Story By: MARK THOMAS / PRO ALL STAR SERIES – THOMPSON, CT – Reigning Pro All Stars Series North Super Late Model Champion DJ Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire outdueled fellow Granite State racer Derek Griffith of Hudson to kick off his title defense in winning fashion, prevailing in a thrilling 75-lapper Sunday afternoon (April 7) at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Shaw, seeking a third series title this year in the Precision JLM / Dale Shaw Race Cars 60, used the outside groove to reclaim the lead from Griffith, the defending PASS Super Late Model National Championship Series kingpin. It was a reversal of fortunes for the top two finishers, as Griffith bested Shaw in last year’s opener at New England’s fastest short track.
Shaw started from ninth position on the starting grid while third-starting Griffith quickly moved into contention, chasing early race leader Gabe Brown of Center Conway, NH. Multi-time PASS North and National Champion Ben Rowe of Turner, Maine was an early factor up front, as was six-time PASS North champ Johnny Clark of Farmingdale, Maine.
Griffith and Shaw looked like they were going to settle the race amongst themselves, but 11th starter Ray Christian III had other ideas, and drove into contention while making good use of restarts to move as high as second in the running order late in the event.
Shaw beat Griffith to the checkered flag by just over a half-second after racing several laps side-by-side with runner-up Griffith, who moved up to second spot, unoficially the National Championship Series points lead with his performance. Christian claimed the final podium finishing position, ahead of Johnny Clark.
Jake Johnson of Rehoboth, Massachusetts followed up a runner-up finish in the PASS National Championship race in Richmond, Virginia with a fifth-pace run at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to unofficially claim the top spot in the PASS Super Late Model National Championship standings.
Former PASS TSMP winner Garrett Hall of Scarborough, Maine was the sixth-place finisher, with Gabe Brown, who led several laps early on and turned in the fastest lap of the race, crossing the finish line in seventh spot. Former PASS North champ and 2018 runner-up Travis Benjamin was eighth, followed by Nick Sweet of Barre, Vermont and Devin O’Connell of Madison, Connecticut.
Brown and Rowe won Saturday afternoon heat races to set the grid for Sunday’s main event.
The next PASS North event is set for this Sunday afternoon (April 14) at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine. The ACT Late Model Tour, PASS Mods, the North East Mini Stock Tour and a special 50-lap Street Stock race also highlight this special racing card.
Unofficial Results from the April 7, 2019 Pro All Stars Series North & National Championship Super Late Model 75 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park; Thompson, Connecticut, showing finishing position, car number, driver’s name, driver’s hometown:
1 60 DJ Shaw, Center Conway, NH; 2 12 Derek Grifith, Hudspn, NH; 3 93 Ray Christian III, Uncasville, CT; 4 54 Johnny Clark, Farmingdale, ME; 5 15 Jake Johnson, Rehoboth, MA; 6 94 Garrett Hall, Scarborough, ME; 7 47 Gabe Brown, Center Conway, NH; 8 7 Travis Benjamin, Belfast, ME; 9 40 Nick Sweet, Barre, VT; 10 43 Devin O’Connell, Madison, CT; 11 15 Mike Hopkins, Hermon, ME; 12 7 Cory Casagrande, Stafford Springs, CT; 13 8 Angelo Belsito, Auburn, MA; 14 4 Ben Rowe, Turner, ME; 15 59 Reid Lanpher, Manchester, ME; 16 6 Nick Johnson, Rehoboth, MA; 17 28 Greg Nanigian, Braintree, MA; 18 7 Kyle Casagrande, Stafford Springs, CT; 19 00 Jimmy Renfrew, Jr., Candia, NH; 20 81 Dan Winter, Windham, NH; 21 35 Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, MA.
Next Pro All Stars Series North Super Late Model race: Sunday, April 14 at Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine.
Next Pro All Stars Series National Championship Super Late Model race: Saturday, April 20, Hickory Motor Speedway, Newton, North Carolina.