OXFORD — Less than two weeks ago, it appeared D.J. Shaw had all but finished off the competition in his pursuit of a fifth career Pro All Stars Series championship. With his first win of the season less than two weeks ago, he may well have done that, but not without some anxious moments down to the wire.

Shaw, the second-generation racer from Center Conway, New Hampshire, holds a 69-point lead over Johnny Clark atop the PASS standings heading into Saturday’s season finale at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Clark finished fourth a week ago at Oxford, in what was supposed to be the second half of a doubleheader weekend before rain postponed the first of those two races to this weekend. In pursuit of a record seventh career championship, Clark whittled 11 points off Shaw’s advantage.

The Hallowell driver wanted to take a bigger chunk out of Shaw’s lead after trailing by 80 points heading in.

“We needed (more),” said Clark, who won the Oxford 250 in August. “It’s still striking distance. He can’t just take the green and park it. We’ll have all the cars there (Saturday) for that race, too.”

Shaw was mired mid-pack in the 35-car field for much of last Sunday’s 150-lap event with an ill-handling race car, while Clark was busy contending for the win. A late caution flag jumbled the running order in the back half of the top 10, allowing Shaw to salvage a ninth-place run — his 11th top 10 in 13 starts this season.

After spending a day testing ahead of last weekend’s race, it wasn’t the performance Shaw was hoping for after winning a week earlier at Thompson (Connecticut) Speedway Motorsports Park.

“It wasn’t our day,” Shaw said. “We tried some stuff, but we’ll probably put it back for next week and try not to give it away.”

PASS awards five points for a heat race win, with a single point drop through fifth position, and 220 points for a win, with a two-point drop-off per position through the running order.

If Clark were to win both his qualifier and the Coastal Auto Parts 150, Shaw only needs to finish 30th or better to clinch the championship. Only once in his 173 career races dating back to his series debut in 2007 has Shaw finished 30th or worse in a race.

Ironically, that came at Oxford Plains in April 2019.

“Hopefully, we’ll be better (Saturday),” Shaw said. “Johnny didn’t have a great day (last weekend) either, so we’ll see where it shakes out. We’ll come back next week and all we need to duplicate our poor performance from (Sunday).”

Clark has three straight top-five finishes at Oxford this season.

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