Published Date Written by Lloyd JonesBy Lloyd Jones
CONWAY — Sitting on a 30-point lead, Andy Shaw knew all he had to do to win a third straight P.A.S.S. Modified championship was to drive a smart final race and try to stay out of trouble. The Center Conway resident did exactly that on Oct. 20, and his seventh-place finish at Oxford Plains Speedway was more than enough to lock in a three-peat for he and his crew.
"The last three years have been an unbelievable ride," Shaw said. "I'm fortunate to have an excellent crew. My crew chief is Tony Mason from Vermont, he's put a lot of effort into my racing."
Joining Mason in the pits are Steve Chaput, Chris Warming, Phil Butterfield and Chris Bryant.
"I could not do it without car owners Dave, Crystal and Kameron Weir, too," Shaw, 35, said.
The previous two years Shaw had gone into the last race with the championship almost sewn up. He actually won those final two races to top off the championships.
"This year, with more drivers, it's been a lot more competitive," Shaw, who teaches machine tools at the MWV Career and Technical Center at Kennett High, said.
It took two additional weekends to get in the championship due to rain outs and it looked like it might be more of the same on the morning of Oct. 20 when Mother Nature's continuous showers forced a late start to racing action.
In the race itself, Dana Reed, of Shapleigh, Maine, chased down Scott McDaniel, of Livermore, Maine, in the waning laps and cruised to victory in the 40 lap P.A.S.S. Modified main event. Alan Wilson, of Hebron, Maine rolled home in third, but saw his championship hopes go by the wayside, as point leader, Shaw raced home in the seventh spot to claim the title. Rounding out the top five were Mike Carrigan, of Somersworth, and Mitch Miller, of West Boylston, Mass..
Shaw, who posted six top five finishes in nine races this season including a pair of victories, finished with 906 points to win the championship by 23 points. Watson was second with 883 while Carrigan rounded out the top three with 863 points.
In other racing from the weekend, Center Conway's DJ Shaw finished second on the day and third overall in the Super Late Models championship standings.
A full field of 32 Super Late Models rolled to the line for the 150 green flag lap grind with Austin Theriault taking control of the race following a caution on lap 41. Theriault would go on to survive four more cautions and a rear view mirror full of DJ Shaw, Ben Rowe, Tony Ricci and Corey Bubar.
The final restart came on lap 146 setting up a dramatic finish for the youngster from Fort Kent, Maine. Shaw tried a bonsai move hoping to cut off Theriault heading into turn one, but Theriault battled back in turn two and secured his first ever P.A.S.S. North victory. Shaw settled for second, followed by Tony Ricci, Ben Rowe and Corey Bubar.
Travis Benjamin, by virtue of his 10th place finish, captured his first ever P.A.S.S. North Super Late Model championship. Benjamin took a seven point lead into the main event over Cassius Clark, but the battle never materialized as Clark struggled with mechanical problems throughout the race, and never was a factor as he struggled to a 16th place finish.
In 15 races this season, Benjamin, of Morrill, Maine, posted 11 top 10 finishes, 10 top fives and a victory to amass 3,188 points. Clark, of Farmington, Maine, had three wins in 15 starts to go with 12 top 10 results and nine top five finishes for 3,169 points. Shaw, who finished third with 3,143 points, drove to victory lane twice in 15 starts and finished in the top 10 a solid 11 times along with seven top-five results.