NAPLES, ME (January 31) – There’s something about Florida in February that’s been attracting the best drivers in racing for the better part of a century. From the “North Turn” at Daytona’s world famous beach to short tracks stretching from the Panhandle to Miami, racers have flocked to the Sunshine State every winter. And 2013 will be no different. Florida’s “big race” season is set to begin in just over a week as some of the best of the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) make the trek down to Auburndale Speedway for the Winter Meltdown. The first PASS National Series race of the year is attracting Super Late Model drivers from all over North America in the hopes of wrestling the checkered flag away from the top short track hot shoes in Florida.
PASS North will be represented well by a trio of young drivers joining two-time PASS National Series Champion Ben Rowe in making the long trip down South. D.J. Shaw, Kyle Desousza, and Joey Doiron have all found success racing in New England’s top short track series. Shaw is coming off a successful return to the PASS North Series in 2012 that saw him score two wins and finish third in points. Evidence that the Precision JLM/Mulkern Excavating team could be poised for a PASS National Championship this year.
“We’re really looking forward to getting the season started in Florida,” said Shaw. “Auburndale looks like a driver’s track and I’m really anxious to see if we can continue the momentum we ended with last year.”
Having a successful racing father like Dale Shaw to help guide him through his career has its advantages and D.J. has learned well, winning five times on the tough PASS North circuit. But, D.J. is also well aware of what it takes to go racing, now that his father has turned from a champion racer to a skilled car builder. Making the tough New Hampshire winter even tougher as they prepare for this year’s Meltdown.
“It’s been hectic getting the cars ready so early in the year because we’ve been busy at the chassis shop, but it’s going to be nice to get away for the first couple of National races,” said Shaw.
Rhode Island native Kyle DeSousza enters his third full season racing with PASS in 2013. Consistency has been the key for DeSousza, finishing in the top ten in PASS North points each of the last two years. And, although it will be his first trip to Florida racing a PASS Super Late Model, DeSousza believes Auburndale Speedway’s quarter-mile layout could play perfectly for him and his Northern counterparts.
“Kicking off the season in Florida is a great way to start what looks to be an awesome PASS National schedule,” said DeSousza, driver of the Maverick Investment Technologies Chevrolet. “And the fact that it’s on a tight bullring, I think will give us Northerners a comfort zone we’re not used to at most Southern tracks.”
Starting the year off against top-notch competition might be enough for most drivers, but a win at the Winter Meltdown could lead to even bigger things DeSousza thinks.
“It would mean everything for me to win the PASS National Championship,” DeSousza continued. “It says that you are the best short tracker in North America and it speaks volumes for your team on the fact that you can travel up to 18 hours and get it done just as well as you can racing at a place 30 minutes away.”
Joey Doiron is also looking to build on the momentum of 2012. Doiron drove the JBJ Machine #73 to victory lane in the PASS North season opener at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway for his first career PASS win. That win was key, he feels, in finishing seventh in the final standings. Doiron hopes a similar result at the Winter Meltdown could propel him to a National Championship.
“Winning on opening day last year was definitely huge for us,” said Doiron. “As long as you don’t have a bad race in the second or third event, you can carry the momentum through the rest of the year and hopefully be in contention for the championship throughout.”
New England’s top stars will have to battle a stout group of competitors including PASS National Champions Jay Fogleman and Ben Rowe. They’ll be joined by PASS regulars from all over North America including Tate Fogleman, Bill Catania, Quebec’s Alexandre Gingas, Jean Francois Dery, and Martin Latulippe, plus many, many more.
Action gets under way on Friday, February 8 with practice for PASS Super Late Models ONLY from 3-7 PM. On Saturday, February 9 gates open at 10 AM with rotating practice for the PASS Super Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Legends, Bandoleros, and Figure 8’s from 12-3:45 PM. The PASS Super Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds and Legends will qualify at 4:30 and racing will begin at 6 PM promptly. PASS Super Late Model entry forms for the Florida Winter Meltdown, the complete weekend schedule, and 2013 PASS license forms for all divisions can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models and boasts such marquee events as the PASS Northwest Triple Crown at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, PASS South’s Easter Bunny 150 at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway, the Autobus La Qubecoise Triple Crown, and the legendary TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. For technical information concerning the PASS National Championship Series please contact Scott Reed at 207-625-3230 or email@example.com. For media or marketing questions, please contact Alan Dietz at 704-231-2039 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit ProAllStarsSeries.com for more information and don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook to keep up with breaking news as it happens.