Curtis Gerry may have come up just shy of his second straight Oxford Plains Speedway track championship in 2020. But on Sunday afternoon, he took a step toward ending the season on a high note.
The Waterboro, Me. veteran put a beating on a strong field of Pro All Stars Series visitors, holding off home-track rival Dave Farrington, Jr. to take his second PASS North win of the year in the Lee’s Family Trailer Sales & Service 150.
Gerry, who won July’s PASS home game at Oxford, passed Ryan Robbins for the lead with 38 laps in the books, then never looked back en route to his ninth career PASS North victory.
Sunday’s program, a doubleheader with the American-Canadian Tour Late Models, was to be the opening day of a two-day championship-closing weekend at the historic flat oval in western Maine. Saturday’s doubleheader would crown the ACT Late Model Tour champion, with back-to-back Saturday and Sunday 150-lappers wrapping up the PASS season as well.
But heavy rain expected for Saturday morning, plus cool temperatures that would impact track-drying efforts, prompted officials to make an early call, pushing Saturday’s racing card to Sunday and moving the PASS championship finale to next Saturday.
Even with the delay and the split program, 44 Super Late Models packed the pits, with four heats and two action-packed consis culling the field to 35 starters for the penultimate race of the PASS North season.
Robbins, who held off Gerry in the second heat, started alongside John Peters and took off with the early race lead, while former Oxford track champion Alan Tardiff and veteran Alan Wilson battled for second.
Gerry, who started 13th, had worked his way up to sixth when an off-track excursion for rookie Logan Melcher brought out the first caution of the afternoon on lap 27. Gerry carved through the top five after the restart, effortlessly wresting the lead from Robbins only eleven laps later. Joey Doiron slipped past Robbins for second some laps later, with veteran Scott Robbins joining the battle up front.
The elder Robbins spun out of second place just past halfway, though, drawing another caution flag and giving Dave Farrington a shot at Gerry. The recently-crowned 2020 Oxford Super Late Model champion began chipping away at Gerry’s advantage. But as the laps ticked down, Farrington suddenly found himself defending second place from Oxford 250 winner Johnny Clark and early-season title threat Nick Sweet, allowing Gerry to pull away.
With only two laps remaining, Doiron and Peters made contact, sending Peters spinning out of turn four and bringing out a final caution flag. A cushion of lapped cars separated Gerry and Farrington on the restart, leaving Farrington with few hopes of unseating Gerry atop the leaderboard.
On the final restart, Gerry was on cruise control, leaving Farrington in the dust as he coasted to victory. Farrington crossed the line second, with five-time feature winner Sweet third, Clark fourth, and Oxford weekly regular Josh Childs fifth.
Alan Wilson got sideways in the final turn, stacking up the field and ending a career afternoon for Rusty Poland, who drove over Wilson’s nose in the melee. Ben Ashline slipped through the fracas to finish sixth, with Ben Rowe seventh and Joey Doiron eighth. Championship points leader DJ Shaw picked up some damage in the last-lap incident but finished ninth, with Garrett Hall rounding out the top ten.
Of Gerry’s nine PASS North wins, eight have come at Oxford Plains Speedway. Gerry also has a win in the 2019 Oxford Open, a non-points event sanctioned by PASS.
That Gerry and Farrington finished first and second is notable, considering the similar career trajectories the two racers share. Gerry’s journeyman career caught fire in 2017 when he scored an underdog win in the Oxford 250. The 2016 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Pro Series track champion quickly added another five wins to his PASS record and earned a second Beech Ridge title in 2018 before shifting his focus to Oxford Plains Speedway, where he won the 2019 Super Late Model track championship.
Farrington, also a Beech Ridge regular, earned a Pro Series championship in 2014 before testing the touring waters of PASS. After a breakneck 2017 campaign running the full PASS North and South schedules, Farrington focused on local competition, picking up a second Pro Series title in 2019. With Beech Ridge opting not to award points in a shortened 2020 campaign, the Sabattus, Me. racer opted to run at Oxford instead.
Gerry was the first of the two to earn a feature win in weekly competition, but Farrington came on strong in August, winning three straight weekly features and picking up his first career PASS win at Oxford two weeks before the Oxford 250. Suddenly a local favorite for the big race, Farrington earned a career-best fourth in the 250. A month later, he locked up Oxford’s Super Late Model track championship by seven points over Gerry.
While the Oxford track championship has long been decided, one race remains in the PASS North points battle, with DJ Shaw atop the standings looking for his fifth overall and third straight PASS North championship. Shaw lost ground to Johnny Clark Sunday, but struggles for Travis Benjamin dropped the two-time champion out of the hunt and into a tie for third place with Ben Rowe. Benjamin and Rowe, who won the evening’s ACT Tour feature, are still looking for their first PASS wins of 2020.
Shaw and Clark will return to Oxford next Saturday to settle the championship battle.
But if Sunday’s race is any indication, the touring contenders might be racing for second place.
Unofficial Results, PASS Lee’s Family Trailer Sales & Service 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway:
1. (7G) Curtis Gerry
2. (23) Dave Farrington, Jr.
3. (40) Nick Sweet
4. (54) Johnny Clark
5. (3C) Josh Childs
6. (99) Ben Ashline
7. (4) Ben Rowe
8. (21) Joey Doiron
9. (60) DJ Shaw
10. (94) Garrett Hall
11. (36) Ryan Robbins
12. (24) Mike Rowe
13. (85) Travis Stearns
14. (53) Alan Wilson
15. (93CT) Ray Christian III
16. (44) Rusty Poland
17. (14) Scott McDaniel
18. (1) Kyle DeSouza
19. (8) Calvin Rose, Jr.
20. (02) Brian Whalley
21. (20) JR Robinson
22. (1VT) Evan Hallstrom
23. (10) Kate Re
24. (72) Scott Robbins
25. (60B) Tim Brackett
26. (51) John Peters
27. (81) Dan Winter
28. (47) Gabe Brown
29. (41X) Logan Melcher
30. (03) Scott Moore
31. (90) Craig Weinstein
32. (14C) Anthony Constantino
33. (7) Travis Benjamin
34. (9T) Alan Tardiff
35. (M3) Brandon Barker