It’s very rare for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North to have a “silly season” in-between racing seasons, but there were a handful of changes and developments prior to the 2016 season. To catch you up on who is racing what, we’ve put together a breakdown of what we expect to be the 2016 PASS North roster.
The information listed is based upon conversations with drivers, entry lists for upcoming events and team press releases.
Drivers Expected to Run Full Time:
00 – Bryan Kruczek
Kruczek was one of the handful of drivers who enjoyed a breakout season on the PASS North circuit in 2015. In four seasons of PASS North competition he was held winless before breaking out with two wins last season. The Newmarket, New Hampshire driver had things figured out on the flat tracks (Beech Ridge and Oxford) and will look to build on that momentum in 2016. Kruczek plans to run the full season but told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that it will depend on how the team starts the season.
4 – Ben Rowe
Since the inception of the Pro All Stars Series in 2011, Ben Rowe is the only driver to compete in every single race. That isn’t expected to change this year as the Turner, Maine driver returns behind the wheel of the Richard Moody Racing No. 4. After only recording one win in the past three seasons, Rowe is looking at 2016 as the season to turn things around. He already looks good after winning the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in March.
7 – Travis Benjamin
In what became the biggest news of the offseason, two-time Oxford 250 winner Travis Benjamin took over the driver’s seat in the Petit Motorsports No. 7, the championship-winning car from the 2015 racing season. Benjamin, the 2012 PASS North champion, will run the full season with Petit in search of his second career championship. He plans to still keep his family-owned No. 17 car and run that in other Super Late Model races.
7L – Glen Luce
Luce won the big one last year, now he’s ready to make a serious run towards a touring series championship in 2016. The 2015 Oxford 250 winner has never won a touring series championship, but with crew chief Seth Holbrook on his side he could be a force to be reckoned with this season. He proved the Oxford 250 was no fluke by winning at Autodrome Chaudière (QC) and he’ll look to build on that momentum to kick off the 2015 season.
09 – Jeremy Davis
Davis was another one of those breakout stars on the PASS North circuit in 2015, so much so that he was a favorite when the Oxford 250 came around. He picked up six top-five finishes and his first PASS North win north of the border at Autodrome Montmagny (QC) in August. His consistent runs continued into 2016 when he picked up a pair of fifth-place finishes in PASS South competition at Greenville Pickens and Hickory. With plans to run the full PASS schedule, Davis’ consistency could lead “the little team that could” into title contention.
24 – Mike Rowe
“The Maine Racing” legend returns to the PASS North circuit one year after securing his first series championship. This time around he will be teaming up with his son Ben and the Rowe duo will chase a championship for Richard Moody Racing. Rowe wasn’t happy about his departure from Petit Motorsports and says that he’s “hungrier than ever” this season.
35 – Derek Ramstrom
Ramstrom mixed things up in recent season by racing both his Super Late Model and a Tour-Type Modified. He plans to still run the Modified in select events, but his main focus will be back on the Super Late Model. In addition to tackling the PASS North schedule, Ramstrom will also be chasing the PASS National Championship this season. His schedule in the Northeast will begin at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, a track which he was victorious at during the Pro All Stars Series’ most recent visit in 2012.
54 – Johnny Clark
Clark took a step back during the middle of the 2015 season in hopes of making a strong comeback. After years of success on the Pro All Stars Series, the six-time champion had struggled since the start of the 2013 season. Clark briefly stepped away from tour action to focus on Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) prior to the Oxford 250. That seemed to be a decision that paid off at the end of the season as he finished with a fourth-place finish in the 250 and his first win of the season in the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge. He’ll look to improve on those solid finishes and make a run at a seventh championship in 2016.
60 – DJ Shaw
Following a disagreement at the 2015 Oxford 250, Shaw disappeared from PASS North action for the remainder of the season. He’ll be back this year but he’ll be doing it with a family-owned car, not the Precision JLM Racing car. Shaw, the 2014 PASS North champion, is sure to be in the running for the championship if he’s able to run the full season.
73 – Joey Doiron
Doiron has flexed the most muscle of nearly any Pro All Stars Series driver in recent years whether it be in the north or the south. He’ll look to bottle up the strength he’s shown and use consistent runs to become a title contender in 2016.
Drivers Expected to Run Part Time:
1X – Todd Stone
The two-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Vermont State Champion plans to tackle a handful of PASS North races in 2016. His season got off to a rough start when he flipped his No. 1x in Pro Late Model competition at New Smyrna, but he’s hoping to turn things around when the Northeast racing season kicks off.
5 – Jacob Dore
Dore will compete in a handful of Pro All Stars Series events this season after picking up his first Super Late Model win at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on year ago. He plans to race on the PASS North circuit in addition to running other Super Late Model races around the Northeast region.
12 – Derek Griffith
The 2015 Granite State Pro Stock Series champion plans to run the full GSPSS schedule but also mix in a handful of Pro All Stars Series races throughout the year.
15 – Mike Hopkins
Last year the Pro All Stars Series witnessed David Oliver, Jeremy Davis and Bryan Kruczek pick up their first wins. Don’t be surprised if Mike Hopkins is one of the drivers that breaks through for his first series win this time around. The Hermon, Maine driver led a number of laps during the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge and showed the speed to win at a handful of races in 2015.
21 – David Oliver
As referenced above, Oliver threw the monkey off of his back by scoring his first career PASS North victory at his home track of Beech Ridge last season. In addition, the veteran driver from Standish, Maine recorded four top-five finishes in 10 races. He has the speed and he has the know-how to get it done, so don’t be surprised if he’s contending for wins, especially at flat tracks like Oxford and Beech Ridge.
23 – Dave Farrington, Jr.
Farrington, the 2014 Beech Ridge track champion, recorded a career-best PASS North finish of second during the series finale at Oxford Plains in 2015. The Kulwicki Development Program driver will be looking to improve on that finish by one spot while running a part-time PASS schedule this season.
31 – Tracy Gordon
Gordon, a 12-time Busch North winner, returned to Super Late Model racing in 2015 for select events. Although he isn’t entered for the season-opening Icebreaker, he is entered for the second PASS event of the season at Oxford. The 50-year-old racer will look to get back to victory lane while running a part-time schedule.
49VT – Brent Dragon
Dragon will run a limited PASS North schedule in 2016 behind the wheel of the Dale Shaw Racecars No. 49. The Vermont native will begin the season at Oxford Plains Speedway for the second PASS event of the season on April 17. He recorded a career-best finish of fourth at Airborne Park Speedway (NY) in 2015.
59 – Reid Lanpher
Lanpher turned many heads in August when he finished runner-up to Glen Luce in the 42nd annual Oxford 250. He’ll continue to mix things up by running a partial PASS North schedule focusing on tracks such as Oxford Plains and Beech Ridge, the track that he won the 2015 championship at.
82 –John-Michael Shenette
Shenette plans to tackle the first three PASS North events of the season at Thompson, Oxford and Beech Ridge behind the wheel of the 2014 championship car driven by DJ Shaw. Shenette kicked off his season by making two trips south to Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) and Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), recording finishes of 17th and 10th respectively. He’ll be looking for some home cooking this Sunday when the series returns to his home track of Thompson.
94 – Garrett Hall
Hall doesn’t know exactly what his plans are for the 2016 season, but he does know he’ll be at Thompson to kick off the new racing season in the Northeast. The Scarborough, Maine driver got a jump start on his season by traveling to Florida for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna.
96 – Wyatt Alexander
Alexander has teamed with car owner Dan Colby to compete in select PASS North races this season. One of the cars the team will have in their stable is the race-winning car from last year’s PASS event at Autodrome Montmagny (QC). At the age of 15, Alexander broke through for the biggest win of his career in last year’s Boss Hog 100.
97 – Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
The 2014 American-Canadian Tour champion has cut back his ACT schedule in order to focus on a new driver development program that he created during the offseason. He’ll also be focusing more on his Super Late Model program in 2016 with hopes of chasing some bigger events throughout the country if things go well. Despite being one of most decorated active Late Model racers in the region, Polewarczyk has never visited victory lane at a PASS event. He’ll look to change that this season.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Lindsay Ellison