51 Leftovers: PASS North at Beech Ridge
Catching Up With Dearborn, Rowe, Doiron, Bates and More
By Mike Twist
Richie Dearborn  (51 Photo)
DEARBORN DELIVERS WHEN IT MATTERS MOST

Richie Dearborn spent most of the Beech Ridge PASS North race in the bottom half of the top ten.  But as the race clicked closer to its end, Dearborn put the power down.  A combination of pacing himself and a few opportunities created by late race incidents put Dearborn as the third place runner when the checkered flag dropped on the race.

“I kept getting the tires hot and I couldn't go and couldn't go.  So I figured that I would ride for a little bit,” said Dearborn.  “I didn't think that we were going to have a caution, but they kept coming out there at the end.  I felt that I could go for a few laps before the tires got hot.  I gave it all that it had and went for it.”

Dearborn had a birdeye's view of the battle for the lead between Adam Bates and Johnny Clark over the final few laps.  A tangle between those two leaders could have resulted in a Dearborn victory, but the quiet driver from Maine didn't want to win one that way.

“They were just racing hard just like anyone else would with six laps to go.  I'd rather win with a dominating car, but I'll take them however they come.”

Dearborn got his racing start at Beech Ridge and lives just a few towns away from the track, yet it is not a place that had been kind to him lately in the PASS North ranks. Dearborn has won at places like White Mountain, and Speedway 95, but success close to home has been elusive.

“This is like a win for us down here,” said Dearborn.  “We used to go good in the Late Models here, but we just haven't with the Super Late Models.  But we're happy because there are no scratches on the car.  We'll get ready for Thompson and concentrate on that.”

BEECH RIDGE ENDS BETTER THAN IT BEGINS FOR BATES

Adam Bates ended the Beech Ridge PASS North race in victory lane.  But the start was a different story.  Bates started on the front row, but lost big ground to polesitter Kelly Moore on the initial start.

“I didn't plan to have a terrible start like that first thing,” said Bates.  “I'm just not used to being in the front row on those starts.  I spun the tires wicked bad.”

Bates recovered to run in the top three all night and take the lead late in the race to win.  He also took over the PASS North point lead.

ROWE RALLIES FOR A TOP TEN FINISH

Ben Rowe struggled during most of the running of the PASS North race at Beech Ridge.  There were points in the race where he wasn't even in the top 10.

“It was [a handful] the whole night,” said Rowe.  “We had what we had and it was just way too tight early on and I don't know why.  We were a tenth place car and we ended up there.”

Rowe did end up finishing ninth when all was said and done, but that wasn't before his race went from bad to worse.  Inside of 10 laps to go, Rowe got caught up in “The Big One” - a backstretch crash that included the cars of Scott Mulkern, Matt Frahm, Bobby Babb, Derek Ramstrom, Steven Legendre, Randy Turner, Nick Rabbe and John Dabrowski.

Rowe's car was heavily damaged.  Even under caution, it “crabbed” around the track with a rear end that didn't seem to want to follow where the front end was going.  But not only did Rowe press on, he dropped the hammer and even passed a few cars over the final few laps.

“I can't give up,” said Rowe.  “There was a guy ahead of me and I might catch him.  When you are points racing, you can't let off.  I was just hoping that it wouldn't break and that it would stay together because we got into the wall pretty good.”

With his ninth place finish, Rowe dropped out of the point lead after the Beech Ridge race.  Still, he's not down about that fact. 

“We can't complain because we won two in a row,” said Rowe.  “Every race can't always be a good one.”

DOIRON DAZZLES IN HIS DEBUT

Joey Doiron has been moving through the ranks of racing in Northern New England for the past few years.  He turned heads in the Sports Series at Beech Ridge, tested the waters of touring with the PASS Sportsman Series and then moved into Late Models.  This season, he's running most of the races on the ACT Late Model Tour and has a Super Late Model to run on occasion at Beech Ridge.  For the PASS race, he rolled out that Super Late Model and made his series debut.

Doiron's first race in PASS North went very well.  He stayed in the top 10 all night long and was positioned for a top five finish even.  But his car didn't want to cooperate.  Inside of 10 laps to go, it coasted into the infield without any life left in it.

“We think that we ran out of fuel or something happened where it stopped sucking it up.  We were running them down and I think that we had an easy top three,” said a disappointed Doiron after the race.

NO DOUBLE FOR DJ

D.J. Shaw had a big racing day planned for last Friday.  He was going to run the NASCAR Camping World East Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and then take a helicopter to Beech Ridge, where he was fighting for PASS North points.  But the weather didn't exactly cooperate.

Shaw made a successful debut in the Camping World East Series.  After electrical issues early in the race, he returned to the track and ran laps as quick as the leaders.  However, the weather between NHMS and Beech Ridge was nasty - with thunderstorms in the air.  So the helicopter couldn't take off as planned.

Shaw never gave up, making a last ditch attempt to get to the Ridge in time aboard a SUV, but the effort fell short.  As the green flag for the race came out, Shaw was still headed up the Maine Turnpike to the track.
Bobby Babb drove in Shaw's place and got caught in a late-race wreck with the #60 Super Late Model.  He was credited with a finish of 22nd.

As a result of missing the Beech Ridge race, Shaw dropped to 13th in the PASS North standings.

A BAD NIGHT FOR BENJAMIN

Things didn't start out well for Travis Benjamin at Beech Ridge.

“We sucked.  We were going backwards,” said Benjamin of his first few laps in the race.

Just a few laps later, things went from bad to worse and Benjamin was literally going backwards.  He got nudged on the backstretch and went for a long slide down the Beech Ridge back straightaway.  A light pole and dirt mound were in his path and Benjamin's #17 hit that set-up hard. He was okay, but his car was not.

“It got the front clip,” said a dejected Benjamin after the race.  “I'm getting sick of this year, that's for sure.  It's one thing after another.  I'm getting sick of getting run over.  That happened on lap eight.”

RAMSTROM REBOUNDS FROM LATE RACE WRECK

Derek Ramstrom was one of those involved in “The Big One” with 10 laps to go in the Beech Ridge race.  His crew sprung into action though and got Ramstrom back on track quickly.  At first it looked like a top five finish might have been the reward.  But scoring showed after the race that Ramstrom was a one lap down at the finish and he ended up 11th as a result.

“We had a flat tire, so we came into the pits and got back out.  It was good at end there and I don't know what we came out with because it was pretty wild,” said Ramstrom immediately after the race.



Kelly Moore and Adam Bates come out of turn four ready to start the race at Beech Ridge.  (Jamie Williams Photo)
Ten laps after this photo was taken, Ben Rowe finished in the top ten with this car.  (Jamie Williams Photo)
Joey Doiron's #73.  (Jamie Williams Photo)
D.J. Shaw's #60 gets ready to hit the track without D.J. Shaw on board.  (51 Photo)
Travis Benjamin buckles in at Beech Ridge.  It wouldn't take long for his race to turn bad.   (51 Photo)