Naples, ME — With over two months to go before the first race of the 2020 season, the number of registered drivers for Pro All Star Series (PASS) North/National sits at 33. With an 18-race schedule starting with the Easer Bunny 150 on April 11 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and culminating with the championship race at Seekonk Speedway on October 24, excitement is growing as the snow begins to melt away.
Leading the charge is back-to-back PASS North champion DJ Shaw out of Center Conway, New Hampshire. Shaw has been a perennial contender for the PASS championship over the past decade and hopes to make it three straight titles and five overall in 2020.
Hoping to put a stop to the Shaw reign will be New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith. The youngster from Hudson narrowly missed his first PASS North championship in 2019 by a scant 21 points and led the series with five season wins. Griffith does have the 2018 PASS National championship on his resume, showing he is more than capable of running up front week in and week out at a variety of different tracks.
Turner’s Ben Rowe has had a rejuvenation of sorts over the last couple of years, showing a lot of speed and finishing a not so distant third in the 2019 championship picture. The 51-time race winner and four-time PASS North champion had four top-three finishes in 2019, including three of them at Oxford Plains Speedway. Rowe is also a five-time PASS National champion and has a wealth of experience and a seasoned crew behind his 2020 campaign.
Perhaps the biggest wild card in the deck is teenager Gabe Brown. The 2018 Super Late Model Champion at Oxford Plains Speedway embarked on a full season of completion with PASS in 2019. Garnering five top fives and 11 top 10’s, the 17-year-old driver showed he is more than capable of running at the front in one of the Northeast’s most competitive touring series. With a full season under his belt, Brown is sure to see victory lane in 2020 and contend for the title in his Shaw chassis.
Ben Ashline came on strong at the end of 2019 in the P&A Racing No. 99 Chevy. In five races. Ashline scored a top five and a seventh-place finish in the Oxford 250 before nailing down a popular victory at Lanier Raceplex (GA) in November. Ashline has long since showed speed in his various racing endeavors and as a Distance Racing employee, has learned how to adapt setups from track to track.
Scoring a pair of victories last year were Vermont’s Nick Sweet and Maine’s Garret Hall. While neither driver has secured a PASS championship yet, eight career wins between them and a multitude of podium finishes show they should be considered threats on a weekly basis.
Two-time PASS North Travis Benjamin took a step back in the middle of the 2019 season after a slow start. The Petit Motorsports driver nailed down a weekly win at Oxford Plains Speedway before securing his third career Oxford 250 win. Benjamin scored four top-five finishes on the season and finished sixth in the season title hunt. 2020 looks to be a rebound year for the driver out of Morrill.
Brandon Barker has stated his intent to run the entire PASS North schedule in 2020. With six top 10s in a limited schedule over the past two season, the youngster from Windham, ME is poised to make a charge for his first PASS win.
Add into the mix part-time veteran drivers like Mike Rowe, Curtis Gerry, Mike Hopkins, Johnny Clark, and Eddie MacDonald, along with new comers like Evan Hallstrom and Craig Weinstein and it doesn’t take long to realize picking a winner week in and week out may be difficult.
A complete list of drivers currently registered for the 2020 season can be viewed by visiting www.proallstarsseries.com. You can also like “Pro All Stars Series” on Facebook for more information.
-PASS Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51