Motor Speedway - Saturday, May 5th
Outlaw Late Models: L to R - Jay Sands #36, 2nd;
Winner Scott Mulkern #84; and Jimmy Rosenfield #44, 3rd.
PASS Mods: L to R - Thomas Oliver #63, 2nd;
Winner Kenny Harrison #85; and Chris Smith #1, 3rd.
Super Late Models: L to R - Jeremie Whorff #00, 2nd;
Winner Joey Porciello #04; and Mike Rowe #2, 3rd.
the top-five finishers, there were two NASCAR Busch North Series champions
Joey Porciello doesn’t own any touring championships yet. Before Saturday’s race at Beech Ridge, his only touring series victory came in a PASS Outlaw Late Model race last fall at Star Speedway (NH). Porciello has not been a household name among race fans in the Northeast, but that is all on the fast track to changing. Porciello held off Jeremie Whorff, Mike Rowe, Kelly Moore, Dave Dion and a stocked field of other top drivers to start off his rookie season in PASS North with a big victory.
Even after the victory lane celebrations and technical inspection process, Porciello was nearly speechless about his victory.
“I can’t believe this,” said Porciello. “To win my first PASS race…it’s just awesome. I don’t know, this is so weird. I still can’t believe that this happened.”
The performance was far from a fluke, though. Porciello fought long and hard through various stages of the race to win it. The Lee, New Hampshire, driver first took the top spot with a bold outside move on three-time PASS champion Ben Rowe on lap 37 of the race.
Porciello fought through lapped traffic with Cassius Clark. The two drivers
would alternate between racing grooves; they would swap the lead, and they
“It was hard, especially when I was on the outside and was getting blocked in with the lapped cars,” said Porciello. “I would get set on the outside and have to catch back up to Cassius again. I wasn’t too happy about that at the time, but once we got cleared of traffic, I could reel him back in and take the lead back over.”
Porciello settled into the lead for good,
But now there was a new threat to Porciello’s lead. Jeremie Whorff was closing fast as the laps clicked down.
“Towards the end I was catching him, but we had a late caution, and after that my car was pushing,” said Whorff. “Joey had a little bit of a better car than me on the restart, so congratulations to him. Next time, we’ll try to get it done at the end.”
You might think that in the final laps, a rookie like Porciello would be sweating bullets. Instead, he was cool and calm behind the wheel, knowing that the clock was ticking down when it came to Whorff catching him.
“I wasn’t too worried,” said Porciello. “I knew that he was coming up on me, but there was not enough time for him to catch me and pass me.”
Porciello and Whorff [who won the
“It’s great because you always hear about Mike [Rowe], Benji [Rowe], Stan Meserve, Dave Dion and the best of the best,” said Whorff. “When you can run with them and even pass them or finish ahead of them, it’s an honor. It really is.”
It also gives a driver an extra boost to get through the rest of the season.
“This builds my confidence right here,” said Porciello. “Now, we’ll see what happens next.”
There was plenty of other action at Beech Ridge in addition to the 150-lap PASS North Super Late Model race. Earlier in the afternoon, Scott Mulkern won the 100-lap PASS Outlaw Late Model event after taking the lead from former track regular Mike Fowler on a very special lap to the race winner.
“We had a good race,” said Mulkern. “The car was good. I just wanted to ride behind Mike for a while and see how things played out. Then I had enough to get by him on lap 37. I think that was the same lap I took the lead in the only PASS [Super Late Model] race I ever won, too.”
Finishing behind Mulkern were Jay Sands, Jimmy Rosenfield, Brian Whitney and Fowler.
40-lap PASS Modified feature, Kenny Harrison benefited when Chris Staples
spun out of the lead with five laps to go.
PASS North Super Late Models return to action on Saturday, May 12th,
at New Brunswick International Speedway near
PASS Modifieds and Outlaw Late Models will next race on Sunday, May 20th,
at Riverside Speedway in
The Weekend Pro
Have Been Waiting For Is Here!
(Naples, ME -- May 2, 2007) After a long winter, a rainy spring, and a few false starts, the fastest full-bodied race cars in the Northeast return to the local tracks this Saturday and Sunday, May 5th and 6th in a big PASS Doubleheader Weekend.
A total of close to 60 pro stock-type touring cars are expected at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME for the PASS North, PASS Outlaws, and PASS Modified Series 2007 season opener Saturday afternoon at 3 PM.
There are 30 Super Late Model/Pro Stocks already registered, including 2006 PASS North Champion Johnny Clark, the three-time PASS North Champion Ben Rowe, the 2006 PASS South Champion Mike Rowe, multi-time winner in 2006 Cassius Clark, the 2006 PASS North Rookie of the Year Alan Tardif, 2006 PASS Outlaw Champion Derek Ramstrom, Richie Dearborn, Bill Penfold, Trevor Sanborn in the Jay Cushman #29, Rick Martin, Joey Porciello, the father and son combo of Dale and DJ Shaw, Lonnie Sommerville of St. John, New Brunswick, and several Beech Ridge pro stock regulars.
In addition, Bill Jr and Jeremie Whorff, Dave Dion, and Kelly Moore are coming, plus several others who say they may be ready now that the rainout last week has given them an extra week to finish their cars. Jay Sands and Derek Ramstrom are both bringing Super Late Models and Outlaw cars and may do both races if the cars test well in the Friday afternoon practice. It looks like 36 to 38 teams will be drawing numbers for their spots in the heat races for the 150 green flag lap New England Dodge Dealers 150.
To that total you can add 22 to 26 Outlaw Late Models (formerly called two-barrel pro stocks) that will be chasing 2006 PASS Central Division Champion Jimmy Rosenfield of Middleboro, MA and the Northern Division Champion Matt Lee of Albion, ME for 100 green-flag laps in the opener for the chase for the 2007 divisional titles and the overall Series title. Mike Fowler, Jay Sands, Mike Harnish, Ben Erskine, Charlie and Chuck Colby, Mike Thomas, Joe Decker, Gary Norris, Jr, Chris Staples, Rich Eaton, George Fernald, Jr, and Katie Hagar will also be on hand for the season opener. In addition, newcomers Jeremy Davis of Tamworth, NH, Jimmy Chambers of Atkinson, NH, and Gunnar Lee Josselyn of Farmington, ME will be making their first start in the Outlaw Late Models.
That’s a total of between 50 and 60 pro stock-type cars at Beech Ridge on Saturday. For the fans that have been waiting all winter for some big fast race car action it will be a day filled with speed, action, and surprises.
The PASS Modifieds will also be kicking off their 2007 season for 40 green flag laps as Chris Staples will be looking to add another title to his resume. The 2003 and 2004 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Limited Sportsman Champion Chris Smith will be wheeling a modified for the first time at his home track hoping for that home track advantage. Multi-time Oxford Plains Speedway Limited Sportsman champion Kenny Harrison and Tom Oliver of Windham, ME will also be joining the fray.
But that’s only half of the story. After the Beech Ridge show, the Super Late Models and Modifieds pack up and head up Route 95 to Speedway 95 in Hermon, ME for another go at it on Sunday afternoon May 6th in 150 green flag laps of PASS North Super Late Model action and 40 laps for the PASS Modifieds. The action gets under way with heat races at 2 PM.
Remember, they’re called Super Late Models for a reason!
Weekend to Kick Off
PASS North Season
Beech Ridge and Speedway 95 Events Are On the Docket for a Fine Spring Weekend
NAPLES, ME (May 1, 2007) – It’s a racer’s dream and a team’s nightmare – two races in one weekend.
After sitting idle since their 2006 season concluded at Unity Raceway (ME) in October, the PASS North Super Late Model teams now have a busy weekend ahead of them with two events on consecutive days. First up is this Saturday’s season-opener at Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and Speedway 95. Teams will race in Southern Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon and then head up the Interstate a few hours to compete in another 150-lap event at Speedway 95, located just outside of Bangor, on Sunday.
Rain and flooding pushed the Beech Ridge race back from its original late-April date until one day before the scheduled race at Speedway 95. With a good forecast set for this weekend, it is going to make for a busy stretch for teams.
“It’s great,” said multi-time PASS victor Mike Rowe with a smile. “I just love it – racing twice in a weekend. Hopefully, we can get out of Beech Ridge with a good run and go up to Bangor and run well there. I like both tracks a lot.”
The tight schedule does put a strain on teams, with a trouble-free first leg of the weekend at Beech ridge critical to even making the starting field at Speedway 95.
“As a racer, it is good, but for a team is could be tough,” said 2006 PASS North Rookie of the Year Alan Tardiff. “If you can make it through the first race without any trouble, it should make for a good weekend. If something happens and you get torn up at Beech Ridge, it could make for a very long weekend.”
So will that make competitors more cautious at Beech Ridge on Saturday? The jury is out on the answer to that question.
“For us, it won’t be bad because we’ll have a car ready for Beech Ridge and another one ready for Bangor,” said three-time PASS North champion Ben Rowe. “But if you have one car, you’ll have to tip-toe through Beech Ridge.”
Not everyone agrees, though. After all, these guys are racers, and they don’t really know much about running in low gear.
“Probably not,” said Tardiff when asked if he thought the drivers would be more conservative at Beech Ridge. “It’s the first race of the season. People are anxious to go racing, everyone wants to do well in the first race of the year, and they can’t wait to get on the racetrack.”
A number of Beech Ridge Pro Series competitors will enter the PASS North race, but that does not mean that they will have an advantage against the touring stars.
“We used to have an advantage over other people there, but as the races go on, everyone started to catch up,” said Tardiff, who raced weekly at the track before moving up to PASS. “There are more people who are on their game at “The Ridge” now than there were a few years ago. It should be a pretty close race.”
The Speedway 95 show should be just as exciting, as both tracks have a lot in common.
“Both tracks are similar in the way that we run our setups,” said Cassius Clark, who won the spring races at both tracks last season. “It will be a busy weekend, but we should be okay. There will be some routine maintenance. We might choose to skip a practice and go over everything. We’ll go back to our shop in Farmington after the Beech Ridge race, bring it home and go through it.”
Can Clark back up his winning performances of last year? Time will tell, but his competitors already have their eyes on him.
“He’s good up there at Speedway, he’ll definitely be the one to beat,” said Ben Rowe.
But Clark isn’t focusing beyond race number one of the weekend yet. He knows that winning at Beech Ridge will provide plenty of momentum for Speedway 95.
“If you can win at Beech Ridge, you’ll be looking good for the next day,” said Clark. “We’ll be trying to win them both [again].”
The full weekend for PASS teams actually starts on Friday, May 4th, with an open practice at Beech Ridge for PASS North Super Late Model, PASS Outlaw Late Model and PASS Modified competitors from 3 - 7pm. On Saturday, May 5th, the Beech Ridge pit gates will open at 10am with practice taking place from Noon until 2pm. Racing will start at 3pm.
On Sunday, May 6th, there will be a 150-lap PASS North Super Late Model and a PASS Modified race at Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine. The post time for that event is 2pm.
PASS North Sets
The Stage for a Wild Title Fight
Super Late Model Tour Kicks Off Their Season at Beech Ridge on May 5th
NAPLES, ME (April 12, 2007) – Over the past four years in PASS North Super Late Model racing, the championship fight has been a see-saw one. Ben Rowe won the championship in 2002 and 2003. Johnny Clark won it in 2004. Then Rowe came back to win another one. Last year, Clark nabbed his second one.
But while Ben and Johnny have been paying attention to each other, a whole new crop of championship contenders has stepped up to the plate, which should make the 2007 PASS North title fight a great one. That battle will kick off on May 5th, when the PASS North holds their season opener at Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
“Things are going to be close,” said Johnny Clark. “I think this is going to be one of the best years that PASS has ever had.”
“Johnny, Cassius [Clark] and my father [Mike Rowe] are the three teams who are always there week in and week out,” said Ben Rowe. “But there will be other ones right there this year too.”
So just who might step up to the plate and contend this season? That list is a long one.
“Rick Martin is stepping up his program,” said Ben Rowe. “Richie Dearborn can be right there. You can’t count out [Jay] Cushman and [Trevor] Sanborn. You know that Trevor can drive a racecar and Jay’s got the equipment to win. They’ll be in the top three or four. There are four or five other teams out there that are just a click off and could be right there too. You just don’t know. Cassius took over last year like a ball of fire. Nobody thought they could catch him and come the end of the year, we started catching him.”
After winning five races in 2006, Cassius Clark is getting plenty of buzz about being a favorite for the title in many circles.
“I think that Cassius Clark is going to be our toughest competition of the year,” said Johnny Clark. “The amount of progress that he has shown in the last three or four years has been impressive. He’s always had the speed, but now he’s winning a ton of races. Fortunately for us last year, when he won a ton of races, he also had bad luck. That took him out of the running. But it’s not just about consistency on the PASS tour. You have to win races.
But like Mike Rowe, Cassius Clark might only run a partial schedule of races up North. Even if he enters every event, points racing is not Cassius Clark’s style.
“I don’t even know,” said Cassius Clark, when asked about his championship hopes. “We might not even run all of the races. We just want to win races. Wherever we go, we just want to run up front. I don’t care about points, I want the wins.”
Travis Benjamin is another name that comes up often when looking at the PASS North championship picture. The luckless driver moved over to PASS from the NASCAR Busch North [now Busch East] Series a few years ago and has shown flashes of brilliance for several seasons. 2007 could be his breakthrough season.
“I think that we have a shot at it,” said Benjamin. “We need to eliminate the mistakes that we’ve made in the past. Last year, we had four races where we were running in the top three and we broke. Instead of finishing in the top five for those races, we finished around 20th. We have to get away from that. So we’ve stepped up our program pretty good. We need to step it up a lot to be with Mike, Benji, Johnny and those guys.
“We’ve got good equipment now and good people helping us. We’re still talking to a few more people about helping us. If we can get them, I’d be really excited. We’ve got good sponsors coming back and our budget is better than it has been in the past. Instead of waiting for stuff to break so that we could replace it, now we’ll be able to replace things sooner.”
Even Rookie of the Year candidate Trevor Sanborn, who ran a few races in 2006 with a best finish of second in the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, could be a dark horse for the title. He’ll drive the #29 Ford owned by Jay Cushman this season.
“I hope that we can do pretty well,” said Sanborn. “Jay’s got some awesome equipment. I feel confident that we can get the cars going well enough for some top-five finishes and some wins. We should be right there.”
So the odds are good for a first-timer champion. Then again, nothing is quite as motivating as the desire to repeat.
“We’d like to defend the title,” said Johnny Clark. “That’s always in the back of your mind, and we’d love to win back-to-back championships. We’d also like to be able to say that we won the championship in three of the last four years. We’re going for it this year.”
The PASS North competitors will battle for 150 green flags laps on Saturday, April 21st, at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Racing is scheduled to start at 3 pm. This race will kick off a season of excitement that stretches from Connecticut to Canada for the Super Late Model Series.
Series Contact: Tommy Mayberry - (207) 693-6497
PASS Webmaster & Photographer: Norm Marx
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