One of New England’s top Super Late Model racers has a new opportunity in hand. And after years of resources being Joey Doiron’s only limitation, those limits may be a thing of the past.
The Berwick, Me. veteran and reigning Granite State Pro Stock Series champion confirmed that he will join Petit Motorsports for a full-time Pro All Stars Series effort in 2023.
“For 2023 Joey will team up with Peter Petit to run the full PASS schedule in the Petit Motorsports #7,” stated the brief announcement on Doiron’s Facebook page. “Can’t thank Peter enough for the opportunity to run for a PASS championship for the first time since 2015.”
In a part of the country where Super Late Model racing is built from family teams, with independently-owned operations the exception to the rule, Doiron is the second driver to find such a ride for 2023.
Ironically, Petit and Doiron found themselves positioned as title rivals in the 2015 PASS North championship battle. Maine hall-of-famer Mike Rowe replaced Curtis Gerry in Petit’s cars that year, winning three of the season’s first six races. Doiron, fresh off a fourth-place points finish in 2014 and second in 2013, won two of his own. But experience triumphed over the stretch run, with the 65-year-old Rowe capturing the PASS North title and Petit’s first championship as a car owner.
Doiron edged out Rowe’s son Ben for the 2015 PASS National Championship, a suitable consolation prize. But with early-season crashes dulling his chances for another title run in 2016, the fresh-faced driver stepped back to a part-time program. The added demands of the family’s machine shop and a growing family of his own made part-time competition a better option for Doiron, who managed a single win at Oxford in 2017.
For 2018, Doiron’s focus shifted to the Granite State Pro Stock Series, whose shorter schedule and shorter features were a better fit for the humble team. Doiron won his second GSPSS start, but came up six points short of the championship. The following year was more up to expectations: Doiron won twice, finished in the top five in all but three races, and won the series crown.
New opportunities in 2020 allowed Doiron to diversify his racing. Car owner Greg Curtis picked Doiron to wheel a Distance Racing Products chassis for PASS races at Oxford Plains Speedway. Doiron’s long-tenured relationship with Dale Shaw Race Cars, meanwhile, connected him with car owner Wright Pearson. Doiron ran a part-time GSPSS schedule with his own team, took five top-tens in six PASS starts for Curtis, including a third-place finish in the Oxford 250, and wheeled Pearson’s mount to a PASS victory at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
Doiron followed a similar “outlaw” schedule in 2021, winning once each for Curtis and Pearson in PASS and tacking on a late-season GSPSS win in his own car. But after his most expansive PASS schedule since 2017, Doiron and Curtis only made four starts in the series in 2022, winning one and nearly winning a second before Doiron was spun late in the running. Doiron was in contention for an Oxford 250 win in August, but slipped to sixth at the checkered flag.
The GSPSS was again Doiron’s on-track focus for 2022. Driving his own car in all but one event, Doiron won twice and finished no worse than fourth en route to his second GSPSS championship. Doiron joined Mike O’Sullivan as the series’ only multi-time champions in its twelve-year history.
An open-competition Pro Stock win at Lee USA Speedway in September, a PASS win at Thompson Speedway as crew chief for Garrett Hall, and a top-ten finish in his first American-Canadian Tour Late Model start in over a decade were additional accolades for Doiron at the season’s end.
Doiron has proven himself as one of New England’s top Super Late Model talents. Composed and calculating behind the wheel, he excels in the long game, favoring strategy and tenacity over force. He has a keen understanding of setup and handling, schooled by years of preparing his own cars. The only thing Doiron has lacked is a consistent opportunity transcending the budget of his family team.
That opportunity may come at the hands of Peter Petit.
Petit was in a similar position in 2016. After parting with Mike Rowe following their championship season, Petit reached out to Travis Benjamin, the 2012 PASS North champ and a two-time Oxford 250 winner in 2013 and 2014. While the duo missed the season opener due to a heat-race crash, they ended the year fifth in points with two wins.
An early exit from the season opener in 2017 recalled memories of a year before, but Benjamin went on to win two races and place in the top five another eight times, propelling the tandem to Benjamin’s second PASS North title and Petit’s second owner’s championship in three years. Another two-win season came in 2018, but despite winning the season finale, Benjamin came up just short of another championship.
A championship was not meant to be in 2019, with mid-season struggles prompting the team to regroup for an Oxford 250 run. With 41 laps to go, Benjamin passed Cassius Clark and held off Derek Griffith at the finish for an emotional third victory in New England’s biggest Super Late Model race.
Following a quiet 2020 season in which Benjamin ended the year third in points, the veteran racer reduced his schedule while the team explored options as a driver development operation. Kentucky rookie Isaac Bevin brought backing to Petit Motorsports for a partial schedule in 2022, running several PASS and GSPSS races. Benjamin phased into a new role as driver coach for the Legends graduate while making a couple starts of his own. Derek Ramstrom drove for Petit in the PASS season finale, racing to a season-best 12th-place finish.
With Bevin moving on, Petit needed a driver.
Doiron’s situation was in flux as well, with PASS car owner Curtis selling his equipment to Benjamin’s cousin Colby, a Super Late Model rookie. And while GSPSS had yet to announce a schedule for 2023, early track schedules hinted that the series would not be at many of the tracks that, for Doiron, were closer to home.
In Doiron, Petit finds a hands-on driver committed not only to winning, but to bringing home a clean race car for next week. In Petit, Doiron finds a motivated car owner with the resources to win races and championships anywhere they go. And with Benjamin already entered in a second Petit car for the Oxford 250 in August, Doiron should have another veteran to lean on as he gets used to his new team.
Doiron and Petit have done the winning part separately.
In 2023, they will try to do it together.