Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – DERRY, NH – The Pro All Star Series began their North Region at the beginning of April at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Following that event, here’s Stephen’s Power Rankings.
1: DJ Shaw (previous rank: 2):
The 2020 PASS North Champion is off to a hot start capturing the win at the Icebreaker 75 at Thompson Speedway. Shaw is no stranger to winning the Icebreaker as he won it back in 2019 to kick the season off. The PASS tour heads to the Magic Mile this weekend, last year at the Northeast Classic Shaw came away with a third place finish, expect him to flex his muscles this weekend again.
2: Joey Polewarczyk (previous rank: 3):
Pole’s top five didn’t come easy at the Icebreaker 75. Pole had to forfeit his heat race win due to his car not making ride height post-race inspection. He would charge from the rear in the Richard Moody owned 4 Chevrolet into the top 5. Pole didn’t compete in the Northeast Classic in 2021, but has won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his own American-Canadian Tour car.
3. Johnny Clark (Previous Rank:1):
Clark led the most laps for the lid lifter on the PASS North Series, but Shaw would lead the final 35 laps at Thompson. Clark would come home 7th at the end of the day. The defending 2021 PASS Champion is also the defending champion of the Northeast Classic and is going to be wanting to rekindle that magic at the Magic Mile this weekend.
4. Eddie MacDonald (Previous Rank: Unranked):
Longtime New England late model star MacDonald kicked his 2022 PASS North season open with a podium finish, coming home in 3rd. MacDonald started 8 PASS North races in 2021, coming home in the top 5 three times, and six top 10s. MacDonald showed speed last year at Loudon but was shuffled out late in the race, expect him to want to redeem himself this weekend.
5. Ben Rowe (Previous Rank: 5):
Teammate to Pole for most of the 2022 season came home in ninth at Thompson after starting fourteenth. Rowe will likely be pulling double duty this weekend between the PASS tour and ACT tour for the Northeast Classic Weekend. Rowe in 2021 came home in fifth in the PASS tour race and third in the ACT tour car, Rowe will be looking to continue some of that magic this weekend.
6. Jake Johnson (Previous Rank: Unranked):
Johnson started the 2022 season nearly on the right foot, coming up 1 spot short at Thompson behind winner DJ Shaw. Johnson cracked into the top 5 during the first half of the race and was in contention for the win the whole second half. Johnson made nine appearances on the PASS North tour and had one top 5 and three top 10s.
7. Gabe Brown (Previous Rank: Unranked):
Brown returned to Thompson for the Icebreaker after coming home third last year and showed speed once more coming home in fourth. Brown made 4 starts on the PASS tour and finished top 5 twice. Brown is on the entry list for the Northeast Classic and can expect him to bring speed to the Magic Mile this weekend.
8. Jake Matheson (Previous Rank: 9):
Another young driver on the PASS North tour brought it home in thirteenth among a stout field. Matheson will be eager to get to Loudon and compete among some of the best in New England.
9. Dan Winter (Previous Rank: 8):
The Icebreaker wasn’t too friendly for Winter who came home eighteenth after dealing with handling issues, compared to the 2021 Icebreaker where Winter kicked the season off with a top 10. Winter will be eager to rebound at the Magic Mile.
10. Kate Re (Previous Rank: 10):
It was a rough go for the Kulwicki Driver Development program finalist after steering issues caused her to hit the turn 1 wall on practice for the Icebreaker. Re will be hungry to rebound this weekend as she did show speed in 2021 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, coming home in eleventh.
On the Radar:
Griffith wasn’t in attendance for the Icebreaker 75 as he was competing at Richmond Raceway with the NASCAR Xfinity tour series. Griffith took home a ninth place finish at the Magic Mile in 2021 at the Northeast Classic. Griffith will be eager for seat time this weekend as he will race in the Xfinity series in July when NASCAR makes the trip north.
A former Kulwicki Driver Development finalist, and a hot shoe on the PASS or ACT tours showed early season speed coming home sixth. Kuhn is on the entry list for the PASS race, and will likely be competing in his ACT tour car as well.
Hall showed speed at Thompson, capturing a heat race win during the Icebreaker weekend. Hall would finish the weekend with a top 10, coming home in tenth. Hall is on the entry list for the Northeast Classic, expect him to flex more strength this weekend.