THOMPSON SPEEDWAY’S Icebreaker weekend got the New England short track racing schedule underway April 7. Star Speedway in Epping was to have been next up, but promoter Bobby Webber Jr. has decided to push the date for its annual Bunny Brawl event out to April 27.
When it does open, Star will be running under NASCAR sanction. In addition to the Bunny Brawl, which includes Enduro mayhem events for four, six, and eight-cylinder jalopies plus Street Stocks and Six-Shooters, two notable events scheduled before summer really sets in are a Pro All-Star Series (PASS) Super Late Model on May 11 and an American Canadian Tour (ACT) 150 on June 29.
Next weekend, Oxford Plains Speedway will host a doubleheader with the PASS Super Late Models and the ACT Late Models. The New England Mini Stock Tour will also be on hand.
The focus in southern New England will be on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 28.
The NASCAR Modified winner of the Thompson Icebreaker 150 was defending champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y. Bonsignore was well positioned to take advantage of a pit road penalty assessed to race leader Doug Coby after a caution on lap 99.
It was the fifth consecutive win at Thompson for Bonsignore and his 21st overall on the Whelen Modified Tour. Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., finished second ahead of Long Island driver Erik Goodale. Coby rallied to place fifth.
The Modified Racing Series, headquartered in Canaan under the direction of Jack Bateman, was on the Icebreaker card and its season opener was won by Chase Dowling of Roxbury, Conn., who was last seen locally winning the inaugural Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Whelen Tour regular Ronnie Williams was the runner-up. Mike Willis Jr. of Grantham finished third.
The American Canadian Tour 150 at Oxford Plains will kick off Scott Payea‘s defense of his 2018 Tour title. ACT president Cris Michaud was heartened by a strong turnout of ACT-legal Late Models that traveled to Richmond (Va.) Raceway in late March for a non-points race in which two of New Hampshire’s best, Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and Wayne Helliwell Jr., finished 1-2 ahead of tour regular Rich Dubeau of Lebanon.
Michaud held an employees meeting this week at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, which he and Thunder Road partner Pat Malone purchased over the winter.
“The Richmond race was awesome,” Michaud said. “Our guys performed very well and hardly any equipment got torn up.”
Michaud has said he has no plans to “try and remake White Mountain into another Thunder Road.”
“We do have high hopes for a revival of the Flying Tiger division, though,” he claims. “We’re going to have a Triple Crown Series for them just like we have at Thunder Road. They’ll be racing on the American Racer 705 tires. The beauty of those tires is that they hold up for a long time and get faster as they wear out. Many of our Thunder Road teams had tire bills under $1,500 last year.”
White Mountain opens Saturday, May 11 with ACT’s Caron Fabrication Spring Green 119.
Claremont Speedway will begin its season Friday, May 3. Phil Hayes returns as general manager under the new partnership team of Lee USA owner Norm Wrenn II and Hudson Speedway owner Ben Bosowski.
Claremont, Lee USA, Hudson Speedway, Monadnock and Star Speedway have formed an alliance named NHSTRA – New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association – aiming to maximize the effect of common tire and rules packages.
Monadnock was purchased by Wrenn last fall. Star continues to be owned and operated by Bobby Webber Jr.
“We’re in good shape in terms of snow, ice and drainage,’ Hayes said. “We had to cancel our first practice because of mud, but we’re going to try again this Saturday.”
Claremont will have a Sportsman Modified class this season as does Monadnock. Last year’s Claremont headliners, known as the Super Streets, will undergo a few rule changes and be known as the Late Model Sportsmen as per Lee USA. Opening night will showcase the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the start of 2018 champion Devon O’Connell‘s bid for a repeat.
The Madison, Conn., driver won at Monadnock and Hudson in 2018 and placed in the top five six times.
Monadnock’s opener on Saturday, May 4, will have the Modified Racing Series in as the main attraction.
“We’re looking forward to a big year there,” Norm Wrenn III said of the Winchester quarter-mile track. “Everyone I’ve met there has been great. Michelle Cloutier is returning as the general manager. We have new grandstands being built, which will be up for the opener.”
Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt., has scheduled its 52nd season opener, sponsored by FMA Autoparts LLC NAPA of Bradford, on Saturday, May 4.
Trackside appears Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader.