Most in the New England racing circles did not have Ryan Kuhn is a title favorite for the Pro All Stars Series North title when 2022 began, including Kuhn himself. The big goal for the year was to finally score those first Super Late Model wins and continue adding to their notebook.
But, after a consistent spring and early summer Kuhn found himself in a points battle with Eddie MacDonald and Gabe Brown. Deciding to continue title hunting, Kuhn then scored his first PASS Super Late Model win at his home track of Seekonk Speedway. Notching an Oxford Plains Speedway Saturday night win in Maine and a second PASS win at Thunder Road in Vermont; Kuhn holds the point lead with one race to go.
It will not be a long trip for the Massachusetts driver as he makes the trip south on Saturday with the Pro All Stars Series makes their debut at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on the Connecticut Shoreline.
“I’m excited, it’s a big deal for sure. We didn’t come into the season planning on going for points, but all the pieces fit in the right spots, and we’re here at the end of the season with the point lead and a real good shot at the championship,” Kuhn told Racing America.
While this race weekend was added as a makeup event for both PASS and the ACT Late Models after a May rainout at Monadnock Speedway; it has pushed the end of the PASS season back by two full weeks. While Brown and MacDonald had trimmed Kuhn’s gap to 26 and 27 points respectively, Kuhn is still excited for the opportunity to race a track in his end of New England.
“I was actually happy when this race was announced. Waterford has been a good track for us when we’ve run there. As long as the car stays together, we stay together, and we can get a good handle on it in practice. I’ve run at Waterford in a couple of different cars and we’ve always had good speed there in almost everything we’ve run. I think we can have speed off the trailer and we’ll be able to get not just the championship but another win too.”
Despite having more Speedbowl experience compared to most PASS regulars, Kuhn is not sure how much of an advantage it will have.
“Most of the field has run there in the past at some time or another whether its been in Granite State, ACT or whatever. But I feel good about it because I think Waterford is similar to Seekonk setup wise, and with this package we got on the car it suits these types of racetracks, momentum racetracks. Hopefully this weekend is more of the same.”
Come what may, Kuhn is determined to end strong and come back in 2023 even stronger. While 2021 was significant in Kuhn’s career, being chosen to be among the seven finalists of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program for the season, bad luck seemed to not be far behind. Finishing with the PASS title may be just what he and the No. 72 team need to get that bad mojo far behind in the mirror.
“Being a part of the program really helped my confidence last year. Unfortunately we didn’t get the results we felt we deserved last year; we started the year off with a blown motor and it was hard to catch break after that. Now this year finally getting some results and ending up in victory lane three times. We’ve learned so much and gained a lot of speed. Hopefully we can end strong this year and get even better next year.”
Above all, Kuhn wants the title for all the people who have supported him along the way.
“It’s been a very good season for sure, my guys have done an unbelievable job. Everett’s Auto Parts, Bernier’s Liquors, Modern Auto Body, so many people have that have supported us throughout this season. I’ve been saying from day one I would not be here without Everett’s Auto Part on the quarter-panel of the car. My old man who wrenches on the car every week, Tim, Bob, Peter Bernier, Danny Moore, everyone that chimes in to help out every single week. Hopefully we can close it out and celebrate on Sunday.”