PORTLAND, ME — Five different drivers from across the northeast were honored for their achievements Friday evening, as the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) officially crowned its 2006 points champions at Verillo’s in Portland, Maine.

Johnny Clark, Chris Staples, Derek Ramstrom, Jimmy Rosenfield, and Matt Lee were all recognized as champions in their respective divisions. The top 10 drivers from the Super Late Model, Modified, Outlaw Late Model Central, North, and Combined divisions were honored, along with the presentation of several special awards. The evening was capped by music and dancing as race teams celebrated their 2006 successes.

After the crowd of 300-plus had enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner from the staff at Verillo’s, PASS president Tom Mayberry opened the awards ceremony with words of appreciation for his staff and the racers themselves who put on the show.

“I appreciate all the support during a tough season,” said Mayberry. “We didn’t get much cooperation from the weather this year, and I know it made it hard for all of us. But because you all showed patience and dedication, we managed to have another successful season of racing.

“When I look back at where this all started and realize how far we’ve come, it’s pretty impressive,” continued Mayberry. “Interest in what we do continues to grow, from tracks wanting to host races to teams wanting to come race with us. I think the competition we have in our Super Late Model division is second-to-none, and I’m thrilled with the car counts and quality of racing in our Outlaw Late Model division. There are several new Modifieds being built out there, and I think 2007 will be strong for that class, as well. Overall, PASS remains very healthy and our outlook for the future is bright. All of this is because of the great show you guys (race teams) put on week-in and week-out. I’m looking forward to more of the same during the 2007 season.”

Mayberry then moved on to present several special awards as the ceremony continued. First up was Cassius Clark, who was selected as Most Improved Driver. Clark, of Farmington, Maine, earned a series-high five wins in 2006, along with four runner-up finishes. His Team EJP/Chapman Racing Ford Fusion was the hottest thing on wheels for much of the season.

Next to be recognized was veteran Alan Wilson, recipient of the Hard Luck Award. The Hebron, Maine, native was competitive at every venue in 2006, yet tough luck prevented him from reaching Victory Lane. Wilson is one of the most respected and easy-going drivers to ever sign in at the back gate. He is a quiet man who lets his performance speak for him.

This year’s Sportsmanship Award went to two teams, both of whom exemplified giving to others in times of need. Johnny Clark Motorsports and Cushman Competition were the co-winners for 2006 after working tirelessly on two different engine swaps for other teams during a recent trip to Nova Scotia. Members of these squads worked hard to ensure their rivals could race against them. Their efforts did not go unrecognized.

Jack Gerbrands of Northern Race Tires was presented with a Special Appreciation award for his many contributions to PASS racing. Jack provides quality American Racer tires for all PASS divisions, and the efforts of his staff are greatly appreciated each week. The Commitment to Excellence award for 2006 went to Norm Marx. The Dracut, Massachusetts, resident does a world-class job in his capacity as official photographer and Webmaster for PASS. Mayberry spoke of Norm’s dedication to maintaining the constantly-updated Web site, and how his action photos are second-to-none. Marx is indeed a valuable asset to the sanctioning body.

Next up was the Lifetime Achievement Award, given this year to Mike Rowe. The short track legend from Turner, Maine fell just 31 points shy of his first PASS North title, and leads the PASS South standings with just the Mason-Dixon Meltdown 250 lap race at South Boston Speedway, South Boston, VA on November 24th and 25th remaining. Rowe has won just about every major race ever run in the northeast, some more than once. He is truly a living legend.

Besides the battle for the championship each year, another focus of attention is how the rookie drivers fare throughout the season. Troy Morse was recognized as 2006 Rookie-of-the-Year in the Modified division, while Alan Tardiff was recipient in the Super Late Models. Both drivers showed tremendous potential and determination all season long.

Rosenfield, of Middleboro, Mass., was recognized as Central division champion in the Outlaw Late Models, while Lee, of Albion, Maine, claimed the North division title. Ramstrom, the teenage sensation from West Boylston, Mass., earned the combined title in his first year driving a full-bodied race car. At just 15, Ramstrom has an incredibly bright future in this sport.

Staples had a fantastic season in the Modified division, and recognized his entire team for their efforts in helping him earn the title. The Brunswick, Maine driver will return to defend his crown in 2007.

Capping a wonderful night of celebration, Johnny Clark received a standing ovation from the crowd as he received his second PASS North Super Late Model championship trophy in three years. The Farmingdale, Maine driver was emotional as he thanked all those who made the achievement possible.

“We struggled in the first couple of races this year,” said Clark. “I didn’t think we could ever climb back into contention, but we pulled it off. I’d like to thank everybody on this team for digging in and keeping their heads up. We got things turned around, and this championship means the world to me. It takes a ton of work and a little luck to get here, I’m proud of this group and what we accomplished. I hope to come back and do it again in 2007.”

The 2007 PASS North Super Late Model season will kick off on April 21 at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. A complete schedule, featuring roughly 13 points-paying races will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, go to www.proallstarsseries.com.