THERE IS plenty of short track racing scheduled in the region this weekend although as usual in New England in May, promoters, race teams and fans alike will have their eyes on the latest weather forecast.
Claremont will attempt to get its opener in Friday with the Granite State Pro Stock Series as the headliner. If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, General Manager Phil Hayes says the track will race Saturday instead.
Other Saturday racing scheduled includes Star Speedway, Bear Ridge, Rumtown (formerly Legion Speedway in Wentworth) and Beech Ridge in Scarborough, Maine.
Monadnock, which was to have opened this Saturday with a Modified Racing Series event, announced Tuesday that completion of the installation of new bleachers, and upgrades to the safety wall and parking lot, have been weather-delayed. As a result, the Winchester quarter-mile will open on May 25 instead — without the touring Modifieds — which are already scheduled to appear there June 8.
On Sunday, Hudson Speedway and Thunder Road get underway in addition to the rescheduled Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Spring Sizzler 150, which was washed out last weekend.
Oxford Plains Speedway got its Pro All-Star Series (PASS) Super Late Model and American Canadian Tour Late Model doubleheader in last Sunday.
Garrett Hall of Scarborough, Maine, won the PASS Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150 despite starting 20th in a 33-car field. Defending PASS North champion DJ Shaw finished second. Cassius Clay, Nova Scotia driver Cole Butcher and Kennett High Schooler Gabe Brown were third, fourth and fifth. PASS national champion Derek Griffith of Hudson finished sixth.
Butcher and Griffith were a part of the 2018 Alan Kulwicki Driver Development Program. Griffith has been selected as a member of the 2019 program as well. He will chase the PASS National and North series championships once again and compete in both the Speed 51 Select Challenge at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis and the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway in Ontario.
The PASS Super Late Models will be at Star Speedway on Saturday, May 11.
The ACT race at Oxford Plains drew 36 cars and it was decided that all 36 would be allowed to start the 150-lap feature. That was a thoughtful gesture by management designed to not send anyone home early, but it resulted in numerous spinouts at the rear of the field and enough cautions to prompt the announcement during the event that it would be shortened to 125 laps.
Bryan Kruczek of Newmarket, in Bobby Webber’s 19 NH entry, sponsored by Vynorius Piledriving of Salisbury, Mass., and Mike Holmes & Sons Excavating, was first to the finish line after a lot of dicing with runner-up Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and Bobby Therrien.
“Therrien snookered me on one restart and drove under me and Joey Pole,” Kruczek said. “Later, Polewarczyk had the lead and it took me a long time to clear Therrien and chase him down. There was no outside groove. It was really one lane racing. When I got to Joey, I used the bumper a little, but he held on for eight or nine more laps.”
Kruczek and the Webber team are planning on hauling to the Thunder Road opener Sunday, where the field will be even more loaded with local talent than at Oxford.
Thunder Road recently announced the installation of an outside retaining wall around the perimeter of the historic high-banked quarter-mile as part of a makeover soon to include the reworking of the third turn Roy “Pappy” Forsythe seating area and a walkway leading from there to the main first turn concession area.
It will be a major departure from 60 years of escape routes — and trips and flips into the danger zone — off the top of turn two, the backstretch and turn three (made infamous when Tracie Bellerose, among others, landed upside down a few feet from the parking lot).
“We hadn’t entered that race wanting to wait and see how it goes with new wall,” Kruczek said, “but then the announcer started asking me about it in victory lane and my whole crew was going yeah, yeah!”
Hudson Speedway opens Sunday with Street Stocks, Six-Shooters, PASS Modifieds and Street Stocks.
Saturday’s lineup at Star Speedway marks the start of repeat title bids by 2018 350 Supermodified champion Dave Helliwell of Pelham and Late Model champion Jay Sands of Hampton.
Bear Ridge’s opener Saturday, presented by FMS Autoparts NAPA of Bradford, starts one half-hour earlier than its traditional regular season time (6-ish).
Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., bitten twice by rainfall in an attempt to run its “Come N’ Get It” $5,400-to-win Dirt Modified Shootout, has rescheduled the event for Tuesday, May 14.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at email@example.com.
On Track This Weekend
Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Beech Ridge (Me): Saturday, 7 p.m.
Rumtown Speedway: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Hudson: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Stafford Speedway (Conn.): Sunday, 2 p.m.
Thunder Road (Vt.): Sunday, 1:30 p.m.