For the second time in three years, Derek Griffith and his father “Recon” John spent Father’s Day together in victory lane Sunday afternoon at Speedway 95. The Hudson, New Hampshire driver led more than half of the 150-lap race on his way to scoring a dominant win in the Pro All-Stars Series Hopkins Milling & Paving 150 at Speedway 95.
The win was Griffith’s second PASS win of the season and the second victory of his career at the Hermon, Maine oval.
“I was riding around there at the beginning and picked some guys off, but if it went green to checkered, I don’t think anyone would have caught Mike [Hopkins],” Griffith said after the race. “We were really good after that restart and we had a better short run car than we did long runs, so I knew I kind of had to get going and get away from those guys as soon as I did take the lead, and from there I just held onto it long enough that we got it done.”
Griffith started the race 11th out of 16 cars, but navigated his way through the field to crack the top five before the halfway point. A caution came out for a spin on Lap 69, allowing Griffith to close back up to the leaders. When the race went green, the Kulwicki Driver Development Program driver took the lead and never looked back, leading a total of 81 laps on the day.
Nick Sweet ran up front for most of the race, bringing his No. 40 Chevrolet Camaro home in second place despite having an issue with the transmission.
“It was a lot of fun,” Sweet said. “I did it one-armed today, something was wrong with the transmission there where I had to hold it in gear the whole race and that last restart wasn’t so good because of it, but I’ll take second, it was a good day for us.”
Sweet admitted to recruiting a little help from the locals to help him figure out the 3/8-mile oval.
“It was my first time seeing [the track] this week, and a local guy that runs here, J.R. Robinson, helped me out a lot,” Sweet said. “He told me the quirks of the place, and it worked out really good today, finished second.”
Mike Hopkins dominated the first part of the race, leading the first 69 laps before losing the lead to Griffith. Hopkins, whose company sponsored the race, pulled out to a lead of almost half a lap before the Lap 69 caution, but lost the handle on the car after the restart.
“We missed a little bit on stagger,” Hopkins said. “It was really good at the beginning, but as the fuel burned off it got really tight and with ten to go it chattered both front tires.
“There’s just something about this 12 car [of Griffith],” he added with a smile. “I can’t beat it here.”
Garrett Hall and Johnny Clark both had strong runs to finish inside the top five. Travis Benjamin, D.J. Shaw, Gabe Brown, Bobby Therrien, and Wyatt Alexander completed the top 10.
Highlights from Sunday’s PASS North race at Speedway 95 will be available soon on the Speed51 Network.
The next race for the PASS North Super Late Models is the New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 23.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com