WATCH LIVE: PASS at White Mountain
Fueling this growth is a mix of drivers from around the region, young and old. Among them is Maine native Joe Day, a former Karting and Legends driver who was looking for two things; the chance to visit different tracks, and to do so in a type of car that’s racy, yet affordable. And alas, he has found it.
“There couldn’t be a better time to be involved with this series than right now,” Day said. “If you ask me, as far as the level of competition we have and the affordability, you can’t go wrong. If you want to compete at a high level with minimal operating costs, the PASS Mods are the way to go.”
This easy-going, likable racer will turn 46 next month, yet many fans may not be familiar with his racing resume. He got somewhat of a late start in the game, but he’s done plenty of racing overall.
The 46-year-old Day started racing in Karts at the age of 27, and has progressed up to PASS Modifieds over the years.
“I got started in Kart racing when I was 27 years old,” Day explained. “I started at a local track which is right across from where I live now. I bought a Kart, worked at it and ended up winning a points championship. I also took the Kart up to Oxford, and ran with those guys for a while.
“I ran the Western Maine Modifieds against guys from South Paris and West Paris when they first put Karts on the backstretch at Oxford. I had some success there, then got a ride in a Legends car with an owner from Rangeley. I drove a him for a year until his divorce put an end to the race team.”
We all know racing is full of stories of race teams changing plans, yet Day was undeterred in his quest.
“I got out of the sport until I bought my own Legends car in 2017,” he continued. “My brother and I bought it together, but I just never really got comfortable in the car. Back when I was younger, and a little smaller, I could do it. As I grew older, the Legends car just wasn’t practical any more.
“I started looking at costs to run one of those compared to the costs of running a Modified. It became clear that I could compete at a higher level for less money if I went this route. It was a no-brainer, plus I’ve always been a Mod guy. I’ve always felt like I should have been born in Connecticut.”
There are those who, like all those fans at Stafford and Thompson, who simply love open-wheel racing.
I’ve always been hooked on Tour-type Modified racing, and I’ve always wanted to own a nice Mod of my own. My wife and I used to have a boat, but we still went to the races a lot. She asked me one day, ‘since we don’t really use this boat, why don’t we just buy a Modified’? So we did. – Joe Day
Day got his feet wet in the touring division last year, with limited starts.
“We ran five races last season to start learning the ropes,” Day said. “We got wrecked at White Mountain the fourth race in, and I didn’t get my car back until the next-to-last race at Oxford. We’ve run the first two races at Oxford this year, but didn’t make it down to Lee because I’m building a garage.
“So I’m still fairly new behind the wheel in this type of race car. It’s been so fun, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The fun factor in these Mods, along with low operating costs is what drew me to this series.”
Like most racers in nearly every division, weekly or touring division, Day has a brand of chassis he prefers to use. For him, there’s only one choice.
“I have a car from Davis Chassis Works, with a GM 602 Crate Motor under the hood,” Day explained. “Jeremy has been absolutely great to me, his cars are top-notch and his customer service is second to none. I’ve known him for years. He’s one of the smartest builders out there, and has helped me a ton.”
Ashley Beyea is Day’s teammate at Day/Beyea Motorsports. At 33, she is a very dedicated racer and also loves competing in the PASS Modified division. Always positive and full of energy, she says Day is of great value to her on race day.
“Joe approached me last year about forming a team,” Beyea said. “We kind of do our thing in a way, but we try to pit together and he always comes over to offer help. He’s a great guy, and we’re both having fun in this series. It’s been a rough start for us, but we’ll be at White Mountain ready to go.”
Along with his love for this growing division and fine-looking No. 37 machine, Day also has several key people working behind the scenes to keep his program on-track.
“I need to give a special thanks to my wife and car owner Danielle Day; my daughter and part owner Jocelyn Day; and my crew, including Skip, Kyle Jordan, Bryce Deshaies, Mike Beyea, Todd Libby and Jeff Libby. I really appreciate all they do for my race team.”
Having dependable help and a supportive family is essential for success on the ovals, but it also takes financial resources to be competitive on race day.
“I want to thank our valued marketing partners for their support, including Bay Haven Restaurant, On The Level Construction, Perry’s Logging & Building, MB Wiring, Jack of Trades, F.W. Hasty, Richardson’s Refrigeration, Northstar Performance, Wentworth and Sons Towing & Recovery, Davis Chassis Works, Spanky’s Speed Shop, My Custom Swag, Northeast Auto Works and Elev8 Design.”
As the season 2021 hits full throttle on the PASS Mod tour, Day knows what he wants to accomplish.
“I would love to be able to earn a top-10 finish in the points,” Day concluded. “That would be my ultimate goal for this year. We hope to run the rest of the races, and keep on learning as we go. I need to learn how to work through heavy traffic. We were close to a podium finish last year, and I’m going after it in 2021.”
-Story by: Phil Whipple, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Norm Marx/PASS