Trevor Sanborn’s offseason reunion with Richard Moody Racing tied both new and old elements together in search of Pro All Stars Series success.
It only took three races for the partnership to pay off.
Sanborn turned in a dominant performance to earn his third career PASS North win in Saturday’s Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, the 49th running of the Connecticut oval’s signature opening weekend.
“I was concerned for a second,” Sanborn said of his early performance in the 75-lap feature. “I thought Derek [Griffith] was a little better than us. The car…the longer that it went, the better the car was.”
The Parsonsfield, Me. veteran led all but eight laps to deliver car owner Richard Moody his first Super Late Model touring win since 2018, breaking a long dry spell for the formidable Maine team.
Eddie MacDonald and Gabe Brown brought the 22-car field to the green flag, with Sanborn charging from fourth to second in the opening laps. Andy Shaw’s crash slowed the field after only three laps, giving Sanborn a clear view of the green flag. On the ensuing restart, Sanborn bested Brown for the top spot, with Derek Griffith following through for second.
Griffith pressured Sanborn for the lead, but Sanborn kept the two-time Icebreaker winner at bay until a turn-one crash for JR Robinson brought out another caution at lap 14. Sanborn was not so lucky on the restart, as Griffith powered past to take control.
Another yellow flag on lap 20 bunched up the field. This time, Sanborn prevailed on the restart, taking the point and setting sail.
The final 55 laps ran caution-free, with Sanborn building a comfortable advantage over a three-way battle for second. Brown settled into the runner-up spot with Griffith and polesitter MacDonald close behind, but neither could unseat the young New Hampshire native in the closing laps.
Brown closed the gap to Sanborn with the help of slower traffic, but he was unable to catch Sanborn, who cruised to his third career PASS North win and his fifth win under the PASS banner.
Brown held on for second, his best career PASS finish at Thompson. The 2021 Granite State Pro Stock Series champion returned to his family team in the offseason with plans to contest the full PASS and American-Canadian Tour schedules.
Griffith, making his first PASS start since last August’s Oxford 250, settled for third, his first PASS top-ten since a win in Thompson’s 2021 World Series. After a challenging season, the New Hampshire phenom was content to bring a competitive car home in one piece.
Big-track ace and 2022 PASS North runner-up MacDonald finished fourth, with seven-time PASS North champion Johnny Clark rounding out the top five.
Garrett Hall, the 2022 Thompson World Series winner, clawed through the field after an early pit stop to finish sixth. Rookie Max Cookson was seventh in his first race at Thompson. Brandon Barker finished eighth, with defending Icebreaker winner DJ Shaw and Connecticut racer Cory Casagrande rounding out the top ten.
Fury cars took three of the top four positions at Thompson, a year after cars from the Dale Shaw Race Cars stable swept both Thompson races.
But while Griffith and MacDonald have won multiple times with Fury-built cars, Richard Moody Racing had not won since making the switch to Fury chassis in 2021.
Indeed, Saturday’s win was as big a win for RMR as it was for Sanborn. The multi-time championship team had been shut out of the PASS winner’s circle since 2018, when longtime driver Ben Rowe wheeled the team’s familiar #4 to victory at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Rowe won two races and a title for the team in a brief ACT Tour campaign in 2020 and 2021. But despite chassis and crew chief changes, and the addition of Joey Polewarczyk as a teammate for 2022, Super Late Model success eluded the veteran team.
Rowe parted ways with RMR in July, ending a 17-year relationship. Polewarczyk fared no better as a single-car operation, fielding his own car in the PASS season finale. Despite the struggles, RMR’s seemingly-open seat represented a tremendous opportunity for the right driver in a region where few funded rides exist.
In December, RMR announced they would reunite with Sanborn, who raced full seasons for the team in 2008 and 2010 with three PASS-sanctioned wins. Sanborn, who also ran three races for the team in 2017, had found consistency over the last three years with his own Trevor Sanborn Motorsports team, winning the 2020 Boss Hogg 150 at Wiscasset Speedway and conquering Thunder Road International Speedbowl for his second career PASS North victory in 2021.
Sanborn’s fourth stint with RMR started off with a bang in March. At PASS’ season-opening Hickory Motor Speedway doubleheader, Sanborn was eliminated from the day’s first race in an early crash, then drove a backup car to a ninth-place finish in the second.
At Thompson, Sanborn was fast all weekend, reassuring for a team that has struggled at times to make speed on PASS’ larger tracks. A bigger test awaits next week as PASS returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the third Northeast Classic.
Sanborn heads to the “Magic Mile” with the unofficial points lead after only one race. But with reigning PASS North champ Ryan Kuhn absent at Thompson and some of the bigger title threats finishing midpack, Sanborn’s advantage could be significant down the stretch.
The season is just getting started, but Sanborn and Richard Moody Racing are starting out on the right foot.
PASS North Icebreaker 75
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
April 9 2023
1. (44) Trevor Sanborn
2. (47) Gabe Brown
3. (12G) Derek Griffith
4. (17MA) Eddie MacDonald
5. (54) Johnny Clark
6. (94) Garrett Hall
7. (39) Max Cookson
8. (88) Brandon Barker
9. (60) DJ Shaw
10. (7CT) Cory Casagrande
11. (12) Dennis Spencer, Jr.
12. (7D) Joey Doiron
13. (21) Josh King
14. (20) Joe Pastore
15. (27NH) Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
16. (40RI) Mike Mitchell
17. (18) Michael Scorzelli
18. (17) Kevin Folan
19. (24J) JP Josiasse
20. (29) Austin Teras
21. (28) JR Robinson
22. (50) Andy Shaw