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Lanpher ends year-long dry spell with Oxford PASS 400 victory

Derek Griffith slips past DJ Shaw for points lead in penultimate PASS North race

Lanpher wins Oxford 150 @ PASS 400 Weekend 2019
Reid Lanpher celebrates his first PASS North victory in just over a year, winning the Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150 as part of Oxford Plains Speedway's season-ending PASS 400 Weekend. (Jeff Brown photo)

A year and five days since his last trip to a Pro All Stars Series victory circle, Reid Lanpher turned in a statement performance in Saturday’s Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150, part of Oxford Plains Speedway’s season-ending PASS 400 Weekend.

Lanpher won his heat race, started on the pole, and led every lap, surviving challenges on two late restarts to earn his first PASS victory of 2019.

“To finally get a win…and it’s pretty hard-fought,” Lanpher said after sliding his car under the checkered flag. “It takes the lows to [make] the highs feel that much better.”

The victory was a long-awaited bright spot in a year that had not measured up to expectations for the 21-year-old from Manchester, Maine. After a 2018 season that included two PASS wins, extracurricular victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Seekonk Speedway, and only one finish outside the top ten in 13 PASS North starts, Lanpher entered 2019 primed for success.

But mechanical gremlins and other misfortunes slowed the #59 team early on. A tune-up in Oxford’s first weekly Super Late Model feature resulted in a win for Lanpher and team, but four fifth-place finishes were Lanpher’s best PASS results in his 12 starts entering Saturday’s race. Three of those fifth-place runs had come at Oxford.

“It’s definitely been a tough year for us,” Lanpher said of the season. “But that’s just how racing goes.”

Ramstrom vs Robbins, PASS 400 Weekend 2019

Veterans Derek Ramstrom (32) and Scott Robbins (72) battled throughout the afternoon, with Robbins earning a career-best second-place finish. (Jeff Brown photo)

Oxford veteran and 2002 Oxford 250 champion Scott Robbins finished second, his first podium finish in PASS North competition. Robbins, who started third, ran in the top five all afternoon before charging into the runner-up spot late in the race.

Derek Ramstrom finished third in his first outing for car owner Archie St. Hilaire, owner of NASCAR team Go FAS Racing. Ramstrom’s red-and-black #32 had come from the shop of car owner Peter Petit, who won August’s Oxford 250 with driver Travis Benjamin. “Archie’s a great guy, and Peter, they set me up with this,” Ramstrom said of the new arrangement. “Just a good team collaboration, and we’ll see what happens in the future with Go FAS Racing.”

Joey Doiron, wheeling one of Gabe Brown’s cars, finished fourth in his first PASS race of 2019. Ben Ashline battled from a consi victory and a 26th-place start to round out the top five in his fourth start for car owner Ajay Picard.

Championship rivals Derek Griffith and DJ Shaw crossed paths early in the afternoon, when both were involved in an incident during their qualifying heat. Griffith, who reversed his career fortunes at Oxford in August and September, battled from 18th place at the start to a seventh-place finish. Shaw was not so fortunate; the three-time PASS North champion was forced to the pits for repairs, and while he appeared to have a fast mount in the consi, he struggled to clear traffic during the race. Shaw finished 15th, a lap behind the leaders, and now trails Griffith for the first time all season entering the season’s final race.

Forty-two Super Late Models were in the pits, with 34 taking the green flag for the headline event of the PASS 400 Weekend. Tyler King won the 50-lap PASS Modified season finale, with Spencer Morse officially celebrating his first series championship. The American-Canadian Tour Flying Tigers raced at Oxford for the first time, with 2019 champion Jason Woodard claiming the win in the 75-lap Oxford Open. Billy Childs, Jr. won the 75-lap Honey Badger Street Stock Series feature, and Alex Mowatt claimed a win in the afternoon’s Bandits feature.

The Pro All Stars Series North season comes to a close next Saturday at Seekonk Speedway. Derek Griffith and DJ Shaw will settle the 2019 championship at the Cement Palace in a double-bill event that also features the Tri-Track Open Modified Series for their own “Haunted Hundred” championship finale.

Unofficial Results, Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150:
1. (59) Reid Lanpher
2. (72) Scott Robbins
3. (32) Derek Ramstrom
4. (47X) Joey Doiron
5. (99) Ben Ashline
6. (88X) Brandon Barker
7. (12G) Derek Griffith
8. (03) Scott Moore
9. (29) Austin Teras
10. (4) Ben Rowe
11. (51) John Peters
12. (17MA) Eddie MacDonald
13. (61) TJ Brackett
14. (47) Gabe Brown
15. (60) DJ Shaw
16. (81) Dan Winter
17. (40) Nick Sweet
18. (29X) Trevor Sanborn
19. (8) Calvin Rose, Jr.
20. (7) Travis Benjamin
21. (94X) Shawn Martin
22. (5X) Bobby Therrien
23. (53) Alan Wilson
24. (7G) Curtis Gerry
25. (18) Michael Scorzelli
26. (60) Tim Brackett
27. (50) Jeff White
28. (1VT) Evan Hallstrom
29. (94) Garrett Hall
30. (54) Johnny Clark
31. (53X) Cole Butcher
32. (15) Mike Hopkins
33. (24) Mike Rowe
34. (88) Jeff Taylor

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Jeff Brown is a contributor to Short Track Scene. A native of New Hampshire and a long-time fan of New England racing, Brown provides a fan's perspective as he follows New England's regional Late Model touring series.

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