It may not have been the longest drought of DJ Shaw’s racing career, but he was sure glad to see it come to an end Sunday afternoon. Shaw of Center Conway, N.H. ended an 18-race Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North winless streak in dominating fashion by leading all but two laps of Sunday’s 125-lap race at Thunder Road International Speedbowl (VT).
The win for Shaw came on a day in which he shattered the track record with an 11.571 second lap around the newly-repaved Thunder Road oval.
“Anything at Thunder Road feels awesome. My track record is not great here and the new pavement helped me I guess,” Shaw told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “That’s a bonus and it was a lot of fun to drive on. We came out of here without a mark on the car and didn’t hit the wall. I’m happy.”
Shaw started from the outside of the front row for Sunday’s race and jumped out to the early lead over polesitter Travis Benjamin. Hometown favorite Nick Sweet was the only driver able to wrestle the lead away from Shaw, but that only lasted two laps before Shaw took it back for good.
A scheduled break at the lap 50 mark to check tire wear resulted in track officials deciding to water down (cool) the track surface in turns two and four. Due to the fresh asphalt and hot sun beating on the track all day, combined with the Super Late Models turning super fast laps, pieces of gravel were starting to make their way to the racing surface.
After a break of approximately 30 minutes, officials made the surface race ready once again.
“Unreal the grip. Evidently I had the best, that was fortunate for me. The grip was phenomenal,” Shaw said of the new racing surface. “I feel bad for the new ownership that it tore up a little bit. Other than the loose gravel from it tearing up, it didn’t really effect my car and it didn’t really seem to effect anybody’s, so hopefully it cures a little bit and makes for some good racing in the future.”
The win for Shaw came two years after a runner-up finish in the inaugural PASS North race at the Barre, VT oval. It also came on a day in which one of the cars his business (Dale Shaw Race Cars) built won the Memorial Day Classic for the Thunder Road Late Models.
“Two years ago, the first time PASS came here, we had like a one-two-three-four sweep with our cars. Last year when we came here Jeremy Davis ran good and the rest of us ran terrible,” Shaw explained. “To come here and rebound like this and just be this good all day, and have Bobby Therrien be so good in the Late Models, it’s just a picture-perfect day for a driver, race team and car building business. It’s right where we needed to be and it’s a long time coming for these guys.”
By saying “long time coming,” Shaw is referring to team’s winless drought that dated back to his last PASS win on April 30, 2016 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
“Beech Ridge marked a year since we had won and that was three or four weeks ago. It was quite well over a year and it feels good to get back, especially in such dominant fashion,” he stated. “We went a lap down and finished 12th last week (at Autodrome Montmagny). I just came here trying to walk before you run, and we ran. It was awesome.”
While Shaw saw his drought come to an end, former Busch North Series winner Tracy Gordon ended a drought of his own. By finishing second in Sunday’s race, Gordon recorded his first PASS North podium finish since the 2005 season.
Patrick Laperle returned to one of his favorite tracks on Sunday, rebounding from two flat tires during the race to finish third. Travis Benjamin and Ben Rowe completed the top five.
Next up for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North will be a visit north of the border to Speedway 660 next Saturday, June 3. The race will serve as a qualifier for the 44th Annual Oxford 250 in August.
Race fans can find Trackside Now coverage of Sunday’s event at Thunder Road by clicking here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Alan Ward
PASS North Unofficial Results
Thunder Road (VT) – May 28, 2017
|11||23||Dave Farrington, Jr.|