45 PASS Super Late Model cars showed up to Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, hoping to make it into the PASS season finale. Former PASS North champion Travis Benjamin came into the day with the points lead, hoping to secure his second title in the division. Maine’s wonder boy and 2017 ARCA champion Austin Theriault was back in Maine for the weekend, giving it a go in his #57 PASS North machine and making his first (and only) appearance for the season back in his home state of Maine. 2017 Oxford 250 champion Curtis Gerry was back at Oxford to round out his 2017 with the goal to continue his success at the 1/3 mile paved oval.
The day started out with four 15-lap qualifying heats where the top 5 drivers from each heat would immediately advance into the 150-lap feature. Jeremy Davis took a tough hit in the first qualifying heat, going hard into the turn 2 wall on lap 11 and ultimately ending his day early on a sour note. Joey Doiron sailed off with the victory after pulling away from the field from the get-go. Tracy Gordon, Derek Griffith, Kyle Treadwell and Garrett Hall also advanced to the feature. Ben Rowe stole the early lead from Brandon Barker in the second qualifying heat as DJ Shaw, Austin Theriault and Cole Butcher battled tooth and nail for the fifth (and final) qualifying spot behind them. DJ Shaw and Cole Butcher won that battle as Austin Theriault succumbed to the battle and slowly fell to the rear of the field. Ben Rowe, Brandon Barker, Johnny Clark, DJ Shaw and Cole Butcher advanced to the feature.
Oxford 250 champion Curt Gerry held onto the lead for the entirety of the third qualifying heat as 2017 Beech Ridge track champion Reid Lanpher quickly made his way into the runner-up spot using the top line to his advantage. Gerry and Lanpher both advanced to the big show with Scott Robbins, Shawn Martain and Scott Luce in tow. Points leader Travis Benjamin started the fourth qualifying heat in second place, but quickly made his way around Wayne Helliwell, Jr. for the lead. Dave Farrington, Jr. was also on the move, making a lap 14 pass for P2 over Helliwell. Benjamin, Farrington, Helliwell, TJ Brackett and Adam Polvinen all advanced to the feature.
After getting into a vicious wreck just three weeks ago, Matty Sanborn came back to win the first PASS Modified heat. Ben Tinker continued his dominance, winning the second heat. Jimmy Emerson was closing in toward the end of the heat, but he just couldn’t seal the deal.
After barely missing out on a top five spot in his qualifying heat, John Peters rab away with the lead in the first consolation heat for the 150, capturing a 1/2 straightaway lead before taking home the checkered flag. Rusty Poland, Billy Rogers, Scott McDaniel and Bill Penfold also advanced to the feature. Maine racing legend Mike Rowe ans Glen Luce pulled away from the field early in the final consolation heat. Austin Theriault made his way into P3 on lap 2 after passing 2017 OPS champion Alan Tardiff for the position. Rowe, Luce, Theriault, Tardiff and Dennis Spencer all advanced to the big show.
Matty Sanborn took the early lead in the 40-lap PASS Modified feature, but Mark Lunblad, Jr. was right there on his heels. Lunblad took the lead on lap 2, pulling away from the field. Points leader Ben Tinker broke the top five on lap 12, trying to claw his way up to the front of the pack. By lap 28, the leaders had met the tail of the field and approached heavy lap traffic. The #12 of Jimmy Emerson advanced to P3 using the lap traffic to his advantage on lap 32. He took it 3-wide for the runner-up spot on lap 35, using a slower lap car to split him and the #64 of Matty Sanborn. He managed to take away the spot from Sanborn, then setting his sights on Lunblad at the front of the pack. Lunblad took home the victory, followed by Jimmy Emerson, Matty Sanborn, Bruce Helmuth and Ben Tinker. Tinker was crowned the 2017 PASS Modified champion.
Ben Rowe and Tracy Gordon started on the front row for the finale, followed by Brandon Barker, Dave Farrington and Johnny Clark. Ben Rowe pulled away with the early lead, but Farrington was on the move. Farrington captured the top spot on lap 9, pulling away with a nice gap between him and the rest of the leaders. By lap 27, the leaders had already caught up with lap traffic. In traffic, Farrington had pulled away with nearly a full straightaway lead. The #73 of Adam Polvinen took a spin on lap 45, bringing out the first caution of the feature. Heavy hitters like Kyle Treadwell, Derek Griffith, Austin Theriault and Glen Luce were among those that decided to head to the pits under caution. The #14 of Scott McDaniel then took a spin on lap 52, bringing out another caution. Mike Rowe, Kyle Treadwell, Scott McDaniel and Cole Butcher were among those that got into a wreck on the restart in turns one and two, leaving the #44 of Treadwell with extensive cosmetic damage.
Tracy Gordon took the lead on the restart as John Peters made his way into P8 after starting toward the rear of the pack. By lap 70, there was a 2-car breakaway at the front of the pack with Tracy Gordon and Joey Doiron taking part in their own battle at the front of the pack. Doiron made his way around Gordon for the lead on lap 78. Beech Ridge track champion Reid Lanpher broke into the top 5 on lap 83 with Curtis Gerry hot on his heels. Gerry made his way around Lanpher for the spot on lap 88. He furthered his pursuit to the front on the same lap, clearing both Travis Benjamin and DJ Shaw for position as he climbed up to third. Scott Luce, Shawn Martain and Cole Butcher were among those that got caught up in an incident on lap 98 in turn 4, bringing out another caution.
Joey Doiron took control of the lead on the restart, but Curt Gerry was showing strength, powering his way into the runner-up spot on the restart. Gerry made his way to Doiron’s outside on lap 109, challenging him for the top spot. He never let up, eventually advancing to the lead on lap 110. By lap 118, the leaders were approaching the tail of the field once again. Instead of getting caught up by lap traffic, Curt Gerry plowed his way through the traffic, one after another. He furiously continued his pursuit for the checkered flag, putting heavy hitters like Alan Tardiff, Garrett Hall, Dave Farrington, Austin Theriault, Mike Rowe and John Peters one lap down. By lap 149, there were only 11 cars left on the lead lap. Curt Gerry took home the victory, followed by Travis Benjamin, DJ Shaw, Reid Lanpher and Joey Doiron. Travis Benjamin captured the 2017 PASS Championship title, making him a two-time champion in the division.
After coming into the season with the main goal of finally capturing their first PASS victory, Curtis Gerry and the entire #7 team managed to exceed their goal in 2017. In addition to winning arguably New England’s biggest race with the Oxford 250, the team pulled off the finale victory in spectacular fashion. The low-budget team from Waterboro has a lot to be proud of, with two PASS victories, five overall season victories and a runner-up finish in the Beech Ridge point standings. This was Gerry’s last race of 2017, but the team will have plenty of momentum to fuel them as they make their way into the 2018 racing season.
Join us in congratulating Travis Benjamin and the #7 team on their championship here:
Join us in congratulating Curtis Gerry and the #7 team on a job well done here: