With temperatures rising above 100 degrees, the heat was rising in the air and on the track at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday. The day’s events featured an 150-lap Super Late Model event in addition to 50-lap races for the Limited Late Models and the PASS Modified division.
The PASS Modified division continues to grow in numbers with every passing season and 26 drivers showed up to compete in the division on Sunday.
The Modified competition kicked off with 3 qualifying heats. Tyler King took off with the early lead in the first heat, but trouble was brewing behind the leader. Mark Simond and Ajay Cates tangled early, resulting in an early-race caution.
Tyler King took off with the lead once again on the restart as rookie, Garrett Lamb, quickly powered into the runner-up spot. Lamb was all over King for the top spot with just two laps to go, but King was able to hold him off to the finish, capturing the heat victory. Gary Chiasson rounded out the top 3.
Kevin Durgin took off with the early lead over Zach Nicholson in the second qualifying heat and never looked back, solidifying the heat victory. Spencer Vaughan rounded out the top 3.
Brad Hammond and Spencer Morse went head to head for the early lead in the third and final qualifying heat before Morse pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 2.
Shawn Knight, pulling double duty in the Limited Late Model and Modified divisions, advanced into the runner-up spot over Brad Hammond on lap 3. Dan Morris came to a slow on lap 6, retiring to the pits. Spencer Morse maintained his lead, ultimately scoring the heat victory. Shawn Knight and Jake Madore rounded out the top 3.
Once the field was set, Kevin Durgin took off with the early lead in the 50-lap feature. Zach Nicholson and Garrett Lamb, both rookies and former competitors at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, battled it out for the runner-up spot in the early laps of the feature before Nicholson took sole possession of the spot on lap 6.
Gary Chiasson and Shawn Knight ignited a door-to-door battle for fourth on lap 15. The two drivers battled it out for a few laps before Knight pulled away with the advantage on lap 19. While battling for position, Chanler Harrison took a spin on the front stretch on lap 23, but the field remained green. In a shocking turn of events, Tyler King retired to the pits on lap 25 after his #11 machine began to overheat.
After a strong showing all day, Shawn Knight retired to the pits on lap 28 as Kyle Treadwell followed. Ajay Cates’ struggles continued as he took another spin on lap 34 in turn 2, resulting in a late-race caution.
Kevin Durgin and Zach Nicholson went head to head for the lead on the restart, but Garrett Lamb was right on their heels.
Durgin briefly pulled away with the advantage, but Nicholson made a bold crossover move on lap 40, diving to Durgin’s inside before capturing the top spot. Garrett Lamb followed in succession as Durgin began to descend through the field.
Zach Nicholson maintained his lead through the finish, where he picked up his first career PASS Modified victory. The young driver has grown tremendously over the past 5 years, advancing from Street Stocks to Late Model Sportsmen to now, a PASS Modified. He is funding his racing dreams solo and is doing a tremendous job, all while learning how to build race cars working with Davis Chassis Works as his day job during the week.
Garrett Lamb captured the runner-up spot while Colby Benjamin, Gary Chiasson and Spencer Vaughan rounded out the top five.
Young competitors like Zach Nicholson, Garrett Lamb and Colby Benjamin continue to grow and pick up podium finishes as the season rolls on. Veteran drivers like Tyler King and Spencer Morse may have struggled on Sunday, but both drivers will surely return to the podium again in no time.
The PASS Modified division continues to remain competitive and it’ll be interesting to see how the competition plays out over the course of the 2021 season.
Catch the next PASS Modified race on Sunday, June 20th at Hudson Speedway. The racing action kicks off at 2:00 pm.
Continue chasing the checkered and support your local short tracks and touring divisions. I hope to see you soon!
Photo credit for featured cover photo: Pro All Star Series/Norm Marx