April 14, 2002
- Oxford, Me The Pro All Star Series (PASS) kicked off its 2002 season at Oxford
Plains Speedway on Sunday and local campaigner Gary Drew fought off the PASS regulars and
took the checkers in the Maine Dodge Dealers 100. PASS
is the touring series of choice for northern New England Pro Stocks \ Super Late Models
and this event was another example of the high quality of racing the series has to offer. When the dust had settled Drew was $4,000 happier
and proved that his run to victory in the 2001 True Value 250 at Oxford was no fluke. The combination of PASS and Oxford Plains drew 58
cars to the event as rain delayed the early morning practices. However, the rain held off for the afternoon
racing as Sunoco Pole qualifying commenced at high noon.
qualifying format of time trials and heat races is very popular among fans as drivers must
prove themselves under the clock and in a race too get into the feature. Under fluctuating overcast and sunny skies,
drivers took their two laps on the clock and defending series champion Sam Sessions of
South Paris won the Sunoco Pole Award with a lap of 15.612 seconds. Drew, Mike Rowe, Jeff Taylor, and Andy Shaw
rounded out the top five. The entertaining
Dash for the Pole saw the top ten time trial drivers draw for a starting spot in a 15-lap
dash to determine their actual starting lineup. Andy
Shaw benefited from the draw and fought off Sessions to start on the point for the
feature. The True Value heat races were held
for everyone outside the top ten and Johnny Clark, Dick Houlihan, Scott Robbins, and Larry
Gelinas took the heat race victories. Two
consolation rounds featured Bruce Haley and Gary Smith taking checkers.
The green flag
waved for the feature at 5:10 pm after driver introductions, national anthems, and a
reminder to everyone not to forget the September 11th tragedy. Sessions jumped to the front over Shaw and
actually led lap number one. Shaw tried to
hound the defending series champion but Sessions held a comfortable lead until the
familiar car of Drew got around Shaw on lap five and set his sites on the leader. The first caution flew on lap 10 for Richard
Pelton and Scott Chubbuck who tangled out of turn four and got into the frontstretch wall. Chubbuck was able to continue while Pelton
suffered major damages to his Monte Carlo.
caution, the PASS drivers proved themselves by running clean until lap 64, but by then,
the complexion of the race had drastically changed. Jeff
Taylor and Mike Rowe had made their way past Shaw for third and fourth on laps 46 and 48. While they made a move to the front, Drew was
working the high side of Sessions for the lead as the two cars came across heavy lapped
traffic. As the cars of Tim Brackett and Gary
Smith battled side by side to stay on the lead lap, Drew made his move on Sessions on lap
51 and took the lead. Sessions countered with
a move of his own, but Drew held him off and actually managed to pull away by several car
Well, Sammy was real strong at the beginning.
We tried Sammy a couple of times but he was still going good. Then I saw him slip a couple of times so I decided
it was time to get going.
a lap 64 restart when Kenny Wright suffered two flat tires and couldnt get back to
the pits safely. This was the second (and
final) caution of the night as Drew began to deal with a new threat in his rearview
mirror. Mike Rowe, the seven time track
champion at Oxford, raced his way past Sessions on the restart and actually managed to
keep Drew within 6 car lengths as the race passed lap 95.
When asked on his thoughts with a competitor like Rowe behind him, Drew was
quite forthright and respectful.
Rowe was coming and I started getting a bit loose at the end. I said let him come all he wants. Hes one of the best in the business and to
have a battle with him
well, it makes you feel good when you win a race like
made a bid low for the lead on lap 96 before suffering a setback when his ignition began
to fail on lap 98. Rowe would fall back to
fourth before switching to the backup ignition. With
no pressure, Drew had clear sailing to victory lane and punctuated his strong season of a
year ago with a resounding victory in the PASS season opener. Sessions and Taylor moved to second and third as
Rowe slipped back. Andy Shaw ran a strong
race and finished in fifth.
Cautions: 2 (lap 10, lap 64)
Lead Changes: 1
(Sessions Grid-50, Drew 51-100)
sponsored by Kick Butts Racing, a group aimed at helping people to quit smoking.
Race Tires rookie of the race was Johnny Clark.