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Sweet savors fourth PASS win of 2020 in Midsummer Classic

Nick Sweet (#40) took advantage of a late restart to drive off with his series-best fourth win of 2020 in Sunday's PASS Midsummer Classic 150 at White Mountain Motorsports Park. (Jeff Brown photo)

Apparently, a two-race winless streak is all that Nick Sweet can bear.

The Barre, Vt. Super Late Model ace powered past DJ Shaw on a lap-139 restart to cruise to victory in Sunday afternoon’s Pro All Stars Series Midsummer Classic 150 at White Mountain Motorsports Park.

It was a restart Shaw did not want to face.

Sweet holds off a determined DJ Shaw midway through the race. (Jeff Brown photo)

Shaw had dominated the second half of the race, battling door-to-door with Sweet on the high banks of the North Woodstock, N.H. quarter-mile, but pulling clear of Sweet in traffic. A debris caution on lap 131 had slowed the field with nineteen laps remaining, but Shaw was able to maintain the advantage as he searched for his first PASS victory in just over a year.

But with eleven laps remaining on the scoreboard, Ben Rowe pulled high out of the pack and slowed to a crawl with a flat tire, drawing the caution and drawing Sweet alongside Shaw one more time.

Sweet fired off just right on the restart, taking the lead off turn two and never looking back en route to his fourth PASS win of 2020 and the seventh of his Super Late Model career.

Shaw held on for his third runner-up effort of the season, all coming in races won by Sweet.

Jeremy Davis took advantage of Rowe’s late-race troubles to steal third place on the final sprint, his second podium finish in four starts. Ben Ashline was a season-best fourth after starting from the pole. Derek Ramstrom rounded out the top five.

Sweet’s victory was far from assured, with DJ Shaw (60), Ben Rowe (4) and Ben Ashline pressuring the Vermonter throughout the race. (Jeff Brown photo)

Rowe, who was running third when his tire gave out, clawed his way back to sixth at the checkers, with Travis Benjamin finishing seventh. Gabe Brown, Austin Teras and Riverside Speedway feature winner Johnny Clark rounded out the top ten.

Ashline led the opening laps before Joey Doiron, making a rare PASS start for car owner Wright Pearson, took the lead. Doiron, a multi-time PASS feature winner with two WMMP wins in 2013, battled Shaw for the top spot before settling into a rhythm at the head of the field.

A caution for Scott McDaniel’s flat tire on lap 71 brought Shaw and Sweet to Doiron’s door and rear bumper, though, and once Shaw and Sweet got around the black #16, Doiron’s handling faded quickly. Doiron finished a lap back in eleventh.

Sunday’s race was the second half of a two-day double-feature, with the American-Canadian Tour competing in Saturday’s Midsummer Classic 250, the longest and richest event on the ACT Tour schedule. Shaw, Sweet and Rowe competed in the ACT event as well, with Shaw’s tenth-place result best among the three.

Unofficially, Sweet retains the points lead heading into the next race, while third-place DJ Shaw will trim a bit of the margin between he and Travis Benjamin. Nine drivers have started all seven races thus far, while two more have taken the green in all but one.

Sweet’s fourth win of the year marks an intriguing milestone. Since his second career win last August, the fourth-year PASS regular has not gone more than two starts without a victory. Sweet did skip one event in that span, missing last fall’s visit to White Mountain Motorsports Park for a family wedding, but given his track record at the close-to-home bullring this year, that may have reinforced this phenomenon.

The PASS schedule continues next weekend with a Sunday tilt at Oxford Plains Speedway, the final tune-up before late August’s Oxford 250. Nick Sweet is the defending winner of the pre-250 warmup.

Official Results, Midsummer Classic 150 at White Mountain Motorsports Park:
1. (40) Nick Sweet
2. (60) DJ Shaw
3. (09) Jeremy Davis
4. (99) Ben Ashline
5. (35) Derek Ramstrom
6. (4) Ben Rowe
7. (7) Travis Benjamin
8. (47) Gabe Brown
9. (29) Austin Teras
10. (54) Johnny Clark
11. (16) Joey Doiron
12. (81) Dan Winter
13. (46) Dylan Estrella
14. (10) Kate Re
15. (55) Cody LeBlanc
16. (14) Scott McDaniel
17. (39) Cassius Clark
18. (14C) Anthony Constantino
19. (1VT) Evan Hallstrom
20. (90) Craig Weinstein
21. (2) Tom Scully, Jr.

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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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