popular win for the super late model veteran
Naples ME (7/13) Gary Smith didn’t lead a lot of laps in Tuesday night’s Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North 200 at Lee (NH) USA Speedway but he took the battle to defending series champion Johnny Clark and put his Bud and Rays/Uncle Henry’s ride out front with five to go to score his first Pro All Stars Series win in eleven seasons of trying. Donnie Whitten got by Clark at the checkers for second, and Clark crossed the stripe third.
Early on it was all Joey Pole. Pole grabbed the lead from Matt Frahm at the initial green and the pair took off with defending race winner Mike Rowe in Paul Watts 2x giving chase. That was the order at lap fifty and it stayed that way until the first caution flew at lap 71 for Bryan Cruszek’s wall slapper, ending his solid top ten run.
The front three stayed on track, and Pole resumed control. Ben Rowe had rumbled up to the top five and Gary Smith was now inside the top ten.. When the crossed flags were displayed it was still Joey Pole in command but Ben Rowe was now his challenger with Lonnie Sommerville third, Frahm fourth and Gary Smith fifth. Rowe drove around Pole on lap 105 for the the night’s first lead change Sommerville took a turn challenging for the lead and Smith had made his way to third, chasing down the top two as they battled side by side.
The second caution of the night flew at lap 117 for Alex Gingras harmless spin, and the field all hit pit road for tires and adjustments. Everyone but Gary Smith and Scott Alexander, that is, as the pair decided to hang on for a few more laps before making their stop. Ben Rowe won the race out of the pits and quickly dispatched with Smith for the lead with Johnny Clark following through to third. It was Sommervilles turn to make a charge and the Canadian hot shoe made his move for the lead on lap 142. A pair of quick yellows gave Clark the outside line and he took advantage just as the caution flew for a front stretch melee involving Joey Pole, Ben Rowe and Mike Rowe. The mess ended Pole and Mike Rowe’s night and Ben Rowe was no longer a contender.
At the three quarter mark Clark was still in control with Sommerville, Donnie Whitten, Scott Dragon and Smith all giving chase. Smith had held off his tire stop to late in the race, and it looked like that strategy might pay off.
The caution flew once again for contact between Scott Dragon and Donnie Whitten and race control sent Whitten to the back of the pack for his role in the incident. The caution set up one of the best displays of side by side racing that PASS has ever seen. Clark took command on the restart and opened up a slight margin over Sommerville, but Smith quickly took over second and set his sights on the leader. Clark chose the high side and Smith took the bottom, and the pair swapped the lead time after time over the last twenty laps. A lapped car took away Smith’s lane at one point but he battled right back and by lap 193 Smith was up to Clark’s door once again. Two laps later he made the move stick to end an eleven year PASS victory lane drought for his family race team.
Donnie Whitten came on strong from the back of the field to nip Clark at the line.for a strong second place finish.Clark, Sommerville and Frahm rounded out the top five.
PASS North takes the weekend off before hosting the PASS National Championship series at Thompson (CT) International Speedway on Thursday July 21st. Then its on to Oxford Plains Speedway for the return of the super late models on the night before “The 250” , Saturday July 23rd.
Get all the details on line at www.proallstarsseries.com .
Offical order of finish – PASS North Bastille 200 – Lee USA Speedway – Lee, NH – 7/12
1 75 Gary Smith Bangor ME 2 7 Donnie Whitten Biddeford ME 3 54 Johnny Clark Farmingdale ME 4 48 Lonnie Sommerville New Brunswick CA 5 14M Matt Frahm N Salem NH 6 17 Travis Benjamin Morrill ME 7 17A Scott Alexander Orrington ME 8 10 Scott Dragon Colchester VT 9 Kyle DeSouza E. Providence RI 10 4 Ben Rowe Turner ME 11 12 John Dabrowski W Bridgewater MA 12 2 Matt Matheson Geary New Brunswick CA 13 27QC Alex Gingras Quebec City QC 14 77 Scott Chubbuck Dresden ME 15 97 Joey Polewareczyk Hudson NH 16 2X Mike Rowe Turner ME 17 73 Joey Doiron Berwick ME 18 00 Bryan Kruczek Newmarket NH 19 09 Bobby Baillargeron Kingston NH 20 11 Austin Brehio Hopkinton NH
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