It’s a race that no racer wanted to be in, but it’s a race that many racers are now looking forward to. The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Non-Winner’s Race, which takes place this Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), offers a little bit of everything for Super Late Model racers who have not previously visited PASS victory lane.
In addition to the $2,000 that will go the winner of the race, there’s a whole lot more on the line. Most importantly, the top-three finishers will receive guaranteed provisional starting spots in the 43rd Annual Oxford 250 in August.
To be eligible for the race, the rules are simple. A driver must have attempted a PASS race (North, South or National) or competed in one Super Late Model race at Oxford Plains Speedway since 2011. In order to be eligible, drivers must also be winless in PASS competition during that time period.
With only those two rules of eligibility in place, the entry list is very diverse and features some names you’d expect, as well as a few surprises. The current entry list includes touring series drivers who have come up just short of victory lane, local drivers who have yet to win a PASS race at their home track and a few competitors who plan to use the race as a tune-up for the Oxford 250.
Among the entrants is Boca Raton, Florida’s Dalton Sargeant, who has teamed up with veteran crew chief and car owner Bond Suss to tackle Super Late Model races throughout the country this season. Sargeant plans on making a strong run at winning the Oxford 250 later this year and hopes to use Sunday’s race as a way to get his feet wet at the 3/8-mile oval.
“We are planning on using this race as a good test for the Oxford 250,” Sargeant told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The 250 is such a large and challenging race because of the amount of drivers that show up to make the race, as well as the format to qualify for the race with heat races. One great thing about the race this weekend is that if you finish inside the top three you are locked into the 250, in case you were to have an issue in the heat race. It will also be my first trip to Oxford, so it is a great test for me to be able to go up there and run this weekend to get my feet wet, and figure the place out.”
Another driver eyeing success on Sunday will be 19-year-old Derek Griffith. The Hudson, New Hampshire racer has been enjoying a breakout season in PASS North competition but has come up just short of his elusive first win.
“Oxford is not one of my strong tracks yet,” Griffith admitted. “I’m looking forward to getting some seat time in before the 250. And if we win the non-winners race it’s a provisional, which is huge. We were pretty good last time at Oxford but got involved in a wreck and went some laps down.”
While the win would be nice, Griffith said that the Oxford 250 provisional is what he and the Louie Mechalides-led team are really searching for, especially after experiencing bad luck during last year’s race.
“It’s a pretty good idea in my opinion,” Griffith said of the Non-Winner’s Race. “Gives us guys a chance in the (Oxford 250) if we have a bad draw like I did last year. We were the seventh fastest car last year and still didn’t make it in, drew dead last for the heat. If we have the provisional it puts less pressure on us.”
In addition to the young drivers who will be searching for their first PASS triumph, the field on Sunday will also be loaded with veterans. One of the veterans expected to compete is three-time track champion Tim Brackett, who has over 50 career wins at the track but has never visited PASS victory lane.
“It would be great (to finally get a PASS win),” said Brackett. “I don’t feel like I haven’t had opportunities (to win), but we just don’t do it enough. We have two or three a year, and to be honest I worry more about Saturday nights than I do the bigger races. We’ve had some good runs and not been able to finish them off, but it sure would make me feel good to finally get the win.”
Thus far this season Brackett has been one of the fastest cars at the track on a weekly basis and currently leads the Super Late Model point standings. He’s hoping that he’ll have that same speed and have his ducks in a row for 100 laps.
“I seem to actually get better after like 40 laps, so I’m pretty excited about seeing what it will do in a long distance race thinking forward to the 250,” stated Brackett. “I certainly would like to add one before the 250.”
Like both Sargeant and Griffith, Brackett enters the race with the goal of clinching a provisional starting spot for the Oxford 250. Although he would receive a provisional if he remains the Super Late Model points leader at Oxford, he would much rather have a guaranteed starting spot locked up in July.
“It would be quite a load off,” said Brackett. “You just never know. I’ve drawn at the rear and qualified, and I’ve drawn up front and not qualified. It isn’t just luck of the draw, it’s not getting into someone else’s mess and there’s just so many ways you can get bit without it actually being the draw.”
Other drivers entered for Sunday’s race include three-time American-Canadian Tour champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr., former Busch North champion Kelly Moore and former Oxford 250 winner Scott Robbins.
A full entry list (as of June 21) can be seen on the Pro All Stars Series website by clicking here.
In addition to the 100-lap PASS Non-Winner’s Race, the Northeast Street Stock Tour, a 100-lap Enduro, Flag Pole Race, Spectator Drags and a Smokey Donut Competition will also be on the schedule.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com