(Editor's Note: Since publishing this story, Speed51 has learned that Shaw will not be competing Friday night)
The Month of August is the most important on the racing calendar for D.J. Shaw and his fellow Super Late Model drivers in the Northeast and beyond, for at the end of the month lies one of the almighty SLM races in all the land, the Oxford 250. But for 2020, Shaw is upping the challenge of the weekend before taking on the 250, heading to another favorite track of his, for something completely different.
For the first time in his career, the four-time Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model champion will strap into a Tour-type Modified. The setting for this debut is Claremont Motorsports Park in Southwest New Hampshire, site of the $10,000-to-win Maurice Enterprises 100 this Friday night, August 28.
“I’m excited to give it a try, just see how it goes, and what becomes of it. As it gets closer we’ll see how excited I am, but this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I’m happy to get the opportunity,” Shaw told Speed51.
Interestingly, it’s another from the full-fender scene in the Northeast, car owner Wright Pearson, a customer of Dale Shaw Racecars, who is putting the seat together for the Center Conway, NH driver. Shaw hopes that familiarity with his car owner, and Claremont itself; a track where he posses multiple wins on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, can help cut the learning curve even a little.
“Wright is a customer of ours on the Super Late Model side and he bought a Modified. He knows how much I like Claremont and that I’ve been wanting to do this. So it just came together. I think Mike Willis and the other local guys have more time there than me, but I’ve got more laps there then most of the Modified guys from out of town. So, maybe it’ll give us a bit of a leg up.”
Still, Shaw knows Friday will be anything but easy, partly because it will be his first time the No. 16 Modified, but also with the stout competition that will be in the house. But, going up against the best Northeast Open-Wheel drivers is all a part of the experience he wants.
“Looking at the entry list, it’s definitely a who’s who of Northeast Modified racing. Minus a couple guys, it’s the top guys in the sport right now. I’ve raced a lot of them in the Indoor Series in TQ’s, but never in a full-size car. It will be a unique challenge for me.”
As for the big elephant in the room, missing a full day of SLM practice at Oxford Plains Speedway up in Maine; Shaw believes that the preparation put forth by the No. 60 team is enough to make up for it.
“I’m pretty happy with the Super. We’ve done some new things the last few weeks and it worked really well at White Mountain. But we had some engine problems with that car after White Mountain, so we ran the car we had planned for Loudon, which wasn’t our best Oxford option, but we battled for a Top 5 last time out with it. Hopefully with our best car now, we should be in good shape.”
You can see both the Maurice Enterprises 100 for the Modifieds and Oxford 250 for the PASS Super Late Models this weekend live on Speed51. Click here to order the Oxford 250, or click here to become a premium subscriber and watch the Maurice Enterprises 100 from Claremont.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51