When your last name is emblazoned across race cars throughout the region, even the off-weekends on the schedule represent an opportunity to get some work done.
For DJ Shaw, Saturday night’s itinerary was a combination of driving, research, and perhaps a little marketing.
Shaw dominated Saturday’s Granite State Pro Stock Series feature at Monadnock Speedway, becoming the first visiting driver to dethrone the GSPSS regulars in 2020.
But Shaw’s post-race chat with series announcer Andy Hall did not sound like the conversation of a driver who was the pre-race favorite.
“We needed that,” Shaw said. “The team’s been getting beat down, and I’ve been getting beat down.”
Indeed, a fifth-place run at Riverside Speedway in the last Pro All Stars Series North race had been the high point of a problem-plagued July for the reigning and four-time PASS North champion. And while Shaw sits third in points, merely sitting third in points was not the title defense he and his team had in mind.
So they loaded up for the Winchester, N.H. oval known to its faithful as “Mad Dog,” a track where Shaw dominated early in a GSPSS appearance last year, only to claw his way from the back of the field to second place in thirty laps after cutting a tire.
This time, there were no cut tires, no spins, and no roadblocks en route to Shaw’s first Super Late Model win of the season.
“Couldn’t have had a better day, really,” Shaw mused about the performance.
Angelo Belsito and Ray Christian III, who split the season’s first four races, started from the front row but quickly found themselves in a battle for second with 2018 GSPSS champion Devin O’Connell. Belsito prevailed over the long run, finishing second with Christian third and O’Connell fourth.
Rookie Casey Call, who missed time trials while making suspension repairs, rebounded to finish a career-best fifth in the 15-car field.
Shaw is no stranger to GSPSS competition, with a series-leading eight feature wins and a runner-up finish in the 2016 standings despite competing on a part-time basis. The Center Conway, N.H. veteran has kept active in a strange season, racing in three of the five GSPSS events so far and leading the American-Canadian Tour points three races in, in addition to his full-time PASS North campaign.
The hectic schedule is a necessity for research and development for the chassis shop owned by Shaw’s father, 1994 NASCAR Busch North Series champion Dale Shaw. In addition to Shaw and teammate Gabe Brown, Dale Shaw Race Cars prepares cars for drivers including reigning GSPSS champion Joey Doiron, ACT title hopefuls Jimmy Hebert and Bryan Kruczek, and regional standout Eddie MacDonald. A win for Shaw, then, pays dividends for all.
Looming conflicts later in the year will force Shaw to pick and choose his extracurricular schedule. In the short term, the Monadnock win will give Shaw’s team momentum headed into a busy doubleheader weekend of ACT Tour and PASS North SLM action.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series is idle this weekend, but will return to the Pine Tree State for the first time since 2017 on Saturday, August 15. The series will make its debut at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway for a 150-lap feature.
Official Results, GSPSS 100 at Monadnock Speedway:
1. (60) DJ Shaw
2. (8) Angelo Belsito
3. (93CT) Ray Christian III
4. (43) Devin O’Connell
5. (90NH) Casey Call
6. (52NH) Jake Matheson
7. (21) Josh King
8. (08) Mike O’Sullivan
9. (55) Cody Leblanc
10. (97) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
11. (40) Mike Mitchell
12. (77) Jeremy Sorel
13. (87) Alexander Pearl
14. (17) Kevin Folan
15. (29) Barry Gray