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Northeast Classic Worth the Wait for Austin MacDonald

MacDonald put in a dominating performance at the Magic Mile.


hero image for Northeast Classic Worth the Wait for Austin MacDonald

Loudon, NH -- The second annual Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was pushed back 24 hours but the show was well worth the wait. Going into the Pro All Stars Series event, a MacDonald was most certainly the favorite. Eddie MacDonald #17MA is just one win behind Cup Series star Kyle Busch for the most wins at NHMS all time. In the end a different MacDonald would be the one to claim the checkers after the end of the 50-lap main event. Austin MacDonald #13 put on a dominating performance leading the vast majority of the event but it was not without a challenge.

Making it to the big show itself was a trying feat in fact. With 36 cars entered for only 32 spots it was going to be a race just to get into the big dance. Unfortunately, multiple cars were unable to start the main event due to on-track accidents. It all started with former Oxford 250 Champion Jeremie Whorff #00 whose weekend ended early in a practice crash with his brand-new Fury racecar due to a reported radiator hose failure. The failure sent his Plants Seafood #00 in to the safer barriers on a not so good Friday.

On Sunday, when the heat races started a few more teams would have an early start home to Easter dinner. Gabe Brown #50, who has had a stellar start to the season and was tied for the lead in PASS National points, had a rough day after contact with eventual heat winner Joe Pastore #20P on the opening lap of his heat race collecting numerous other cars.

That would not be the only carnage of that heat however, as an already damaged Derek Griffith #12G took a huge impact into the turn 1 retaining wall coupled with a rollover. Griffith was an innocent bystander after Isaac Bevin #7 and Tyler Tomassi #76RI made contact in corner entry. From a Facebook post from Tomassi it is reported that Derek Griffith had a left front tire going down, and Tomassi had to make evasive action to the inside, coming across the nose of Bevin. Tomassi also took a big hit and had a small fire underneath the hood after backing into the fence. Neither Tomassi nor Griffith were able to continue on and, with the amount of damage, next week's event at Stafford may be off the table for them as well.

On a brighter side to the heat races Maine natives Brandon Barker of Windham, Joe Pastore of Gorham and Austin Macdonald of Pictou, Nova Scotia notched heat race victories.

The field was set for an exciting 50 lap main event. The first half of the race went along cleanly. Austin Macdonald out front and the majority of the field saving their tires waiting for the competition caution and the the opportunity to work on the car for 5 minutes and put on two new Hoosier tires.

Business would pick up after the restart though. It was all MacDonalds at the front with the #13 of Austin ahead off 11-time NHMS winner Eddie MacDonald #17MA, Brandon Barker and Joe Pastore.

In the last quarter of the race the action intensified once again as the MacDonald's put on a show for the ages. Door to door swapping the lead - crossover move after crossover move before Austin Macdonald finally prevailed and increased his lead to five car lengths.

Just as you thought Austin MacDonald was about to pickup his first Pro All Star Series win, a caution for the #50 of Jeff White slowed the field with just 6 laps remaining. What was going to be an exciting late race restart was slowed early into turn one as recently announced father-to-be Evan Beaulieu took a spin in his Hancock Lumber #56.

The field was doubled up again for the final restart with five laps to go. Brandon Barker looked to have saved a little something for the end as he fired up the inside of a three wide battle for the lead. The Outlaw Eddie Mac to the outside and Austin MacDonald in the middle. Fans were on their feet and holding their breath but the immense talent of the three drivers was apparent as they made it through the corner without any contact and all still contending for the top spot. Eddie Mac would prevail but only for a moment as coming to three to go the #13 King Racing machine recaptured the top spot. While you could throw a blanket over the top four cars, Evan Hallstrom and previous Mini Stock NHMS winner Justin Larson looked to join the party at the front. In the end Austin MacDonald took home the victory over Brandon Barker and Joe Pastore after a spirited battle for second. Justin Larson came home fourth and Eddie Mac faded to a fifth-place finish.

As many Pro All Stars Series fans know, Austin MacDonald has had a bad fast King Racing Fury Racecar in every event he has competed in. During yet another strong run at Thompson, a failure in the right front of his machine caused a huge impact at Thompson in the Icebreaker just two weeks ago. The car was totaled. For most teams that would end the possibility at being at the next event, but that was not the case for the #13 team. Lead by Crew Chief Andrew Hicken the team built a car in two weeks and even despite lift gate problems with their hauler were able to give Austin a car good enough to park in Victory Lane at New England's crown jewel racing venue. After this week's success the #13 team will slide into the third spot in PASS National Points and will have another shot at catching National Point leader DJ Shaw #60 next weekend at Stafford.

DJ had a very quiet day at the Magic Mile finishing 11th. While he was able to maintain the PASS National point lead, he has fallen to third in the North Standings. Eddie MacDonald with his 5th place finish will rocket to the top spot ahead of 2nd place finisher Brandon Barker.

The #88 of Barker continues to be impressive this season as he transitions from his longtime underdog role to that of a strong contender week in and week out. Other impressive performances from underdogs Justin Larson #18L, Anthony Constantino #14ME, Jake Matheson #52, and former Beech Ridge Speedway regular Joe Pastore #20P are sure to make for great PASS story lines throughout the season.

See the PASS stars and their cars in action again Saturday April 23rd, 2022 at Stafford Motor Speedway as a part of the Spring Sizzler weekend. This is the first trip for the Pro All Stars Series to Stafford in 10 years. The last event being won by the late New England Racing Legend Teddy Christopher over DJ Shaw. As Teddy Christopher would tell these drivers, "If you want to make friends go to summer camp". The 75 lap event will be a no holds barred contest that is sure to be yet another classic in the making.

Unofficial Results

1) Austin MacDonald
2) Brandon Barker
3) Joe Pastore
4) Justin Larson
5) Eddie MacDonald
6) Rowland Robinson
7) Jake Matheson
8) Anthony Constantino
9) Evan Hallstrom
10) Garrett Hall
11) DJ Shaw
12) Ryan Kuhn
13) Trevor Sanborn
14) Ivan Kaffel
15) Dennis Spencer
16) Isaac Bevin
17) Dan Winter
18) Michael Scorzelli
19) Nick Lascoula
20) Ben Rowe
21) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
22) Evan Beaulieau
23) Jeff White
24) Brian Whalley
25) JP Josiasse
26) Joshua King
27) Corey Bubar
28) Shane Clark
29) Kate Re
30) Alan Tardiff
31) Scott McDaniel

-Pro All Star Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Norm Marx