After 17 races across the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, the battle for supremacy between a pair of two-time touring series champions has come down to the wire.
New Hampshire native DJ Shaw will attempt to secure his third Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North points championship this Sunday, October 28 at the famed “Cement Palace,” Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts.
Shaw, of Center Conway, carries a slim 25-point advantage over Maine veteran Travis Benjamin going into the finale. His two wins and 11 top-five finishes have provided the consistency needed to be in this position. Yet Benjamin has been in contention throughout, waiting for a chance to pounce.
“I'm excited to go down and seal this thing off,” Shaw said. “I think the last time we ran a PASS race at Seekonk, I won. I haven't run there on Hoosiers, which tells you how long it's been since we've been there. We had the best run at Oxford last time out we've had all year there, which really helped.”
Shaw has posted strong finishes during these past few races, and knows the goal for this weekend.
“Except for a little hiccup at Beech Ridge, we've been staying pretty consistent. Now we just need one more strong run to finish the job. It should be a great race to close out a strong season for our team.”
Benjamin, of Belfast, has earned one win and nine top-five finishes aboard his No. 7 Petit Motorsports ride this season. His ability to perform under pressure is a proven commodity, having been through the stressful pressure-cooker environment that is championship points racing on two previous occasions.
“I'm really looking forward to going back to Seekonk,” Benjamin said. “We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. I've always run well and had fast cars there, in fact it's where I got my first victory in a Pro Stock. We're going down with the goal of winning, and the points will play out as they may.”
Along with the championship battle, there will be other drivers to watch in Seekonk this weekend as they look to close out the season with a solid run. There are some heavy hitters on the entry list who've yet to score a victory in 2018, which all but guarantees fans in attendance will see some great racing.
Among those planning to compete on Sunday who have yet to score a victory in 2018 are Wayne Helliwell Jr., Derek Ramstrom, Gabe Brown and Ray Christian III. Helliwell, of Dover, N.H., has run seven PASS races in 2018, with one top-10 finish to his credit (an eighth at Thompson on Apr. 8).
Ramstrom, of West Boylston, Mass., has competed in eight PASS North events going into the finale and sits 13th in points. Brown, the 2018 Super Late Model champion at Oxford, is hot off a strong second-place finish in last Sunday's Granite State Pro Stock Series finale at the Waterford Speedbowl.
“Last weekend we were strong,” Brown said. “We definitely had the best car in the race. I know the car will be good at Seekonk, now it’s just on me to learn the track. I’m sure I’ll figure it out by following some veterans.”
Brown says this weekend can set a positive tone as the season draws to a close.
“We're really hoping to end the North season on a good note. I like the tight bullring tracks, so I think we should be in good shape.”
Christian ran down and passed former PASS champion Ben Rowe last Sunday to claim the victory at Waterford. He's a protege of noted chassis builder Mitch Green, owner of Crazy Horse Racing. The former shop teacher turned car building guru has helped Christian take some major strides this fall.
Race fans who are unable to make it out to Seekonk Speedway this weekend will be able to watch all of the action via a pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets can be purchased for $19.99 by clicking here.
-Story by: Phil Whipple, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos