NAPLES, ME (April 17) – After what seemed to be a never ending off season, Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North competitors in the Super Late Model, Modified, and Sportsman divisions will begin the 2013 season this Sunday afternoon at Oxford Plains Speedway. This weekend’s Ripley and Fletcher 150 will take on added importance for the PASS North Super Late Models since they will head back to Oxford on July 21st for the 40th Annual TD Bank 250. A fact not lost on 6-Time PASS North Champion Johnny Clark.
“There will be a lot of heavy hitters and all the teams will be raring to go at Oxford,” said Clark. “Everyone wants to make a statement that they’re ready for the 250. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the season then rolling into victory lane at OPS.”
The 2012 season was a bit of disappointment for Johnny Clark. Finishing fourth in points with two wins would be a great year for most drivers, but not for the man trying to stake his claim as one of the greatest racers New England has ever seen.
“I’m really excited for the start of the 2013 season,” said Clark. “We have been in the shop working hard prepping our equipment to have a successful year. The team is anxious to get going and make a solid run for a seventh PASS North championship.”
But, two of the drivers he will have to contend with at Sunday’s Ripley and Fletcher Ford 150 are the two men that came to Oxford last fall battling for the championship…Travis Benjamin and Cassius Clark. Benjamin was a picture of consistency throughout the 2012 season, while C. Clark made a late-season surge for the title. In the end, Benjamin prevailed by 19 points over C. Clark to etch his name in the PASS record books as only the fourth different driver to ever claim the series title.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting being announced as the defending champion,” said Benjamin. “This weekend’s race will be a good race with a lot of cars. Everyone is trying to get a good setup for the 250. I think starting up front is going to play a huge roll in who will win this race. It could definitely come down to the luck of the draw.”
For Cassius Clark, last year was another near miss at the PASS North championship. But, his series leading three wins is even more impressive when considering that 2012 was his first full season racing with the Hight Motorsports team and crew chief Brian Burgess. Anything less than consistently winning and threatening for another championship will be considered failure for the veteran from Farmington, Maine.
“We won some races last year and came up just a little short of the championship,” said C. Clark. “All in all, we had a great first year together but we all want more and have worked hard over the off season to achieve that. We are more ready than we were last year and have all worked together for a while now. Plus, Brian and I are getting a good feel for our Port City chassis.”
Starting at Oxford Plains with the Ripley and Fletcher Ford 150 could make for a long season for C. Clark’s fellow PASS North competitors. Maine’s most famous racetrack is one Cassius’ favorite and a place he has found success at often.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the season started at Oxford, one of my home tracks and a track I’ve had a lot of success at in the past with 3 wins,” said the 2008 PASS National Champion. “Hopefully the weather is great and we get a great turnout bringing the PASS Super Late Models back to one of Maine’s premier tracks.”
Car counts for the PASS Southern Late Model tour have averaged well over 30 cars through the first four races and PASS North looks to be no different with a great field expected on Sunday. Former TD Bank 250 winners and father-son duo Mike and Ben Rowe return looking for more Oxford success. Speaking of former Oxford Plains winners Austin Theriault and Scott Mulkern have also filed early entries. DJ Shaw, Trevor Sanborn, Joey Doiron, and Kyle Desouza will represent the ever growing PASS youth movement looking to make a statement. Former track champion Tim Brackett will try to hold the homestead down as will fellow Maine drivers Bradley Babb, Corey Bubar, Curtis Gerry, David Farrington, Jr., Reid Lanpher, David Oliver, and Bobby Timmons. A strong Canadian contingent will be represented by New Brunswick’s Matt Matheson and Quebec champions Alexandre Gingras, and Jean Francois Dery. Derek Ramstrom hopes to parlay a top 10 finish in the most recent PASS South event into a good run at Oxford along with fellow Massachusetts driver Tony Ricci. New Hampshire racers Dan Colby and Bryan Kruczek also hope to get the season started off on a good footing in the Ripley and Fletcher Ford 150 along with many more drivers expected.
Action gets under way on Saturday, April 20th for the Ripley and Fletcher Ford 150 with rotating practice from 11 AM – 4 PM for the PASS North Super Late Models, PASS Modifieds, PASS Sportsman, Street Stocks, Minis and Outlaws. On Sunday, April 21st, pit gates open at 8 AM, with rotating practice for all divisions from 10 AM – 12:45 PM, heat races at 2 PM, and main event racing to follow.
PASS North Super Late Model entry forms for the season opener at Oxford Plains Speedway on April 21st, plus entry forms the Apple Blossom 200 at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval and the TD Bank 250 at Oxford can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models and boasts such marquee events as the PASS Northwest Triple Crown at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, PASS South’s Easter Bunny 150 at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway, the Autobus La Qubecoise Triple Crown at Autodrome Chaudiere, and the legendary TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. For technical information concerning all PASS divisions please contact Scott Reed at 207-625-3230 or email@example.com. For media or marketing questions, please contact Alan Dietz at 704-231-2039 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit ProAllStarsSeries.com for more information and don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook to keep up with breaking news as it happens.