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Tom Herzig's Trackside: Time to turn off the shop lights
Monadnock and Thunder Road completed the region's 2012 short track season over the weekend. The four seasons of the calendar for many New England race teams are racing season, hunting season, winter, mud season. Quite a few drivers and crew members are on a stand or in a blind right now, although others have already begun work on cars for next year.
Veteran Barry Gray of Belchertown, Mass., who has been racing and winning championships at Monadnock since firesuits were invented, won the Granite State Pro Stock Series Vampire 100. Fran Colson of Gardner, Mass., was the runner-up. Kingston's Bobby Cabral became the fledgling series' first champion after placing third. Dan Stebbins of Bernardston, Mass., won the final Sportsman Modified race. He was the division's 10th different winner.
It will be interesting to see how the changes taking place at Oxford Plains - new owner PASS Pro-Stock sanction, etc., will affect that class of race car in general and the Granite State Series specifically.
The American Canadian Tour had a swift response to the recent sale of Oxford Plains to PASS President Tom Mayberry. The Oxford 250 was not an ACT event per se, but it was for ACT-legal Late Models, and Oxford hosted one or two Tour events each year.
ACT and Airborne Speedway announced over the weekend that the inaugural "International 500" will be run in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on the weekend of July 20-21. That just so happens to be the weekend of the Oxford 250. The "500" will include 300 laps of ACT Late Model racing run similarly to Thunder Road's Milk Bowl - three segments, invert the field, etc., and a 100-lap non-qualifier feature event. The two-day event also includes a two-segment 100 lap DIRTcar Modified event. For the uninitiated, a 30-car field of DIRT-style open-wheel Modifieds averaging 108 mph on the progressively-banked Airborne half-mile will quicken your pulse.
Thunder Road champion Dave Pembroke of Middlesex, Vt., won the 50th Milk Bowl Sunday - a month after winning the Milk Bowl pole. Pembroke followed outside row partner Brian Hoar around in the first 50-lap segment, but raced his way back up through to seventh in round two while Hoar struggled - as did Hudson's Joey Polewarczyk, who disappeared over the top of turn 2 never to return. ACT champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. finished fourth overall, but wasn't able to overcome finishing 20th in the first round after starting deep in the field.
Pembroke began the third segment with a seemingly comfortable eight-point cushion, but he was mired in traffic too far behind Hoar to prevail until two cars pitted for tires on a late restart. That lucky break made the Milk Bowl math work for Pembroke, especially when Glen Luce passed Hoar for the third segment win.
Twin State Speedway owner Dennis Fleury has fielded a couple of offers since announcing that the Claremont facility was available for sale or lease, but neither came to fruition. Offers will still be given full consideration, Fleury says, but for now he's moving forward with plans to open in 2013. "The terms are affordable, sale or lease," Fleury said, "but it's not a fire sale. I've had some consultations with Jack Bateman (Valenti Modified Series founder and president) and I'm going to bring back Tour-type Modifieds next year if the decision is mine to make. I'm also planning to run some divisions on an every other week schedule."
Inquiries about Twin State Speedway can be made by phoning 863-0076.
Riverside Speedway in Groveton, under new management by lessee Dan Fournier, is running a $2,000-to-win Berlin City Frostbite 150 Enduro this Saturday at 1 p.m. Second place pays $500. The Frostbite 150 is open to any 4-, 6-, or 8 cylinder vehicle as long as the vehicle is not four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or turbo. Spectator drags start the day off.
On behalf of Accessible Racing founder Brian Hanaford of Plymouth - whose father Harold "Hard Luck" Hanaford was honored as the Milk Bowl winner ('62, '64) at Thunder Road Sunday - here's a suggestion to check out what the organization is up to at accessibleracing.com.
Hanaford is a consultant in a project to develop a stand-alone adaptive PC-based Driver Rehabilitation Training System to prepare disabled veterans to successfully pass all driving license certification requirements.
He's also involved with iRacing.com's (the online, subscription-based racing simulation game) World Driving Challenge. The WDC is in part a sustainability plan to help VA facilities and top rehabilitation hospitals provide freedom, hope, inspiration via therapeutic physical and emotional rehabilitation so as to break barriers and create mobility opportunities for newly injured and physically challenged vets and civilians. WDC includes iRacing access and the world leading fund-raising software with built-in fund-raising incentives.
Tom Herzig writes a weekly racing column during the season.