NEW ENGLAND MOTORSPORTS NORTH By Lou Modestino(for 3/12-3/14/10)

The thrty-sixth annual Town Fair Tire World of Wheels custom car show rolls into Boston’s Bayside Expo Center this weekend, March 12-14 with its now familiar and popular mix of custom cars, about 300 expected, and special attractions. 

The Town Fair Tire World of Wheels, holder of Bayside’s weekend attendance record, each year attracts local creators of custom vehicles of all types, representing millions of dollars worth of one-of-a-kind hot rods, customs, street rods, collectibles, race cars, antiques, restorations, tuners and more. The show also always offers spectators the chance to meet and get free autographs from celebrities, to see specialty vehicle exhibits and to be entertained by many other attractions for the whole family. 

Special automotive exhibits will include Drag City USA and Motorama. Drag City USA will feature Kalitta’s ’67 Bounty Hunter, Prudhomme’s ’70 Wynn’s Winder and Garlits’ ’60 Swamp Rat III, ’62 Swamp Rat IV and ’66 Swamp Rat VIII. Motorama will show off traditional rods, customs and bobbers not seen at other Boston-area car shows. Spectators also will be able to shop an automotive memorabilia and toy show. 

Thirty-sixth annual Town Fair Tire World of Wheels show hours are Friday, March 12, 5-10:30 p.m , Saturday, March 13, 10 a.m. -10:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 14, 10 a.m. -7 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, free for children 5 and under. Discount coupons for $2 off adult and children’s tickets will be available at participating Town Fair Tire stores. Boston’s Bayside Exp Center is located off I-93 at Columbia Road and a short walk from the MBTA Red Line’s JFK/UMass stop. Free shuttles will run to and from the T stop during show hours. 

Here’s some late information from the Lee USA Speedway from GM Bob Watson. “We are planning on racing on Saturday night. Our attorney is taking the necessary steps to work out anyand all the details with the New Hampshire superior court The 2010 racing schedule will be tentative pending issuance of our license.” This change is the result of the Star Speedway in nearby Epping, NH giving up their NASCAR sanction for Saturday night race meets. 

With the recent announcement of a new title sponsor, Bob Valenti for the 2010 racing season, Modified Racing Series officials have disclosed two new companies will also be involved with the Northeast’s premier racing series. Connecticut Trailers Inc, and Basement Systems, have come on board in support of the series contingency program for the new campaign. 

Connecticut Trailers Inc. has been in the business of selling trailers since 1997. Located in Bolton, the company has grown to become the largest supplier in the northeast shipping trailers across the nation. They offer the highest quality trailers on the market at fair prices backed by knowledge and personalized service both before and after the sale. Connecticut Trailer is a large supplier to the racing industry and will provide the official trailer of the Modified Racing Series. 

Seymour, CT., based Basement Systems, is the world leader in developing and providing products that result in dry, below-grade space. Basement Systems, innovators in wet basement and crawl space repair, has a network of more than 300 dealers throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The company will contribute to this years point fund. 

Back for 2010 but in a bigger way is long time series sponsor New England Racing Fuels, suppliers of Sunoco Race Fuels. John Holland will now provide fuel for the series competitors at each event. Holland will again sponsor the Sunoco Hard Charger award. 

DART Machine Company returns to present a weekly bonus award to the highest finishing drivers running under the DART program guidelines as well as the DART Steel Head Engine Builder of the Year Award at seasons end. 

Koszela Speed of Coventry, R.I., returns to sponsor the 2010 Rookie of the Year program. SPAFCO Race Cars, Preston, CT., will again provide a weekly bonus to the most improved driver, Sherwood Wheels, Owego, NY, is back with their weekly certificate program, Racing Electronics will again outfit series officials with communications equipment, and Hoosier Tire East, Manchester, CT., returns as the official tire supplier for 2010. 

Series officials are busily preparing for the season opening “Budweiser Blastoff” at the Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, CT., Friday, Mar 26, Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28. Friday will be utilized as a practice day with qualifying races on Saturday and the 100 lap green flag feature race on Sunday. 

A pair of New Englanders did well in the recent AMA Flat Track Motorcycle action held at Daytona Intl. Speedway. In the Pro Singles former Londonderry, NH resident James Respoli came in sixth while Shane Narbonne of Lowell took a eighth place. In the point chase Respoli is currently third overall. The next race for those two competitors will be on May 1 at Prescott, AZ. 

According to the Concord (NH) Monitor, looking to prop up the bottom line at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, GM Gerry Gappens has proposed to the State of NH that the venue wants to build a gambling casino if it can get approval from the state and local authorites. Also part of the expansion is New England Racing Hall of Fame Museum. This comes on the heels of the recent announcement that the Kansas Speedway, owned by International Speedway Corp.(ISC), received permission to build a casino on the track property. The results of which will find the management of ISC petitioning NASCAR for a second NASCAR Cup and support series weekend. The result of which could see another transfer of a Cup race from a southeastern US track which could be one of the events held at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway. 

The Monitor story also revealed that the nearby Lakes Region Dog Track, in Belmont, NH, has objected to the inclusion of NHMS as one of the possible sites to get casino gambling because of the close proximity of the two venues. Gappens, who took exception to the Lake’s Region objections, told the Monitor that NHMS has proven itself as a “destination site” in the Granite State by hosting the two NASCAR weekends in June and September that draw big crowds on those two weekends and has a major economic impact on the Lakes Region of NH. 

Here’s an update on James Respoli formerly of Londonderry, NH. “The long awaited season opener for the AMA Pro Singles Flattrack season has come and gone. I had such an awesome time the last two weeks and while I feel I could of done better, I was able to achieve a couple of podium finishes for the week and got out of there in 3rd place overall for the championship which was much better than last years start. My highlight of the week was making the podium and getting a second place finish on the new short track on its inaugural night at the famed Daytona Speedway in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 5,000. The only thing better was winning at the famed Daytona Stadium in 2009, the last time anyone will get a chance to do it again. Cool stuff for sure!!! 

My trip started out a bit sketchy. Like every Daytona, you prepare all winter long yet some how it always comes down to the last minute for everything to come together. This year was no different. We managed to get it all covered with our new 2009 Cycle Dynamics CRF 450 getting prepped with components from RHC, Boughner Racing, K&N, Motion Pro, Spectro Oils, DP brakes, Engine Ice, Vortex gears and D&D pipe. My trusty Bettencourt Suzuki which I used last year to take a win at Daytona was also prepped with a full rebuild from top to bottom. I was ready for racing. I couldn’t have done all the prep work without the support and sponsorship help from my crew chief Dustin Say. Dustin put in a ton of hours stripping my bikes down to the bare frames and rebuilding them back to mint race condition. 

On the trip down I stopped off at Neeses SC to get some testing in since I have never ridden a fuel injected dirt tracker before. I changed suspension companies and also wanted to see how well my new Boughner Racing suspension was going to work. The tests went well and the Honda was hooked up and handled better than I expected. The Suzuki felt great too and it was really hooked up as well. I left Neeses and made my way to Savannah, GA for some half mile testing. I sat out the first two nights because I didn’t want to put too much time on my new engines. I waited to Saturday night so I could make some money. During the evening it was clear the guys who raced the previous nights had their set ups dialed and already knew which lines were good on the track. It took me a while to get adjusted to the new 09 CRF too, since the fuel injection made throttle control quite a bit trickier. I took my time getting up to speed, qualified fine and was ready to race. In the race I had a problem with my bike really hooking up. I worked the entire track looking for a good line but ended up taking 5th overall. While I wasn’t particularly happy I made a few bucks to offset some fuel costs. Later the next day working with Kenny Tolbert we discovered my tire gauge was reading 6 lbs off. That meant I was running like 21lbs in my front Goodyear and 26lbs in my rear. And I wonder why I couldn’t get any grip….. 

Baberville Half Mile 

2nd Place Barberville Half Mile 

The next day we had a race at Barberville. I made sure this time the air in the tires was correct and went out for practice. The track was really rough, but I like it when the track is challenging like that. I ran pretty good but wanted to slow the bike down a little for the heat race so I added a tooth to the rear gear. I managed to win my heat and got ready for the main event. In the main my bike was working really good and I felt strong. I managed to take a second place finish and collected a few more bucks and continued to learn about the new bike. 

Leading them out on the Daytona Short Track 

I finally made it to the short track at Daytona for a practice day. When I got off the track the first time I was convinced it was not very good and it stayed not very good the entire day. I knew that anything we did to set up the bikes to work in these conditions was going to be useless for the next days race and that was very true. The next day was race one and it started around 10AM with the first free practice. The next two practices would be timed and they would count for the qualifying positions. I had a first good run and was fifth but on the second timed run I ended up eleventh. I was not happy but since I still got a front row start I knew I could do something in the heat . I was on the outside of the front row but got an awesome start. We ended up with a red flag because a couple of riders got into each other. On the restart I nailed it again and managed to run up front chasing Carver as we broke away from the pack. I was catching Carver a little bit at a time but was making little mistakes here and there. We both did, but in the end I had to settle for second place. It was way cool and I really wanted to get up there on the podium the first night and thank all the great people who have been supporting me. 

After a little celebration from the night before we knew things were going to be tougher on day two. By now everyone was getting a feel for the track conditions and I expected it to be harder to qualify well too. The track unfortunately was nothing like the night before. Whatever set up worked on Wednesday was not working on Thursday. Mike Boughner came over and worked on the suspension and things go a little better each time but I was really spinning up the rear tire. It was too late but I knew half way through the practice that I should have used my Suzuki instead. The Suzuki has less power and the day before I didn’t use it because it hooked up too much! I was committed now and had to make it work. I ended up qualifying like eight and that was a little better than the day before. In the heat I felt confident I could make it work and end up either first or second but I got stuck behind a rider and couldn’t get enough grip to make the pass. 

In the final I initially got a great start but the race was red flagged. On the restart I got pinched out and had to fight for every position. I just couldn’t get a lot of forward motion out of the bike and was forced to settle for a 6th place finish. I was not a happy camper about that. After I had a chance to cool down I reviewed the night with Dustin and realized some things we would do differently. I got out of Daytona by making the main events on both nights out of 75 riders. I made it on the podium in the most prestigious of all short track races and came away with enough points to put me into third place in the championship. Now all I have to do is find the funds to be able to make the west coast rounds so I don’t fall behind in the points too much. 

I want to thank all my sponsors for all their help. To David Ashi for letting me crash in the RV at Daytona and to all the support, grub and everything. I couldn’t do it without friends like you. To my bud Scott Rosey for being the man. To my crew chief Dustin who flew down on his own dime to work with me, I couldn’t of done it without you. To Rhonda and Dave Waters thanks for all the help down there I hope I made you laugh. And, the same to my good friend Broc, who had a tough Daytona but let me crash with him in Savannah.” 

Thompson International Speedway will mark the opening of its 70th anniversary year with the running of the traditional Icebreaker on the weekend of April 10 and 11. The famed, high-banked oval will usher in the 2010 racing season with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Thompson’s own “Super 6” NASCAR Whelen All-American series divisions. 

Just prior to the actual running of the Icebreaker, the speedway will be open for two full days of open practice. The first of these days is scheduled for Saturday, March 27 with the second the following Saturday, April 3. The open practice sessions are for any and all race cars providing that they meet safety requirements. The track will be open for “round robin” sessions between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. All competitors are invited and are urged to take advantage of this opportunity to get their race cars dialed in for the big season opening Icebreaker. 

Thompson’s 2010 race schedule is one of the most exciting to be seen in many years. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make three appearances during the year and the track has scheduled, for the first time, four Tour Type Modified Shoot Out events. These events will be open competition Modified races in a dash for the cash 35-lap feature event format. Fans have already expressed their excitement about these events and Thompson management is working hard to assure that these events will meet the fan’s expectations. 

In addition, Thompson will also host the Modified Touring Series for two 75-lap events during the 2010 racing season. Add to all of this the weekly Thursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT) races, the traditional Memorial Day weekend Eve of Destruction program, the Vintage Antique Car Extravaganza and the season-ending World Series of Speedway Racing and you’ve got an amazing and diverse line up of high-speed racing action. 

Copies of the 2010 Thompson racing schedule are available on the track’s web page and in hundreds of retail locations throughout New England. Schedules may also be obtained by calling the track office to have a one mailed directly to your home. 

Thompson’s web page also offers an opportunity for competitors and race fans to sign up for the free service known as Rained Out. In the event that a race program is cancelled or postponed, fans can receive that information only moments after the decision is made via their cell phones or by email. Competitors can get the inside track on special announcements by signing up for free email alerts with the new feature called EMAIL NEWSLETTERS. 

The American Canadian Tour (ACT) will celebrate 25 years of Championship Stock Car Racing with one of its largest number of pre-season full season entered teams. The balance of veteran champions and new teams joining the US touring division represents five New England states and two provinces of Canada. ACT statistician Nick Bigelow said, “I have reviewed past seasons and this looks like the most diverse and best count ACT has had in the past half dozen seasons.” 

A fourteen race schedule will carry teams from the shores of Connecticut at the historic Waterford Speedbowl to new tracks located as far north as Quebec City, (the newly renovated 5/8th mile Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix), and west to the newly paved 4/10th mile Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY, just outside the New York capital city. 

Veteran title chaser Brent Dragon from Milton, VT said, “This is a great schedule for those of us that like touring. New tracks are always interesting and with two new tracks on the schedule just undergoing renovations and paving (Albany-Saratoga and Riverside-Ste Croix), along with my favorite recently renovated half mile Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY, I hope this is the year I can finally win an ACT Championship.” 

“Dragon has been a perennial top three finisher on the tour for many years, and feels with the longer tracks on the 2010 schedule, he has just gotten the edge he might need to finally win the title. Brent Dragon has completed the most races of any driver in the 18 year history of the ACT Late Model division,” continued Bigelow. 

Joining the list of likely contenders is defending Champion Brian Hoar from Williston, VT. Hoar found his magic championship form when he joined Rick Paya’s RPM Engines team in 2009. Strong performances to end the season brought Hoar his 6th ACT Championship title. Hoar clearly is the favorite to beat in 2010. 

Other strong teams who have full season entries are Scott Payea, led by co-owner and veteran crew chief, Chris Companion. Joey Polewarczyk (‘Pole’) from Hudson, NH is primed and eager to take a run for the ACT title. Now a seasoned competitor of ACT touring and the youngest of the new breed of racers, Joey ‘Pole’ has switched to Ford power plants for the 2010 campaign. Turner, Maine veteran Glen Luce, beginning his third year of ACT Tour racing, will join ‘Pole’ on the Blue Oval Ford team. Brian Craig will crew chief the Luce effort. “Now that we have been around the ACT circuit for a couple years, I think we have a pretty good chance to contend for the title. It was a challenging learning curve for our team getting used to the different tracks, and it sure was a lot different than running sprint races on Saturday night at our home track Oxford Plains Speedway, but I am hoping that with our new Ford program we will have some success,” said Luce. 

One of the early favorites to challenge for the 2010 ACT title is Graniteville, Vermont’s John Donahue. Donahue was the most successful racer during the last third of the 2009 season, winning races at White Mountain Motorsport Park, and realizing a lifelong dream of winning the Chittenden Milk Bowl at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road. That momentum certainly makes the Kendall Roberts-Dale Shaw led team a threat to win the 2010 title. 

Joining the list of filed entries includes top veteran runners such as New Hampshire’s Randy Potter, Vermonters Jamie Fisher and Eric Chase, and Maine’s Ricky Rolfe. Tyler Cahoon and Pete Potvin round out some returning young stars that completed the entire 2009 season. 

Other veterans and former champions: legendary and ageless Joey Laquerre, from Barre, VT will drive a Seth Holbrook prepared car. Former White Mountain Motorsport Park Champion Quinney Welch, from Lancaster, NH has also entered the full schedule of events for the 2010 season. 

The highly anticipated season will also see the return of seven-time ACT Champion JP Cyr of Milton, VT in the father/son team race car of Gary and Kyle Caron. Richard Green will be fielding two cars with veterans Joey Becker and former Airborne Champion Mark Lamberton behind the wheels. 

Two teams will travel from Canada to tackle the 2010 ACT US season. 2009 Série ACT Castrol Champion Donald Theetge has submitted his full season entry to run on the American-based Tour. Also making a return is former ACT Pro Stock Tour competitor Derek Lynch. Lynch, the winner of the Oxford 250 in 1994 has decades of experience. He has competed previously in the NASCAR North/Busch East Series and for the past two years has raced in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series throughout Canada. He also is the track manager of the Kawartha Speedway outside Peterborough, ON, Canada. 

Some new faces running their first full ACT Tour seasons are multi-time Oxford Plains Speedway Champion Travis Adams, Jeff Zuidema with Thompson Int’l Speedway Championships in his portfolio, and Thunder Road regular and former Sportsman Champion at both Thunder Road and Airborne Speedway, Craig Bushey. 

Massachusetts racers Jimmy ‘Scruffy’ Linardy and Mark Hudson; along with Vermonter David Paya have sent in full season entries. Over 30 teams are expected to start the season as full time entrants, a record number of teams to begin the new campaign. 

The Rookie of the Year battle has two of the most talented young Late Model stars in the region with 17 year-old Beech Ridge racer Bradley Babb from Maine driving the Sallie Bolduc machine. Babb will have former ACT Pro Stock driver and father, Bobby Babb, crew chief the car. Another young star of the Twin State Speedway battles, from the Granite State, Chris Riendeau, is going to compete for the ACT Rookie of the Year honors on a full time basis as well. 

The 2010 ACT Tour season kicks off on Sunday, April 18 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH with the NH Governor’s Cup 150. The winner will be the first to receive an invitation for the second annual ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to be held on Saturday, September 18th during the first weekend of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship. 

Here’s what’s happening in the North Country this weekend. Up in Pittsburg, NH on the Quebec border there’s a USCC East XCountry Snowmobile NH 100 that goes off at 9 a.m.