NAPLES, Maine — For many, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer.
Folks all over the country break out their swimsuits and sunscreen to unwind after hibernating through the winter and spring. For race fans, the upcoming weekend highlights many of the pinnacles in racing.
Open wheel’s Indianapolis 500 and the Grand Prix of Monaco and stock car racing’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway are some of the most coveted trophies in all of motorsports.
Short track racing is no different. The Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model divisions provide some of the toughest competition in all of racing. And, competitors know they have beaten the best if they are lucky enough to take home a checkered flag in PASS. It is a rare occasion when both the PASS North and PASS South Super Late Models compete on the same weekend and Memorial Day weekend just happens to be one of those occasions.
This weekend the best short track drivers in the country will be in competition with the PASS South Super Late Models and PASS Pro Late Models racing at North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway on Friday night and the PASS North Super Late Models racing at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday afternoon.
The PASS South Super Late Models will start the weekend off on Friday returning to Caraway Speedway for the “Krazy” Kevin Powell 150. In two events at Caraway in 2012, PASS South frontrunners Kyle Grissom and Jay Fogleman took home the checkered flags. The two drivers enter Friday night’s event separated by just six points for the PASS South point lead.
This weekend’s sponsor at Caraway Speedway is also a part-time competitor in PASS South. Kevin Powell began racing with PASS late last year at South Boston Speedway and immediately adapted to the series, regularly running in the top ten. Powell’s PASS South highlight thus far was a stirring drive from 22nd to finish third at the season opening South Carolina Clash at Dillon Motor Speedway.
But, Powell believes his best is yet to come and that it could come this weekend.
“Caraway Speedway is special because it’s in my backyard, all the fans know ‘Krazy’ Kevin Powell and they know my sponsor Q104,” said Powell. “Dicky and Becky Woodman give me a really good car and it’s easy to look good when the car’s so good. These PASS South super late models are so fun because you have to get up on the wheel for 150 laps.”
While the PASS South is competing in North Carolina, New England’s best racers will be heating things up in New Hampshire. The PASS North late models return to the United States thus Saturday night after a hard fought contest last weekend at Canada’s Autodrome Chaudiere.
While Patrick Laperle went to victory lane, PASS North point leader Joey Doiron padded his point lead over Travis Benjamin and D.J. Shaw in unlikely fashion. Doiron raced his way to a second place finish in Shaw’s backup car after he lost an engine in practice.
Four-time PASS North Champion Ben Rowe certainly has to be looking forward to racing this weekend at White Mountain. PASS’s all-time wins leader collected nine of those checkered flags at White Mountain, more than any other driver. Rowe’s best finish so far this season has been fourth at the PASS North season opener at Oxford Plains. And, he no doubt believes this weekend at White Mountain could be where he tastes victory for the first time this season.
“I’m hoping for a lot better luck at White Mountain, the last two race haven’t gone exactly the way we would have liked,” said Rowe. “Racing on Memorial Day weekend is cool, but all I ever do is race. Hopefully a lot of fans will come out because I know they’ll see a great race.”