It didn’t take Chris Staples long to get back into the swing of things in the Pro All-Star Series North’s Mods Division.

After making an abortive move up to the regional racing circuit’s Super Late Model division last season, Staples has returned to the open-wheeled Mods.

Last Saturday night, he ran out front for 35 of 40 laps to win the PASS North’s season-opening race in the division at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

Not bad for a guy who hadn’t been behind the wheel of that race car since the 2008 season.

“We unloaded it off the trailer and it was right there,” Staples said. “I only had to make two minor adjustments. It was fast.”

It was the 12th career Mods win for Staples, who won PASS North championships in the division in 2005 and ’06.

Money was the primary reason Staples dropped out of PASS North’s top division and returned to the division where he enjoyed so much success.

“We just don’t have the finances to run a Super Late Model this year,” he said. “We never really had a sponsor or anything. We ran everything out of our pockets, the family business. With the economy the way it is, we just didn’t have money enough to blow it on racing this year.”

Last May, Staples started his only Super Late Model season by winning PASS North’s 150-lap race at Beech Ridge.

“We were pretty dominant the first four or five races, then we started to slip a little bit,” he said. “To run a Super Late Model, you’re spending sometimes $4,000 on a weekend. If you win the race, you were only getting back maybe $3,000 or $3,500, so you’re still in the hole $500 every week.”

Without financial backing, it was impossible for the Brunswick-based Staples Racing Team to keep a car on the track.

“We wrecked it the last race we raced it (at Unity) and that was pretty much why we quit,” Staples said.

It’s much different in the Mods Division.

“It’s quite a bit cheaper,” Staples said.

Staples estimated it cost about $1,000 to enter last weekend’s race and he received $500 for winning it. “The first race is the most expensive,” he said. “After that it should cost about $500 per week.”

Of course, Staples’ car isn’t new. It’s the same ride he drove when he won back-to-back championships.

“Last year I let a friend race it and he ran it for half a year,” Staples said. “He didn’t have a whole lot of success with it. We have done things to it during the offseason, and I think it’s better than it was last year.”

This year, Staples intends to run the full slate of PASS North’s 10-race schedule in the Mods Division, and he expects to win.

“I’m usually pretty confident when I get in that car anyway,” he said. “I know we’re going to be pretty successful.”

The Mods aren’t scheduled to race again until June 20 at Unity Raceway. The series will return July 10 to Beech Ridge.

 

THE RACING SEASON at Oxford Plains Speedway will open May 16 with an American-Canadian Tour 150-lap race for Late Models.

The first practice session for all divisions is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and is open to the public.

 

WISCASSET RACEWAY will hold its first Sunday racing session May 23. Practice for all divisions is scheduled for May 16 and is open to the public.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]