Both the Pro All Star Series SLM division and Modified division returned to Oxford Plains Speedway this past Sunday. With sunny skies and warm fall temperatures, it was the picture-perfect day for 150 laps of Pro All Star Series racing action.
The day kicked off with three 15-lap qualifying heats for the Super Late Model division. Alan Tardiff powered into the early lead in the first heat as Brandon Barker advanced to third in the opening laps. Mike Rowe was also on the move, advancing into the top 5 on lap 6 after starting toward the rear of the field. There was a top 2 breakaway by the halfway mark and Garrett Hall advanced to third over Brandon Barker in the closing laps. Alan Tardiff took home the heat victory, followed by Alan Wilson and Garrett Hall.
Ben Rowe got an early jump over Nick Sweet in the second qualifying heat. Mike Hopkins was on the move early, advancing to third on lap 2. Bobby Therrien came to a slow on lap 3, making the dreaded right-hand turn down to the pits. By lap 5, Nick Sweet was all over Ben Rowe, battling him for the lead once again. Sammy Gooden came to a slow on lap 6, retiring from the heat early. Ben Rowe held off Nick Sweet, scoring the heat victory by a .008 margin of victory. Mike Hopkins rounded out the top 3.
Derek Griffith took off with the early lead in the third and final qualifying heat. Drivers were 3-wide for the runner-up spot early, with Travis Benjamin taking over the spot. Ben Ashline was on the move in the second half of the heat, breaking the top 5 on lap 8. Jonathan Emerson fell off-pace on lap 13, heading down to the pits. Derek Griffith captured the heat victory, followed by Travis Benjamin and Johnny Clark.
30 drivers took the green flag for the 150-lap feature. Alan Tardiff powered into the early lead. Ben Ashline was also on the move early, breaking the top 5 on lap 5. But, Derek Griffith was on his heels, stealing away the spot on lap 7. Ben Rowe began challenging Alan Tardiff for the lead on lap 8, clearing him for the top spot the following lap. Mike Hopkins made his way around Alan Tardiff on lap 12, advancing into the runner-up spot.
Mike Rowe faced troubles on lap 18, heading down into the pits before his crew members went to work underneath the hood. Roland Robinson came to a slow on lap 22, retiring his #28 machine for the day. Dillon Moltz took a spin on lap 28 in turn 4, leading to the first caution of the feature. Tim Brackett faced troubles early, retiring his #60 car to the back pits under yellow.
Ben Rowe and Mike Hopkins went head-to-head for the lead on the restart, but DJ Shaw was right on their heels. Dillon Moltz came to a slow on lap 33, retiring to the pits. Brandon Barker took a spin on lap 38 in turn 4, sending him off-track. The incident led to another caution.
Ben Rowe held the advantage on the restart, pulling away from his competitors. Ben Ashline cleared Derek Griffith for third on lap 54, then setting his sights on Mike Hopkins. Derek Griffith was on his toes again on lap 66, clearing him for the spot just two laps later. 2019 Oxford 250 champion, Travis Benjamin, was navigating through the field, advancing to fourth over Ben Ashline on lap 72. Dan Winter and Sammy Gooden made contact on lap 77 in turn 1, leading to another yellow flag. Gooden showcased his frustrations under yellow, making more contact with the #81 Winter Racing machine. Gooden was parked for the remainder of the race following the incident.
Drivers were 3-wide for the lead on the restart, with Ben Rowe losing the top spot as Mike Hopkins and Derek Griffith began battling it out. Derek Griffith finally cleared Mike Hopkins on lap 85, setting off into the sunset. DJ Shaw was on the move, advancing to third over Mike Hopkins on lap 94. Ben Rowe was all over Derek Griffith for the lead on lap 102, stealing the top spot away once again that lap. Ben Ashline and Craig Weinstein made hard contact on lap 112 in turn 4, leading to a late-race caution.
Ben Rowe and Derek Griffith were head-to-head for the lead once again on the restart, with Griffith gaining the advantage over Ben Rowe on lap 115. The leaders were single-file with ten laps remaining and Derek Griffith held off the competition, taking home the victory. Ben Rowe, DJ Shaw, Travis Benjamin and Reid Lanpher rounded out the top five.
Derek Griffith has had a string of bad luck at Oxford Plains Speedway, but he finally snapped the streak on Sunday!
DJ Shaw still maintains the PASS North points lead, but things are sure to get interesting with four races still remaining in the 2019 season.
You can catch the Pro All Star Series next this upcoming Saturday, September 21st, at White Mountain Motorsports Park. The racing action begins at 6:30 pm. See you there!