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New England Notebook: Shaw finds “Mad Dog” victory lane, new restrictions delay Seekonk opener

DJ Shaw gets strapped in for a Granite State Pro Stock Series event at Hudson (N.H.) Speedway in July. Shaw, a Pro All Stars Series regular, dominated last Saturday's GSPSS event at Monadnock Speedway, finding victory lane for the first time in 2020. (Jeff Brown photo)

Each week, Short Track Scene looks back at results and news from northern New England’s Late Model and Super Late Model competition, from the region’s premier tours — the American-Canadian Tour, the Granite State Pro Stock Series, and the Pro All Stars Series — to the tracks and drivers that support them. Thanks to the local journalists and fans who report in from the track each week to keep their fellow fans informed.


DJ Shaw has had a busy year in 2020. The reigning Pro All Stars Series North champion sits third in PASS points as he seeks a third-straight crown. He leads the American-Canadian Tour points after three races. And as his hauler pulled into the pits at Monadnock Speedway, he was on target for his most starts in Granite State Pro Stock Series competition since 2017.

But when Shaw climbed out of his car in victory circle after Saturday night’s feature event, he was relieved to have done something he had not managed yet in the strange, shortened season thus far.

RECAP: Shaw scores “needed” GSPSS win at Monadnock

Shaw dominated the race en route to his first career win at the Winchester, N.H. oval that fans lovingly call “Mad Dog.”

Ray Christian III and Angelo Belsito, winners of all the 2020 GSPSS features so far, started on the front row. But once Shaw got past them, it was a battle for second place as no one had anything for the Center Conway, N.H. veteran. Belsito, on a two-race win streak, settled for second place and his fourth podium finish in five races. “RC III” crossed the line third, with 2018 champion Devin O’Connell fourth.

Rookie Casey Call missed time trials making suspension repairs to the chassis he bought from New England graduate Austin Theriault. He made up for it in the feature, wheeling Theriault’s familiar “T-Rex” to a career-best fifth-place finish.

Jake Matheson was sixth, followed by Josh King, defending race winner Mike O’Sullivan, rookie Cody LeBlanc, and veteran Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., who dropped from the top-five battle with suspension issues but hung onto the lead lap.

The race started with a bang when 2016 champion Barry Gray hopped a wheel and sailed into the wall, destroying his brightly-wrapped #29 mount. Gray was uninjured but his car will need serious repairs before the next trip to the track. Only a couple other incidents slowed the pace.

The win was a bit of redemption for Shaw, who dominated last year’s only appearance at Monadnock only to finish second after a tire failure. Shaw, who has never competed full-time on the GSPSS circuit, is nonetheless the series’ all-time win leader with eight feature victories.

Fifteen cars made the trip to Monadnock, with Shaw the only outright “ringer” in the field. Reigning series champion Joey Doiron, who missed the previous race at Claremont, sat out the Monadnock show. Neither Ryan Lineham nor the Lindblad team with whom he started the year made the trip. Devin O’Connell made his third appearance this season as he has focused on a part-time Modified opportunity, and Josh King made his third straight race after getting a late start to the season. Stafford Speedway SK Light Modified racer Alexander Pearl made his second GSPSS start of the year, finishing 13th.

The GSPSS is off this weekend, with some of its teams making the trip west to Jennerstown Speedway Complex in Pennsylvania for the annual Motor Mountain Masters. The series will race next Saturday afternoon at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine.


Racing fans in Maine gained a slight reprieve this week, as the state’s tracks have been given a green light to open the grandstands to fans. The green light naturally comes with an asterisk: no more than 200 fans are permitted, separated into groups of fifty with separate entrances, concessions and restroom facilities for each fifty-person group. All the same, tracks were primed to take advantage of the opportunity.

With his title hopes shot in the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Joey Doiron’s attention was turned back to Oxford Plains Speedway, as the car counts began to climb in anticipation of late August’s Oxford 250. Doiron started out front in Saturday night’s weekly Super Late Model feature, but mechanical trouble forced him down pit road early. Scott Robbins was securely in the lead for most of the feature, but Dave Farrington, Jr. ran Robbins down in the final three laps, making a last-lap move to take his first feature win of the season. Robbins was second with Brandon Barker third. Former Oxford champion Gabe Brown was ninth in the 22-car field. Curtis Gerry finished fifth, holding onto the point lead over Farrington and Robbins.

Wiscasset Speedway opened its season as promised, with Andrew McLaughlin taking the first Late Model Sportsman feature win of 2020. Beech Ridge Motor Speedway had a scheduled off-week for its summer program and was closed for the evening.

Rookie Anthony Hill won his first Late Model feature Saturday at White Mountain Motorsports Park on an evening headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s second visit to the track. Feature winners Jeff Marshall and Joel Hodgdon joined Hill on the podium. Defending champion Quinny Welch finished fifth, and still leads the track points over fellow veterans Stacy Cahoon and Oren Remick. However, none of the three have won this year, with the new winners spending a lot of time at the front of the pack.

ACT-rules Late Models were also in competition at Star Speedway, with a visiting Ryan Kuhn beating father-and-son tandem Jay and Erick Sands for the feature win. Graphic designer and Eleveight Design proprietor Connor McDougal was fourth with Seekonk Speedway regular Mark Jenison fifth in the 14-car field. Son Erick Sands leads father Jay for the track points championship.

And further north at Riverside Speedway, Shawn Swallow finished ahead of Mike Kenison and Corey Mason for his third feature win of the year. Swallow leads Kenison for the track championship.

Tyler Cahoon led every lap Thursday en route to his first win of the year at Thunder Road International Speedbowl, with Kyle Pembroke and Bobby Therrien rounding out the top three. ACT Community Bank 150 winner Jason Corliss was fourth, inching him closer to Marcel J. Gravel for the track championship with Trampas Demers and Scott Dragon well back in third and fourth.

Seekonk Speedway was dealt another blow by local officials this week, with Massachusetts instituting a travel ban on inbound residents from the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island residents would be allowed at the track, provided they produced evidence of a negative COVID-19 screening, and the track would need to provide attendee lists to the state ahead of race day. The “Cement Palace,” which is within two miles from the state line, estimates that nearly two-fifths of its pit attendance comes from the neighboring state. With fans still not allowed at sporting events in Massachusetts, Seekonk cancelled this weekend’s planned return to action, feeling that that scale of testing was far too much to demand on a weekly basis from its Rhode Island supporters.


The American-Canadian Tour and Pro All Stars Series teams will convene upon White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H. this weekend for a two-day double feature. The ACT Late Models will headline Saturday with the annual $10,000-to-win Midsummer 250. The PASS Super Late Models will race Sunday in their own 150-lap feature, the fourth of the season at WMMP.

The Granite State Pro Stock Series is off this weekend, returning to action in next week’s first-ever 150-lap main event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. A number of drivers from New England’s top series, including 2019 PASS runner-up Derek Griffith, PASS racer Mike Hopkins and GSPSS regular Cory Casagrande, will be racing Saturday evening at Jennerstown Speedway in western Pennsylvania for the third annual Motor Mountain Masters.

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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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