Son Not Quite Like Father as D.J. Shaw Wins White Mountain By Matt Kentfield
PASS North Rookie Wins Second Race Using Different Path Than His Dad
Throughout the 1980's and 90's, Dale Shaw was one of the toughest competitors in New England short track racing. His hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners attitude won him plenty of races in the Pro Stock and NASCAR Touring ranks in the Northeast. That same attitude also made him plenty of enemies along the way.
Shaw is not afraid to share some of those stories and many in the PASS North pit area, where his son currently competes, were around also when Dale was the notoriously rough driver in New England.
Fast forward to 2008, where D.J. Shaw is continuing the family's winning ways in the New England racing ranks. The apple did not far too far from the tree, as D.J. is a Late Model track champion at White Mountain Motorsports Park and won his first-ever PASS North Super Late Model in a race at Wiscasset Raceway (ME) earlier this year.
But, the apple did fall far enough away that the rough-and-tumble ways of his father did not transfer to D.J. Instead, the 17-year-old Shaw is far more patient and calculating inside the car and shy and reserved outside of it.
On Saturday, using a different style than his old man, D.J. Shaw won his second career PASS North race at the same place, White Mountain, where he locked up a Championship in the weekly Late Model ranks and his father won a PASS North race on the same night back in 2006.
“There are a lot of comparisons, but this one is definitely special,” said D.J. in White Mountain victory lane. “That night was a pretty special night in my racing career, but this one is pretty good too. It's tough to say which is better.”
For Dale Shaw, it's easy to name which night is better.
“It doesn't get any better than this,” said Dale. “This is D.J.'s home track and he's really wanted to win here. He has tied my career PASS record already, too. I only had two PASS wins, now he does too.”
Inside the car Saturday night, D.J. Shaw patiently worked his way up from his mid-pack starting position. On the tight White Mountain oval, passing is not easy to do, but Shaw made it look easy as he precisely picked off spots to eventually get to early leader Travis Kittleson's bumper. Kittleson led Shaw through heavy lapped traffic during the middle portions, but for nearly 80 laps, Shaw waited for the right time to pounce.
While D.J. was patient in the car, his father on the radio was anything but, just as he was back in the day inside the car.
D.J. Shaw in victory lane. (Jamie Williams Photos)
DJ Shaw (#60) races with Travis Kittleson (#20) for the lead.
“I knew that Johnny, Benji and Travis had good cars,” added Shaw. “I knew I had a good car and I would have to be patient to get by Travis, but it's pretty special to be able to hold off a guy like him and Johnny Clark. Travis has done a lot in his racing career and Johnny's always tough, so it was good being just a little bit better than those guys tonight.”
Clark, who started 12th, took his time getting to the front using a similar strategy as Shaw. Rather than using the car up early, Clark patiently made his way to the runner-up spot at the finish in one of his best runs at White Mountain in his career.
“Starting 12th, you don't really have a choice (but to be patient,” said Clark. “You can't just burn your stuff up going to the front. As of lately, I've just let the 50 laps play out, get the easy ones, but take it easy otherwise at the start of the race. Basically, when I pulled into fifth, that's when we had a real long green and I had never intended on going by Benji and then Cassius (Clark). I was just going to wait until the next restart and start fifth. But, I got to their rear bumpers and got by them.
“I really thought we had something for Travis and I thought we'd have something for the #60 (Shaw), but we just ran out of right-rear tire.”
The early race dominator, Travis Kittleson, impressed many in the Jay Cushman-owned #20 at White Mountain, starting on the pole, leading laps 20 through 119 and maintaining a fourth-place finish at the fall of the checkers.
“We had a good run going and thought we had one in the bag, but with about 40 laps to go, we went green and the car started to get pretty tight,” said Kittleson. “It lost quite a bit of forward bite. Once the tires cooled off, I had the bite, but the car wouldn't turn.”
Ben Rowe's third-place finish, combined with Johnny Clark's runner-up run and Travis
Benjamin's ninth-place finish have closed an already tight points battle to even tighter. Now, Rowe and Benjamin are locked atop the standings with Clark only nine markers behind going into the PASS 400 weekend at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway this weekend.
PASS North super late model DJ Equipment 150
White Mountain Motorsports Park
North Woodstock NH
September 13, 2008
1) 60-DJ Shaw (R), Center Conway NH Precision JLM Ford
2) 54-Johnny Clark, Hallowell ME Clark’s Cars Crushing Chev
3) 4-Ben Rowe, Turner ME Hancock Lumber Ford
4) 20 – Travis Kittleson, Mooresville NC Cushman Competition Ford
5) 8 – Cassius Clark, Farmington ME E.J. Prescott Ford
6) 98-Adam Bates, Warner NH Weaver Bros Construction Chev
7) 88 Russ Hersey, Swanzey NH Twin State Truck Chev
8) 72 Mike LaVoie, Precision JLM Ford
9) 17-Travis Benjamin, Morrill ME Irving Oil Ford
10) 44 – Trevor Sanborn, Parsonsfield ME Hancock Lumber Ford
11) 35-Derek Ramstrom, W. Boylston MA W. Boylston Auto Parts Chev
12) 7W-Donnie Whitten, Wells ME Monster Energy Chev
13) 53 – Alan Wilson, Hebron ME
14) 47-Kelly Moore, Scarborough ME NAPA Auto Parts Chev
15) 33-Richie Dearborn, Hollis ME Chadwick BaRoss Chev
16) 01-Joe Decker, Chesterville ME Polymer Repair Tech Cadillac
17) 09-Jeremy Davis, Tamworth NH Whittier Service Center Chev
18) 22-Harry Olson(R), Salisbury MA Olson Heating and Cooling Ford
19) 85 Nick Ribbe, Kingston MA
20) 04-Jamie Swallow Jr,Stark NH IBEW Local 104 Dodge
21) 14m-Matt Frahm, Salem NH WDW/Lambert Roofing Chev
22) 25J-Gunnar Josselyn, Farmington ME On The Edge Chipping Chev
23) 4E-Ruch Eaton, Seabrook NH Jones Financial Network Chev
24) 11 – Scott King , Jay ME Paper Trade Assn. Chev
25) 17A-Scott Alexander, Orrington ME Weber Energy Chev
Johnny Clark (#54) and Ben Rowe (#4) also made it on the podium at White Mountain.
“When I used to race stock cars, I used to be tired at the end of the night. But when my boy races stock cars, I am wiped out at the end of the night. I'm worth nothing. I'm just emotionally drained.
“It's awful nice to have a driver unlike myself that doesn't have to fight his way out of the racetrack after a win.”
Rather than use the bumper to get by Kittleson, Shaw waited until just the right time, coming on lap 120 of the 150-lap race, to make the move as the leaders worked lapped traffic.
“The lapped traffic was definitely tough,” said Shaw. “It was tough getting by those guys. We split some lapped traffic at one point, but we were able to get through the traffic a little bit better than everyone else. That definitely helped us out and that helped us get us the lead.”
Once on top, Shaw's work for the night was far from over. With lapped traffic in his way every lap, precision passes of the slower cars was essential as some of PASS North's best were breathing down his tailpipes down the stretch.
Kittleson remained second for a while, but his car wound up slipping back to fourth late in the race, allowing championship contenders Johnny Clark and Ben Rowe to take turns chasing Shaw. But, in the final 20 laps, the rookie Shaw worked through the traffic with the expertise of a veteran, never allowing Clark or Rowe to close to within more than a couple of car-lengths.
D.J. Shaw after the WMMP event.