WATCH LIVE: PASS Super Late Models at Hudson
Many in the starting field will turn their first ever laps on this grand old oval on Sunday evening, including six-time PASS North champion and current points leader Johnny Clark. The Maine driver has been busy scouring the world wide web to find any kind of clue on how to navigate the surface.
“I’m searching for videos, I’ve never seen the place. I’ve heard that its got banking and that it’s rough, and that’s all I know,” Clark told Speed51.
When asked if it could pose a big challenge to his chasing the seventh PASS crown, Clark isn’t entirely sure. But, he does have a history of rising to the occasion at tracks that are new to him and many of his competitors.
I don’t know, we typically do pretty well on a track that nobody’s been to; I know a few guys like Derek have raced there. But we seem to rise to the occasion, so I’m looking forward to it. I love going to a new track, I’ve had some people compare it to Groveton (NH) and we’ve run well there. Hopefully it’s like it
On the other hand, Clark is excited to take on a track he’s never been to, especially one in the Northeast.
“PASS has been around for 20 years now and I’ve been doing it for a long time. Hudson is only two and a half hours from where we live from the shop. It’s fun to also get to race in front of new people to, hope they enjoy it.”
A number of Maine drivers such as Clark will face Hudson for the first time, or will go into this weekend with limited experience. But even one of the Southern New Hampshire drivers is facing the same challenge. Dan Winter may be a local, but he has been accustomed to competing up in Maine over his racing career.
“Really looking forward to it, it’s actually going to be my first time racing there. I grew up 15 minutes from the track and have always driven by it, so it’s cool to turn laps there and run a race,” said Winter.
Hailing from just up the road in Deerfield, Winter lacks the experience compared to one of Hudson’s local stars Derek Griffith. However, Winter did get an opportunity to study the track with his eyes, up close and personal with another Hudson driver, Joey Polewarczyk.
I saw a race there two years ago when Joey Pole won the Granite State race, I was crewing for him. We walked the track a little bit, so at least I’ve seen it. I’ve been watching some videos just to see the preferred line and what we’re going to be in for.
Overall, Hudson’s 150-lap PASS race on Sunday is just part of the new journey that Winter is undertaking in 2021.
“I’m excited because for a while we did the Beech Ridge / Oxford thing, then a couple of years ago we started lightly touring, like a race or two at White Mountain. That was about it. This year with all the New Hampshire races on the tour we figured we might as well branch out to different tracks and just get used to different styles of places.”
Hudson is a track that has been a staple on the Granite State Pro Stock Series schedule, but even those drivers that have competed in those races don’t often have much experience outside those annual appearances. Super Late Model up and comer Jake Matheson made his first appearance there in 2020, and despite learning plenty, the New Hampshire young gun knows he needs more laps before calling himself an expert on the place.
“We’ve run there once and that was in Granite State last year. In that race I found out just how bumpy it is, you have to have a very aggressive driving style to pick up spots there. It’s very fun to race side-by-side around there, you always have a race there, it’s never single-file throughout the whole field. Just a lot of fun,” Matheson explained.
All the while, Matheson is looking at Sunday’s race as a serious opportunity to chase a top finish and show the PASS fulltime stars just what he is made of.
“Absolutely, I feel like in any car I’ve ever raced I’ve exceled at the higher banked racetracks, like Monadnock for instance, I really like that place. Hudson is a hard place to figure out at first, but once you do it’s pretty good. Later in the race you get the second groove coming in. But, those guys coming down that haven’t seen it before, it might be a weird experience for them.”
See the PASS Super Late Models from Hudson Speedway live on Speed51 this Sunday, June 20.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT