Late Model fans in the Northeast are in for a treat this upcoming weekend, May 2-3. Two of the region’s premier touring series, the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North, make visits to two of the region’s premier short track facilities for single-day events.
On Saturday, May 2, PASS North competitors will make their season debut at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) for the Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep 150. PASS North events at the historic Scarborough, Maine track have a history of providing excellent racing throughout the field and if the entry list is any indication it will be no different this time around.
As of April 28, as many as 28 Super Late Model teams were pre-registered for the second event of the 2015 PASS North campaign. A mixture of touring teams, weekly warriors and even some invaders from Canada make up the current entry list for the event.
Defending champion DJ Shaw leads a strong field of PASS regulars including the winner of the season-opening event at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), Mike Rowe. Two-time Oxford 250 winner Travis Benjamin, 2013 series champion Cassius Clark, six-time champion Johnny Clark and 2014 PASS National Series champion Ben Rowe will all be in attendance at the 1/3-mile Maine oval.
In addition to the touring regulars, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway weekly warriors including defending Pro Series champion Dave Farrington, Jr., youngster Reid Lanpher, former Busch North series driver Kelly Moore and Mulkern Racing driver Bobby Timmons all have intentions of chasing the win on Saturday.
Roughly 150 miles to the northwest of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, the American-Canadian Tour will make their first and only visit to their home track of Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (VT) on Sunday, May 3.
Just like PASS at Beech Ridge, ACT at Thunder Road will present a great mixture of tour regulars and weekly warriors battling for the bragging rights.
Fresh off of his win at Lee USA Speedway’s (NH) Governor’s Cup, Wayne Helliwell, Jr. enters this weekend’s Merchants Bank 150 at Thunder Road with momentum on his side. Not only was he the victor last weekend, but he was also the victor one year ago at Thunder Road.
Helliwell will be joined by defending series champion Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. as the two drivers look to pick up their second win of the young season. But with “parity” being the name of the game with the ACT Late Model cars, a host of others are sure to be ready for the challenge of picking up their first win of the season.
While Helliwell, Polewarczyk and the rest of the ACT regulars will be stiff competition, it may be the Thunder Road regulars who hold the advantage heading into Sunday’s race.
Defending Thunder Road “King of the Road” Derrick O’Donnell and two-time “King of the Road” Nick Sweet will be looked at as two of the favorites heading into the event at their home track. Both drivers have proven they know how to get it done on the high-banked quarter-mile oval throughout their careers.
Other Thunder Road weekly warriors including former Vermont Governor’s Cup winner Cody Blake, 2014 Memorial Day Classic winner Jason Corliss and two-time Milk Bowl winner Dave Pembroke are also sure to flex some muscle when the green flag waves on Sunday.
Although the winners of this weekend’s events won’t be decided until the final checkered flag(s) wave, the real winner this weekend will be fans of Late Model racing in the Northeast.
Two premier touring series races at two of the region’s premier racing facilities. It doesn’t get much better than that during the month of May.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51