While not in the championship hunt this coming Saturday for the 2020 Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model title, Nick Sweet has still been one of the most feared competitors in PASS competition since the COVID-19 delayed season began in June. Starting 11 of the so far 13 races, Sweet and the Eric Chase owned No. 40 team have won five of those races.
Three wins at White Mountain Motorsports Park in New Hampshire, a win at his home track Thunder Road in Vermont, and a big road win at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine back in June. The season has still been a strange one for Sweet, and not just because of the pandemic.
For all their wins, there have been some struggles in between. This past Sunday at Oxford, Sweet seemed to find some mid-consistency with a third-place finish. Still, it’s hard for the former Thunder Road champion and Milk Bowl winner to remember a season with this many rises and dips.
“I’m sure I’ve had them, but my memory is not outstanding when it comes to all the years. We either do really well or we’re completely off. Sunday, I felt like we did really well, I was just upset with myself because I took too long getting through traffic. I tried to be patient, because I wanted tires at the end, unfortunately I waited too long,” Sweet told Speed51.
It has been quite the road from American-Canadian Tour rule Late Models over to SLM ranks of PASS over the past four seasons. Starting at Thunder Road and White Mountain for the most part, the No. 40 team has shifted to a majority schedule in PASS. Scoring their first PASS at T-Road in 2018, the team picked up their first Oxford win in 2019. Now just like that, Sweet has amassed eight PASS wins in three seasons.
“For anybody starting out in Super Late Models, you just got to take good notes, and keep trying and trying. That’s been our approach. Eventually you’ll stumble on some things that work, it carries into momentum, and now we’re racing for competitive Top 5 finishes when everything’s right. That gives you hope.”
On the outside PASS Super Late Models and ACT Late Models may look the same, but underneath they are worlds apart. Becoming a master of setting up and driving both as a great mark for any driver and mechanic.
“ACT Late Models are such a different racecar compared to a PASS Super Late Model, anything that you know would work in an ACT car doesn’t really convert over. So, you got to learn to drive differently, and set them up. It’s a whole new world.”
At the same time, Sweet has been able to shake the moniker of being only a home winner.
“Our team has gotten better when we go to other places, I wouldn’t call ourselves experts, but we’re starting to unload well at any other racetrack now.”
Heading into Saturday for the final round of the PASS season at Oxford, Sweet and Chase want to take one more poke at making the car better in the shop, with the hope of Sweet being able to save tires early on, and strike hard in the late laps.
“We have a couple of things that we’re going to try to make it better. But, really the driver needs to, I wouldn’t say strategize different. The beginning of the race I definitely let the guys who are fast charged to front quicker than I did, but they didn’t wear out as much at the end as I thought they would. We were still as fast as the leader, we just got to get it a little better.”
Race fans from all across the land can see the 2020 Pro All Stars Series season finale live on Speed51.TV via pay-per-view broadcast this Saturday. (Click here to order)
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51