By lou Modestino
The Lee USA Speedway will be presenting its Annual Car Show in the Lilac Mall in Rochester, NH. The show will run from Friday, March 15th through Sunday, March 17th and will feature cars from all four of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions competing at Lee USA Speedway on a weekly basis as well as many of the touring series that will visit the speedway over the course of the season. Lee USA’s small block supermodifieds, late model sportsman, hobby stocks, and iron man will be on display as well as representatives of the Valenti Modified Series, the Northeast Mini Stock Tour, the Northeast Midget Association(NEMA), ACT Tour and the Classic Lites.
Set-up for the Lilac Mall show will be on Thursday evening March 14 at 9 p.m. The mall will be open for viewing from 9 a.m. thru 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. thru 5 p.m. on Sunday. Lee USA Speedway officials will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday for competitors wishing to register their cars for the upcoming season or to gain any additional information they may need.
Lee USA Speedway will open the season Sunday April 14th with the ACT Governor’s Cup 150. Despite winning four track titles, and the prestigious ACT Championship last season, Dover’s Wayne Helliwell Jr. has yet to claim the Governor’s Cup Trophy at his home track despite two dogged attempts. Helliwell was leading last year when tire woes relegated him to a top five position.
Over fifty cars from all over the northeast US and Canada are expected. Helliwell’s primary competition is likely to come from Pelham, NH driver Joey Pole and four time ACT champ Brian Hoar who has also won the Governor’s Cup twice. Also on hand for Governor’s Cup Weekend will be the Northeast Mini Stock Tour which will be making its first of two stops at Lee USA this season. Four cylinder standouts include their reigning champ Danny Field of CT and NH driver Emerson Cayer. Local drivers expected to compete in the 50 lap feature event include Loren Smith, Ricky Porter, and Shawn Waite Jr.
The weekend will also feature a 50 lap late model sportsman event open to non-Lee competitors with similar rules much like rules and regulations pertaining to Oktoberfest and the Annual Late Model 100. Tires purchased at the track by outside competitors can be used at other upcoming events at the track. Lee USA Prime Storage Late Model weekly competitors will all be awarded 50 points towards the season championship for starting the feature event. Five hundred dollars will be awarded to the winner, $75 to all drivers taking the green flag in the feature. Lee USA Prime Storage champ, JR Baril, will begin his title defense against Michelle Fushpanski and Grant Aither. Other late model sportsman standouts expected are surprise Oktoberfest winner Alby Ovitt and Tony Kawejsza.
Lee USA Speedway will be open for practice for any and all competitors on Saturday, April 13. The track will open at 9 a.m. Practice will run from noon to 5 p.m. The track will re-open on Sunday for the Governor’s Cup 150 at 9AM. Practice resumes at noon with the first qualifying heat starting at 1 p.m. Lee USA’s NASCAR Whelen Weekly All American Series will get underway on Friday, May 3rd.
The Angels Division at Riverside Speedway has always been a tight-knit, fun-loving group of ladies. As a matter of fact they get along so well that it’s not unusual that they’re the first ones to congratulate the winner of their own races. They feel sportsmanship and togetherness is just as important as taking the checkers. In 2013 the division will welcome another face back to the track dubbed “Lil Darlington” as Ciara McCoy throws her name in the run for the championship.
McCoy has competed in many different aspects of racing. The Engineering major from New Hampshire Technical Institute started out in the Daredevils division at Riverside, jumped to the Angels, and has also competed in the Dwarf car division as well as Late Models. Her experience behind the wheel of a race car will certainly be an asset to her 2013 campaign.
“I feel that my past has helped me to grow and be a better driver on and off the track,” states McCoy. “It has helped teach me skills from recovery to how to talk with fans”.
McCoy said the racing itch is what is bringing her back to the track. She’s setting the bar high for herself as she wants to enjoy the success of an Angel’s championship in 2013. McCoy also realizes it won’t be easy, as she thinks each driver will be tough to beat. That is one of the great things about this division – you just never know who will cross the finish line first.
With 2012 champ Traci Nelson announcing she will be running in the Street Stock division, it opens the door for each woman to shoot for the championship. Some competitors see the Brown girls as the ones to beat in 2013, “because they are just awesome,” says fellow competitor Nicole Ouellette. Ask Allison (Brown) Barney, Angel front runner and wife of Street Stocker Josh Barney, and she’ll praise another driver.
“Ciara is very talented and did very well when she ran with us before, so I think it will be great having her back,” Barney compliments. “She’s a good, clean racer so she’s a great addition”. First time winner in 2012, Ciara McCoy, knows this class will be wide open.
“I think every individual Angel herself is a challenge to beat, but it comes down to who’s more determined,” she remarked. “I guess I won’t know who will be tough to beat until the season starts”.
Riverside Speedway is located just off Brown Road, at 78 Craggy Road in Groveton, NH.
New Hampshire’s Canaan Fair Speedways race teams put on their best suits and walked away with several best appearing awards at the Frank Maratta’s Auto and Race-A-Rama Show held at the Big E in West Springfield, Mass. on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3.
The show area was packed to the rafters with classic cars and racecars as well as vendor booths and race track displays. “It was wall-to-wall people on Saturday from start to finish”, stated Canaan Fair Speedways General Manager, Dick Therrien. “We showcased our track to so many new people. It was absolutely awesome!”
Taking home awards were The SK Bean Dirt Mod entry and the Crate Mod of Michael Willis Jr. Stuart and Kathy Bean also claimed the award for best dirt car. Five glistening racecars filled the Canaan Fair Speedways’ booth. They included the #77 Dirt Mod driven by Allan Hammond; the #83 Crate Modified driven by Michael Willis Jr.; the #60 Bandit driven by Debra Holmes; the #55 Late Model owned by Mark Potter to be driven by Arnie Stygles; and the #10 SCoNE 360 Sprint Car show car.
The next event on the Canaan Fair Speedways calendar will be a car show to be held at the Diamond Run Mall in Rutland on March 23 and 24.
Other motorsports venues on hand were Thompson International Speedway, Waterford Speedbowl and Stafford Speedways, all from Connecticut; Bear Ridge from Vermont; and Monadnock Speedway from NH. Some tours were also represented like the Pro 4 Modifieds; New England Mini Stock Tour out of Maine; and the Valenti Modified Racing Series from NH; and the NH Pro Stock Tour. The show could have used more oval track venues, tours from northern New England.
Last weekend’s gear head show was the third resurrection for Race-a-Rama. Had the oval track venues and tours not been supplemented by the classic, hot rods and customs, it would have been an anemic turnout. The merger of the two shows held promise. Staging a show at the Big E is expensive and that’s a big reason why Race-a-Rama and the Speedway Expo didn’t turn a profit. The Frank Maratta Hot Rod show left the Hartford Expo and Connecticut after appearing there for many years. Apparently when the Riverside Speedway closed in nearby Agawam attendance eroded, and it was one of the reasons that a racing show couldn’t succeed at the Big E. We’ll be very interested to see if the show returns and has the staying power in the future.
On Sunday the Pelham Rod & Gun club will host a Military Vehicle Flea Market at 9 a.m.