Dave Oliver Collects First Career PASS Victory At Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

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Dave Oliver celebrates his first career PASS win Saturday at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Even without winning at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway back in May, Dave Oliver was the feel-good story of the early PASS North Series season.

On Saturday night, that story got a Hollywood ending.

Dave Oliver dominated the Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep 150 on his home track, leading 117 laps from the pole for his first career PASS victory.

“This actually is a real win. This feels like a win,” said Oliver, who finished second here in the second race of the season. “It feels awesome. It’s my home race track, I grew up here. We’ve run well in a couple of PASS races here and won a couple of the longer weekly races. It feels so good to win, especially here.

“This is like the Daytona 500.”

Travis Benjamin of Morrill, Maine, finished second. Mike Rowe of Turner, Maine, finished third on a night that saw his closest competitors in the point standings — DJ Shaw and Joey Doiron — both encounter issues to finish 15th or worse.

Oliver won his heat race to earn the pole for the Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep 150, and he led the first eight laps before handing the top spot over to Kelly Moore. Moore led until lap 42, when Oliver pulled up alongside him on the outside to easily regain control of the event.

The race went green for the final 124 laps, with Oliver holding off the advances of both Benjamin and Bryan Kruczek. Kruczek was chasing Oliver down with five laps remaining, but a flat tire as his car rolled through turn four ended his night on lap 146.

Oliver, of Standish, Maine, simply didn’t want to see a late restart.

“I didn’t think I had enough car (to win) as soon as I took the green flag. We weren’t fast all day long, but the car was consistent,” Oliver said. “I was just trying to kill them with consistency. Smooth, smooth, smooth. ‘Don’t overdrive the car, don’t screw it up.’ It’s miserable when you have a really fast car behind you the whole time and you know that he’s probably a little bit quicker, and he’s probably just hanging in waiting for you to screw up.

“There’s a lot of pressure there.”

There was a great deal of ‘home track’ flavor to the race, even beyond Oliver’s victory.

The top four drivers on the starting grid have all raced weekly at Beech Ridge, and five of the top seven. Rowe himself has two track championships on the .333-mile oval, and Kruczek won the series’ first visit to the track this season.

Benjamin, despite his runner-up finish, said it’s not his favorite place to race — and believes that, more than any other track on the circuit, Beech Ridge favors those who have logged more laps around its asphalt.

“No question. I’m horrible here. It’s amazing we do as well as we do,” Benjamin said. “This place is so hard. If you go out there and drive it, you can’t. You have to go slow here. My crew chief really has a good handle on it, which is good, because I can’t figure out this place.”

Benjamin was also frustrated with Kruczek, who he felt leaned into him a little too much in the closing laps and took away any chance he had at taking a final crack at Oliver.

“(Kruczek) got to me and beat the hell out of me,” Benjamin said. “I’m glad he got a flat tire — I hate to say that, but if he would have stayed off me, he probably would have won the race. I think he was better than both of us, but you don’t drive like that.”

Still, Benjamin admitted, getting to Oliver and passing him were two different animals.

In the end, the night clearly belonged to Oliver, the racer who still doesn’t think of himself as a Super Late Model driver — despite winning the Beech Ridge track championship in 2002.

“I say it all the time, I’m a Limited Sportsman driver who happens to be racing a Super Late Model,” Oliver said. “It’s one of those things, I never even thought I’d get to race one of these cars. I thought I’d run a Limited Sportsman, and that was what I was going to do.

“My resume isn’t bad. A weekly racer who grew up here, I’ve got a lot of wins here — 33 or 34 wins — and a couple of championships in different divisions. But my resume pales in comparison to most of these other guys out here. Look — Mike Rowe. If you come out on top of Mike Rowe at any race track in New England, you’ve done something. Travis Benjamin is a two-time Oxford 250 winner and a PASS champion. I’m up against a lot of guys, and we don’t have a lot of help… So, yeah, I feel really good when I beat these guys.”
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  1. paul allard says

    yes Dave drove a real hard race. he won it clean and fair. Good job Dave

  2. Congrats to the winner. And condolences to Krusczek! He made it to 3rd… battled for 2nd… and then I watched water spraying as the motor overheated toward the end of the race. Did he have a flat tire at the end?? I thought maybe the motor just finally gave out.

    Interesting to see the ACT guys, Helliwell and Pole, have such poor outings.
    Big fan of Helliwell. He got dumped out of a qualifying position in his heat, then got beat up in the consi. Heard he was offered a provisional at half purse. Clearly, he decided it wasn’t worth it.
    As for, Pole — another talented driver — he just seemed off.

    Good race. Love Beech Ridge. Can’t wait to go back for the MRS in August,

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