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Dennis Spencer Surprises With First PASS SLM Win At Oxford

The veteran picked up his first touring win since 2006 and his first in a Super Late Model, stunning a PASS field in the touring series’ penultimate race of 2021.

Dennis Spencer, Jr. races his way into August's Oxford 250. The veteran racer improved on his seventh-place finish this weekend with his first career PASS North Super Late Model win in the Spencer Group Paving 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway. (Jeff Brown archive photo)

Oxford Plains Speedway is an intriguing wildcard on the Pro All Stars Series schedule, a track where a weekly racer has a great shot to earn an upset victory.

On Saturday, Dennis Spencer, Jr. was the lucky upset victor.

Spencer took home his first career PASS North checkered flag, holding off 2019 Oxford track champion Curtis Gerry to capture the Spencer Group Paving 150, the penultimate event on the PASS North calendar for 2021.

The Norway, Me. veteran was entirely absent from regional touring racing in 2020, a year after running a limited schedule with the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Only a handful of points scored in weekly competition at Oxford suggested that Spencer raced at all last year.

But Spencer re-emerged this season with a new Port City chassis, a new number, and added support from longtime partner Crazy Horse Racing, a Maine-based Port City supplier. After a year away, Spencer picked up an Oxford weekly feature win in May and finished fifth in the Oxford weekly standings.

And back on the touring circuit part-time, Spencer picked up four top-ten finishes in six PASS North starts, his first top-ten finishes in PASS Super Late Model competition. Spencer was sixth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and second at Oxford in July, with a seventh-place run in the long-distance Oxford 250.

Saturday’s win, surprisingly, was not Spencer’s first PASS-sanctioned win. Racing with PASS’ short-lived Outlaw Late Model Series, Spencer picked up a win at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2008. But in a smattering of starts across New England’s three key Late Model touring programs before this season, Spencer had never come close to duplicating Saturday’s performance.

Gerry’s second-place finish may have been a letdown for the 2017 Oxford 250 winner. The Waterboro, Me. driver finished in the top five in all four of his 2021 PASS starts at Oxford. However, Gerry went without a PASS win at the track where he has scored nine of his ten series victories, including back-to-back season-ending wins last year.

Johnny Clark shook off back-to-back tenth-place finishes to come home third, his fourth top-five finish of the year at Oxford. Best in class by far among his full-time PASS challengers, Clark will need horrendous luck to lose his seventh championship belt next week at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway.

Beech Ridge Motor Speedway regular Joey Pastore finished fourth, continuing the strong performances for weekly racers, with Ben Ashline fifth.

Oxford weekly championship runner-up Kyle DeSouza closed out a strong season with a sixth-place run. Calvin Rose, Jr., nearly the weekly hero of the Oxford 250 before his engine expired in the late stages, was seventh with Beech Ridge regular Travis Buzzell in eighth. Dan Winter, second in PASS North points, was ninth at the stripe, with Thunder Road feature winner Trevor Sanborn rounding out the top ten.

Thirty-five cars took the green flag, with a handful of drivers loading up after two consis set the tail of the field. Kate Re was the only other full-timer to crack the top twenty, finishing 18th. Ben Rowe struggled to a 24th-place finish, the second car one lap down. JR Robinson and Anthony Constantino were another lap behind.

Spencer became the fifth different winner in six points-paying events at PASS’ home venue this season. Oddly, none of those races were won by a PASS full-timer. Recently-crowned two-time Oxford champion Dave Farrington, Jr. won April’s round; reigning PASS North champ DJ Shaw won in June. Joey Doiron drove to victory in July, and Oxford 250 winner Cassius Clark swept both visits to the track in August. Only Farrington was on hand Saturday to repeat.

A long and somewhat unusual PASS season concludes next Saturday with the year’s third stop at Seekonk Speedway. The “Haunted Hundred,” part of a triplet of features with the ACT Late Model Tour and Tri-Track Open Modified Series, will decide not only the PASS North championship standings but the PASS National Super Late Model Championship as well.

Unofficial Results, PASS Spencer Group Paving 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway:
1. (12) Dennis Spencer, Jr.
2. (7G) Curtis Gerry
3. (54) Johnny Clark
4. (20P) Joey Pastore
5. (99) Ben Ashline
6. (1) Kyle DeSouza
7. (8) Calvin Rose, Jr.
8. (3) Travis Buzzell
9. (81) Dan Winter
10. (29S) Trevor Sanborn
11. (23) Dave Farrington, Jr.
12. (14) Scott McDaniel
13. (03) Scott Moore
14. (24) Mike Rowe
15. (36) Ryan Robbins
16. (5M) Dillon Moltz
17. (72) Scott Robbins
18. (10) Kate Re
19. (50) Jeff White
20. (7) Travis Benjamin
21. (71) Gary Drew
22. (94) Garrett Hall
23. (18) Justin Larsen
24. (4) Ben Rowe
25. (20) JR Robinson
26. (63) Kyle Salemi
27. (14ME) Anthony Constantino
28. (7T) Shane Tatro
29. (9T) Alan Tardiff
30. (88) Brandon Barker
31. (29T) Austin Teras
32. (7L) Glen Luce
33. (53) Alan Wilson
34. (84) Scott Mulkern
35. (60B) Tim Brackett

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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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