DJ Shaw had a major weight lifted off his shoulders two years ago when he broke through to win his first career Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North championship. With much less weight on his shoulders entering Sunday’s PASS North finale at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), Shaw became just the third multi-time champion in the series’ 16-year history.
“It feels really good,” Shaw said of winning the championship. “New people and fresh faces on this team and it feels pretty cool to win it the first year with all of these guys.”
Unlike in 2014, this time around there were no dramatics for the Center Conway, New Hampshire driver. He entered the finale only needing to stay out of trouble in order to clinch his second championship. Shaw did just that, riding in the back half of the top 10 before crossing the finish line in sixth.
“We salvaged a decent day out of it, a sixth was better than we should have been. We were about a 10th-place car and I don’t really know why,” he explained. “I thought this was our best track coming into it and today it definitely wasn’t, but good enough.
During the 2014 championship battle, Shaw entered the season finale at Oxford with a slim advantage over six-time PASS North champion Johnny Clark. Shaw finished second to Joey Doiron in the finale that year to secure the title.
Once again in 2016, it was Shaw and Clark at the top of the standings. But this time around the gap was much more significant between the two. That made the day and the championship less stressful and more enjoyable for Shaw and his team.
“We had to just take it pretty easy and fortunately we could because I didn’t really have much to go forward with,” he said. “I just kind of rode around where we started and picked a few here and there and ended up decent racing back to the line. To pull off a solid finish to go with it is just a bonus.”
For Shaw, the biggest difference between his two championship seasons were the dramatics entering the final race of the season.
“There was no controversy this year, so that was a lot more of a sweeter feeling coming in,” the second-generation driver stated. “I’m just happy to get it for everybody on the team. Everybody worked hard and deserved it, so I was happy I could do my end of the bargain.”
Another contrast between Shaw’s two championships was the style in which he won them in. In 2014, Shaw picked up a season-high three victories; this time around he won just one race, an April affair at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). For the remainder of the season, Shaw used consistent runs including 13 top-10 finishes in 15 races to win the championship.
Although the 2016 season is now over for most PASS North competitors, it’s not over for Shaw. He will make his way to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT) this Saturday for a chance at winning the 2016 Granite State Pro Stock Series title.
Despite missing two events, Shaw sits just 26 points back of Barry Gray in the championship standings entering the event. If Shaw is able to make up that gap he will become the first driver to win both the PASS North and GSPSS championships during the same season.
“That one is kind of a long shot,” he said. “We have missed the two races there, but if we hadn’t wrecked the one other race we’d still be in the points lead. We kind of created our own luck and we picked our battles and still have a shot. It’s a long shot, but never say never I guess because we still have a shot.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: PASS North