Defending Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North champion D.J. Shaw prevailed over Derek Griffith in a battle that had fans on the edge of their seats Sunday afternoon at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Shaw, who was racing for his first career victory at Thompson, took the lead for the final time with two laps to go and pulled away to win the 75-lap season PASS North season opener.
"That was awesome there," Shaw said in victory lane. "Coming out on top of those races is the best feeling in the world, man. That was a show for the fans right down to the last second, and you can't ask for anymore than that. That's what we're here to do, and we did what we're here to do."
"I can't explain how good this feels. I've finished third and second the last two years here," Shaw stated. "I can't seem to win. To finally do it there... the restart didn't help us, it bottomed out hard there for a few laps and I got into Derek. When I got back to him, I had already hit him and I didn't want to do it that way; I had to do it the right way. He made me earn it but we just barely got there."
2018 Oxford Plains Speedway Super Late Model champion Gabe Brown jumped out to the early led after starting from the pole position. Brown held the lead until a lap 12 restart when Griffith powered to the lead from the outside of the front row.
As Griffith extended his lead, Shaw was working his way through the field from the ninth starting spot. Shaw chased down Griffith for the lead and eventually took command of the race for the first time on lap 46.
Shaw's time out front was short lived, however. Following a caution on lap 48, Griffith used a great restart on the outside to take control of the lead as Shaw fell back to third. After a battle with Ray Christian for the second position, Shaw once again began to reel in Griffith, setting up an exciting finish for those in attendance.
Shaw closed in on Griffith with 10 laps to go and the battle for the lead was on. After trying high, low and everywhere in between to try to get by Griffith, Shaw ultimately found what he needed on the outside to pull alongside and challenge for the top spot. With two laps to go, Shaw pulled away from Griffith off of turn four and began his drive towards victory lane.
"I ran down there too much I guess. I showed him what I was doing for too long and he took it away, so I had to go where he wasn't," Shaw explained. "He gave me the room that I gained and I got to thank him for that. He raced me like a class act and that's what you want out here. That's what puts on a show."
In his first points-counting race of the race for Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Griffith finished a close second after scoring the Icebreaker win at Thompson one year ago. Ray Christian III bounced back from last weekend's heartbreak at Richmond to complete the podium. Six-time PASS North champion Johnny Clark and young gun Jake Johnson rounded out the top five.
Next up for the PASS North Super Late Models will be a stop at Oxford Plains Speedway, home of the Oxford 250 next Sunday, April 14.
For on-demand updates, photos and more from Sunday's race, visit Speed51.com's Trackside Now. Video highlights will be available in the coming days on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Rick Ibsen
PASS North Unofficial Results
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) - April 7, 2019
|3||93CT||Ray Christian III|