Since the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) returned to Thunder Road International Speedbowl (VT) in 2015, Derek Griffith had been eyeing one of the unique granite trophies handed out to the winner. On Sunday afternoon, he put the puzzle together to take home one of those trophies after 150 laps of racing at the Barre, Vermont oval.
Griffith, a member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, took the lead from points leader DJ Shaw for the final time on lap 118 and pulled away on a restart with five laps remaining to secure the PASS North victory.
“This trophy is incredible. We’ve been eyeing one of these things,” Griffith said. “I’ve been coming here for three or four years and every time I’m like, ‘Man, I want one of those things.’ It’s going to feel good to bring this one home.”
In order to reach victory lane, Griffith needed to beat the hottest Super Late Model driver in the Northeast thus far in 2019. Following finishes of first, second and first in the first three PASS North event, DJ Shaw appeared to be in a good position to score his third victory of the year.
Shaw made his way to the front from his 11th starting position and took the lead from Griffith with a crossover move following a restart on Lap 111. Seven laps later, after settling back in, Griffith retook the lead for good.
“It feels good. You know, DJ has been on a roll all year,” Griffith stated. “We weren’t amazing in practice all day today and I kept telling them, ‘Man, the car feels good, I’m telling you. I don’t know why I’m slow.’ It’s good to show them that it was actually pretty good. I really need to thank my guys, they worked their butts off today.”
After holding off defending race winner Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. for the runner-up position, Shaw’s average finish moved to 1.5 after four PASS North races this season.
“It was a good race there. (Griffith) was definitely the class of the field,” Shaw said. “We just had nothing for him. We were a second-place car and had to fight to maintain what we had. We executed and got second place with a second-place car. We did all we could today. Congrats to Derek and all those guys. They’ve been fast all year and they put the whole day together today with no problems and got it done.”
Polewarczyk finished third after starting deep in the field, with Maine drivers Travis Benjamin and Garrett Hall completing the top five.
Race fans can watch an on-demand replay of Sunday’s PASS North race by subscribing to the Speed51 Network.
Next up for PASS North will be a trip to Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) next Sunday, June 2.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com