It can be easy to forget that, not so many years ago, Joey Doiron was a threat to win on the Pro All Stars Series, week in, week out.
On Saturday night at White Mountain Motorsports Park, Doiron delivered a reminder.
The Berwick, Me. veteran took a late lead from DJ Shaw to earn his first PASS North win of 2020, his ninth career PASS North trophy and his third at the North Woodstock, N.H. quarter-mile.
More interestingly, it was Doiron’s first touring Super Late Model victory not earned behind the wheel of his own familiar #73.
After driving his own car to a seventh-place finish in Friday night’s Granite State Pro Stock Series Vynorius Companies 100 at Star Speedway, Doiron headed north to team up with veteran car owner Wright Pearson for Saturday’s PASS feature. Pearson had fielded the black #16 for Doiron in the last PASS race at WMMP, where Doiron dominated the first half of the race before fading to a finish just outside the top ten.
This time, Doiron was a threat from start to finish.
Gabe Brown, who crewed for Doiron’s family team Friday night, defeated Doiron in their heat race, then went on to lead the early laps of the feature. Doiron and DJ Shaw joined the battle up front, with Shaw taking a turn out front.
Where his car faded last time, though, Doiron made strides, taking the race lead and leaving Shaw to battle the eighteen-year-old Brown and four-time PASS North champion Ben Rowe. Rowe eventually slipped by Brown for third, but was unable to get around Shaw for the runner-up spot.
The Pearson-prepared #16 is a new chassis out of the Dale Shaw Race Cars shop, with the veteran car builder responsible for three of the top four finishers. Jeremy Davis, in his own Davis Chassis Works house car, finished fifth.
Mike Hopkins, who switched his car over to PASS rules before leaving Star Speedway Friday night, finished sixth, with Oxford 250 winner Johnny Clark seventh, Boss Hogg 150 winner Trevor Sanborn eighth, Corey Bubar ninth, and Craig Weinstein tenth.
Rookie Logan Melcher, a regular at Maine’s Wiscasset Speedway, finished twelfth on the lead lap in his PASS debut.
Doiron joined the PASS North ranks full-time in 2010 after a single season on the American-Canadian Tour. After breaking into victory lane in 2012, the Mainer became a steady factor at the front of the field, winning twice each of the next three seasons and placing second, fourth and second again in the season-ending standings. Doiron also claimed the PASS National Championship honors in 2015, clinching the title in a grinding wreck to the checkered flag with current NASCAR Truck Series racer Zane Smith.
But a tough start to 2016 left Doiron with more wrecked cars, forcing him to borrow from DJ Shaw’s fleet to start races at Thompson Speedway and Star Speedway. Doiron cut his schedule back, intending to run full-time at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with teammate Brandon Barker.
After another part-time schedule in 2017 and a win at Oxford Plains Speedway, Doiron joined the GSPSS in 2018. The shorter races and reduced costs were ideal for Doiron, who found victory lane in his second start. But a wreck while leading at Lee USA Speedway and an early exit at Thompson Speedway cost Doiron the championship. Doiron came back with consistency in 2019, winning twice, missing the top ten only once, and winning the series title over Ray Christian III.
Doiron entered 2020 with two rides for the season. With his family team, he would take the GSPSS schedule one race at a time. Meanwhile, a new deal with GT Motorsports provided Doiron with a fully-prepared car to tackle Oxford Plains Speedway, including the Oxford 250. For the fourth GSPSS race of the year, to keep his own equipment fresh, he worked out an arrangement with Wright Pearson to run Pearson’s car at Claremont Motorsports Park.
Instead, a hauler mishap leaving for Claremont left Doiron on the sidelines, prematurely ending his title defense.
In his starts since then, Doiron has been in the mix in his own car in his GSPSS starts, all while winning a weekly feature at Oxford and finishing third in the Oxford 250 in the GT Motorsports ride. Doiron also drove the Pearson car to a fourth-place finish in the Freedom 300 Pro Stock open at Lee USA Speedway, a finish that would have likely been better were the race run to completion. Saturday’s PASS win, therefore, is a welcome bonus.
Like Doiron, DJ Shaw has an extracurricular win but not a win in defense of his series championship. Shaw’s runner-up finish, though, paired with an early end to Travis Benjamin’s evening, should aid him in his quest for a third straight and fifth overall PASS North crown.
Also aiding Shaw’s quest is continued hard luck for Nick Sweet, his chief competitor this year. Sweet, who won the last PASS feature at WMMP and had four PASS wins this year, finished last in the Oxford 250 but was still well in contention for the championship. However, an engine failure in the opening laps of practice forced the title hopeful to withdraw, likely ending his title run a few weeks early. Sweet will look to bounce back at his home track, Thunder Road International Speedbowl.
The PASS teams have a weekend off before racing on Friday, October 2nd in support of the Vermont Milk Bowl at Thunder Road. This will be the only visit for the Super Late Models to the tricky high-banked oval in the Green Mountains.
(Editor’s note: This article originally stated that Nick Sweet was not at WMMP for the event. Sweet lost an engine early in practice, forcing the team to withdraw; this was not immediately clear from the race and practice results.)
Unofficial Results, PASS 150 at White Mountain Motorsports Park:
1. (16) Joey Doiron
2. (60) DJ Shaw
3. (4) Ben Rowe
4. (47) Gabe Brown
5. (09) Jeremy Davis
6. (15) Mike Hopkins
7. (54) Johnny Clark
8. (29S) Trevor Sanborn
9. (12) Corey Bubar
10. (90) Craig Weinstein
11. (53W) Alan Wilson
12. (41) Logan Melcher
13. (75) Gary Smith
14. (14C) Anthony Constantino
15. (80) Sammy Sessions
16. (10) Kate Re
17. (14) Scott McDaniel
18. (81) Dan Winter
19. (36) Ryan Robbins
20. (32) Nick Jenkins
21. (7) Travis Benjamin
22. (35) Derek Ramstrom
23. (1VT) Evan Hallstrom
24. (53) Billy Rodgers
25. (07) Mark Patten
26. (99) Ben Ashline