here.

“Hopefully, this gives us some good momentum heading to Antigonish next weekend.  That would be a real good race to do well at.”


Joey Porciello wishes that the PASS North race at Thompson was only 74 laps long.  He was running fourth in the final circuit when a wheel broke on his #04 machine.  That sent the rookie hard into the backstretch wall.  He was uninjured, but the car couldn’t boast the same fate.  The frame was hurt badly in the wreck, including some extensive damage to the all-important center section.

Joey Porciello got into the wall hard (Top - Rick Ibsen Photo), which heavily damaged his #04.  (Bottom - Jamie Williams Photo)
“I’m fine,” said Porciello.  “I was coming out of turn two and I heard a pop and then I was into the wall.  I thought that it was a tie rod or a tire.  But actually, the guy parked next to us – his rim split in the race.  So as soon as they towed the car in, he came over and we found that my rim also split at the same spot.  That sucked.”

Before the wreck, a top five finish was almost certain for Porciello.

“I dropped back, then came back up to fourth.  We were loose in the heat race and tightened it up in the feature.  It was good.”


Rick Martin looked to be good enough to possibly win the race at Thompson, and definitely finish in the top three.  But he too had wheel troubles.  Fortunately though, his only resulted in an unplanned pit stop and a finish of 12th, rather than a trip into the concrete.

“We had a little problem with the wheels there.  I thought that I had a flat on the second restart and instead, it was a cracked wheel.  It started to vibrate when I was in second place.  Then the #29 [Sanborn] came and it started to get worse.  I backed off and went to the back hoping for a cause.  It came at the right time and we pitted.”

Martin only runs a limited schedule of PASS North events, but he’ll be back in action on July 28th, when the tour visited Riverside Speedway (NH).

“We’ll be racing in two weeks.  We’re still in one piece, so we’ll be there.” 


Johnny Clark was running fourth and gaining on the leads when the caution came out on lap 57 for a spin by Norm Wrenn in turn four.  When the fans looked up, there was more trouble than Wrenn’s turnaround.  Clark also had trouble and was planted hard into the turn one wall.

Was it the case of someone not paying attention and running into the back of Clark under caution?  No.  It was more of a simple coincidence that the caution came out at the same time.  Green or yellow – Clark’s fate had been sealed.

“The caution came out, but I was already in the wall with a flat tire,” said Clark.  “It didn’t matter.  I just went into turn one and had a flat right rear.  She came around and hit driver’s side first.  It knocked the motor off six inches.  There’s a lot of work to do.  I have my other car apart with the body half hung on it.  It was redoing it and I guess it was the wrong time for that because it was all ready to go.  Now this one is all apart too, so we’re going to have a lot of work to do in the next four or five days to get to Antigonish.”