Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Juice: Ahhh, Racing Season!

-by Justin St. Louis
VMM Editor

One down, 70-ish to go. VMM took in its first race of the year at Waterford Speedbowl last weekend, and witnessed a decent show by the Modified Racing Series troops, the NEMA Midgets, and Waterford's Late Models, Mini Stocks, and Street Stocks.

The MRS race had 11 cautions, but we're willing to forgive that and chalk it up to first-race growing pains. That and the fact that one of those cautions was for a spectacular seven-car crash at the flagstand that sent Jimmy Dolan flying through the air. If you're gonna wreck, boys, make it big and do it in front of the grandstands so the paying fans can see. Job well done. (We wouldn't be applauding the crash, of course, if anyone got hurt. Thankfully there were no injuries reported.)

Doug Coby was clearly very strong and deserved to win the race, but it would have been interesting to see if Rowan Pennink could have beaten him. Pennink changed an engine Sunday morning and was forced to come from 25th starting spot to rap on Coby's back bumper with ten laps remaining. Under caution on lap 90, though, Pennink's car shut down. Initial reports were that the car's fuel cell ran dry, but that was later discounted by Pennink's team members, who instead cited an unknown mechanical failure.

The Mini Stocks at Waterford are among the best four-cylinder divisions I've ever seen anywhere, bar none, and the Street Stocks going three- and four-wide around a track that isn't really built for that kind of racing was a lot of fun to watch. The Late Models were a bit strung out at times, but there were a few good battles and some key wrecks that changed the complexion of the race. The NEMA race wasn't much to write home about, but it took only five minutes from green to checkers, and it was cool to have a first-time winner in Chris Leonard.

All in all, it was a great way to begin the 2010 season, and we're looking forward to the American-Canadian Tour opener at Lee USA Speedway on April 18.


What was not great was the 60-lap, hour-long-plus SK Modified feature, one that featured no less than four different spins by Frank Mucciacciaro, and a ton of restarts that -- to this unbiased non-regular to the track -- looked a bit fishy.

Leader Keith Rocco jumped the start half the time, played jackrabbit half the time, and brake-checked the field before rocketing to the green the other half of the time. (There were so many restarts that there were actually three halves of the race. I counted.) I won't suggest that Rocco gets special treatment at Waterford, but it seemed fairly obvious that he was going to get away with whatever he wanted to when it was time to take the green flag.

Maybe that's the way Waterford does things, I don't know. It would be easier to point fingers if another driver had been the polesitter for any of the restarts, but Rocco led every lap and was therefore the point man the entire race. We just hope it was a one-race thing and that it's not a regular occurence.

For safety's sake, Mucciacciaro needs to either get a spotter, a mirror, or a big rubber ball to live inside. Maybe all three. I saw him chop down on other cars, I saw him drive directly into other cars, I saw him spin completely on his own, and I saw him end up in a pileup across the finish line when he was running in last place. And again, the officials need to say something. Let him ride around and make some laps and get seat time, but when he starts to ruin the race, put him on the trailer. Come back next week and try it again.

At the races I've always enjoyed seeing, there would have been one warning for Rocco's mind games, and no more than three strikes for Mucciacciaro's disregard for the race. Hopefully Waterford Speedbowl will catch on before I go back there in October.


At 6-2-2, the Habs have the best record in the East over the last ten games. We should just let those silly Bruins scoot by us for seventh place so they can get schlacked in four games by the Penguins in the playoffs, ya know, since the B's obviously won't put up a fight against them when it matters anyway.

And then there's Atlanta and the Rangers lurking back there just outside the cutoff. In reality, I said at the beginning of the season that I'd be surprised if my boys from Montréal made the post-season, so I'm pretty tickled that we're in a position to be there.

Hmm? What? This is a racing blog? Wow, my bad. Anywho...


The new three-track alliance between Bear Ridge, Canaan, and the new Big Daddy's Speedbowl can only be a good thing for dirt racers and fans in the area. With the headline Sportsman Modifieds running under a common rulebook, the popular Twin State Series has been recreated, and underwriting has been found in Gravco Janitorial Services.

With the momentum Bear Ridge Speedway gained last year in the Modifieds -- going from an average of 6 cars in 2008 to 25 by the end of 2009 -- and the promotional creativity of Canaan's Dick Therrien and the enthusiasm of Mike "Big Daddy" Rivers, we're expecting big things this season.


It was sure nice to be at a race track in March. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a race in person during that particular month. I'm also not sure I'll ever want to again, at least not in New England. #freakingcold

Yes, that was a Twitter reference. #getonthebandwagon


The call by Mike Ford to bring Denny Hamlin out of the lead and into the pits was probably the gutsiest move a crew chief has made in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in a long time, and Hamlin's drive from ninth to the win in four laps was the paydirt. Don't ever again tell me short tracks don't belong in NASCAR. If you weren't excited about Martinsville you need your pulse checked.


We had heard some rumblings last year of Mike Bruno possibly coming back to ACT a little bit in 2010, and Saturday's open practice at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., confirmed that for us. The Bomoseen racer was behind the wheel of Jacob McGrath's #72 car, joining Jamie Fisher in his familiar S.D. Ireland #18. (Click here for a photo of the two in action on the Champlain Valley Racing Association website.)

Bruno told us that he, McGrath, and Barney McRae have put a team together to run a handful of events, beginning with ACT's first-ever trip to Malta in April, and the special 100-lap Late Model event at Devil's Bowl in West Haven on May 23. He also said he may run the car once or twice on Thursday nights at Thunder Road.

Bruno plans to race his dirt-style Modified full-time at both Albany-Saratoga and Devil's Bowl, and will bring the car to Airborne Speedway for the big events.

"I want to get back to racing ACT within the next two or three years," Bruno said. "I had been trying to get a ride for this season, but when the CVRA paved both Malta and the Bowl, I figured I'd race my Modified here in my own back yard at my two home tracks. The deal with Jacob is going to be good -- he's going to work for me this summer on the Modified, and I'm going to help him with the Late Model. He'll drive it a few times and I'll drive it a few times."

Bruno said the the thing he looks forward to most about the partnership with McGrath is having a crew chief in McRae.

"Barney's a funny guy and people joke about him sometimes, but the truth is he really knows everything about these cars," Bruno said. "Having him at Malta was great. It was really nice for me to be able to get in the seat and just be a driver, rather than have to think about what the chassis needs, or this or that. I'm happy we've got him to help us out."


THIS WEEKEND: Seventeen year-old Steven Legendre of Danville takes on Maine powerhouses Ben Rowe and Johnny Clark, NASCAR's David Ragan, and the stars of the PASS South Super Late Models for the Easter Bunny 150 at the legendary Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Saturday. The race is Round #2 of five in the PASS National Championship.

Legendre finished third in his last outing at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway on March 13, and was 6th in the PASS National opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in January. He sits fourth in National points. Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, N.H., won at New Smyrna and leads the National standings, followed by Clark, New Brunswick's Lonnie Sommerville, Legendre, and Preston Peltier of North Carolina. Strong, Me.'s Dale Brackett sits seventh with Rowe in eighth.

VMM's favorite sandwich man, "Subway Dave" Parker will be at Hickory, and we'll have periodic updates as they are available on our Twitter page. Yup, I said it again. Twitter. #justdoit

Closer to home, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is holding an open house on Saturday and offering fans a chance to drive their own cars around the 1.058-mile speedway in the FANtasy DRIVE. Many racing oragnizations will be taking part in displays and fan-friendly promotions including the American-Canadian Tour with drivers John Donahue and Brent Dragon (that oughta be fun... Milk Bowl memories anyone?), Thunder Road's Nick Sweet, and Lee USA Speedway's Wayne Helliwell, Jr. Legendary media men Ken Squier and Dr. Dick Berggren will also be on hand for a fan Q&A session. Visit for more details.

(PHOTOS: 1. Waterford's Street Stocks were fantastic; 2. Keith Rocco (#57) got this much of a jump more than a couple times; 3. Mike Bruno's gonna be busy this year. All photos by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

Legendre Ready for Hickory, Eyes PASS South and National Series

HICKORY, N.C. -- Steven Legendre is quickly making his mark on the southern Super Late Model scene. After his first two starts in 2010, the 17 year-old Danville High School student is proving himself to be a contender in the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model ranks against northern stars Ben Rowe, Johnny Clark, and Brad Leighton, and southern shoes Jeff Choquette, Preston Peltier, and Jay Fogleman.

Despite their home base in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Legendre and his crew chief-father, Kendell, have decided to tackle the PASS South schedule, running at tracks in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee. Steven is also chasing the five-race PASS National Championship from Maine to Florida, and will run a pair of PASS North events at his home track, White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H.

Legendre heads to North Carolina this week for Saturday's Easter Bunny 150 at the legendary Hickory Motor Speedway, a race that counts for both South and National points. In his two previous starts this year, Legendre drove from 20th to finish sixth in the National opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and 18th-to-third in the South lid-lifter at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway.

"Hopefully we can keep it going," Legendre says. "I've never been to Hickory. I guess it's pretty bumpy, sort of like Unity [Raceway in Maine]."

While Hickory and Unity may be rough, Legendre has been nothing but smooth since he first strapped in. He won more than a dozen times in White Mountain's youth division, took a win in only six Strictly Stock starts, and was a two-time Late Model winner and the Rookie of the Year in 2008. He posted a respectable three top-tens in his first PASS North season last year, and has aligned himself with Fogleman's Shark Racing Development for 2010. He's also the lead driver for Ford Racing's Detroit-based PASS crate engine program.

The teenager finds himself fourth in the PASS National Championship standings, third in PASS South, and potentially looking at a season's worth of headlines.

"We had a good run at Dillon and New Smyrna," Legendre said. "We're doing things a little differently, but it's working. Down south, everybody runs Hamke chassis and Chevrolet engines, but we've got a Jody Lavender chassis and a Ford. I haven't been to most of the tracks we're racing on this year, but we've made it work so far. We've had a lot of help from Jody Lavender, Jay Fogleman, and Mike Delahanty from Ford Racing."

Legendre said he wants to finish in the top-five in PASS South standings, but thinks he has an even better chance at doing well in the National points. Two of the National races are at Thompson, Conn., and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Me., with the finale at Newport, Tennessee. Luckily for Legendre, the South schedule goes to Newport two months before the National event and he'll be able to get some good notes for his return.

"It was important to get a good start at New Smyrna. Since the National thing is only five races, one bad race will hurt you a lot," he said. "My first top-ten last year was at Thompson, and I was running second in the 300 at Beech Ridge before we had a tire problem. We're already planning on doing all the southern races anyway, so it's not like it's going to be a problem for us to get there.

"We're off to a good start. If we have one bad week we'll have a hard time playing catch-up, but I think if we can get through Hickory we'll be in good shape."

(PHOTO: Danville, Vt.'s Steven Legendre at Dillon Motor Speedway in South Carolina. Photo coutresy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gravco Janitorial to Present Twin State Modified Series

Series reborn at Bear Ridge, Big Daddy's, Canaan

BRADFORD -- The Twin State Modified Series is back for 2010 at Bradford's Bear Ridge Speedway, Canaan Dirt Speedway in Canaan, N.H., and the new Big Daddy's Speedbowl in Rumney, N.H. Gravco Janitorial Services of Barre, Vt., will sponsor the series for the Sportsman Modified division, newly aligned at the three dirt tracks by an alliance between promoters C.V. Elms, Dick Therrien, and Mike Rivers.

Each track will host a pair of 40-lap events, with a $400 bonus for the Twin State Series champion. The runner-up will receive $250, third place $150, fourth place $125, and fifth place $100.

"This was a great series a few years ago, one that the race teams looked forward to," said Bear Ridge promoter Elms. "This new opportunity will allow teams to experience the excitement of racing at all three tracks for the series championship."

"This Series always provided top notch racing," said Brent Graves of Gravco Janitorial Services. "With this economy, the extra money in purses and the solid point fund will be very attractive to many race teams."

Dates for the six Gravco Janitorial Services Twin State Modified Series events will be announced soon.

Stremme to Continue With Latitude 43 at Phoenix

Owner Jenkins encouraged despite Martinsville adversity

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Bill Jenkins of Vermont-based Latitude 43 Motorsports confirmed to Vermont Motorsports Magazine on Tuesday morning that driver David Stremme will continue to drive the #26 Ford at Phoenix International Raceway on April 10. The Subway Fresh Fit 600 will be Stremme's third-straight race with Latitude 43.

Following Boris Said in the first four races of the year, Stremme raced the Air National Guard car for the team at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21 and at Martinsville Speedway on Monday. After getting caught in a lap-170 crash that forced the team to replace the car's radiator, Stremme retired from Martinsville in 37th place with a broken rear gear. Despite the bad finish, Jenkins was impressed with his driver.

"I couldn't be more happy with David," said Jenkins. "He ran as fast as anyone in the field, even with a damaged car. There was no qutting in him, even though the race didn't go that well for us." Jenkins said that Stremme is going to pilot the car at Phoenix, but that Said remains with team: "We're excited for David to race at Phoenix, but Boris is still a very important part of this team. We'll take it one race at a time."

First-year owner Jenkins said that he wasn't happy to have a wrecked race car at Martinsville, but was thrilled with his team's performance under pressure, led by crew chief Frank Stoddard of North Haverhill, N.H.

"Watching Frankie Stoddard and his crew repair the car was a marvel to behold," said Jenkins. "They got the radiator changed and fixed everything else from the crash in about 35 laps, which isn't a lot of time at Martinsville. Nobody quits on this team, they all did an incredible job.

"In building a new team in any sport -- racing, football, whatever -- it doesn't matter how you act in victory, it's how you come together when you're challenged. I learned a lot about the young men on this team after that incident yesterday. There was no give-up in the garage, the pit stops were great all day, and everyone worked well together."

Latitude 43 now ranks 38th in Sprint Cup Series owner points and will have to qualify on speed at Phoenix without the benefit of a provisional starting position. Jenkins doesn't see it as a reason to worry.

"[Monday's race] was a true test to see what this team is made of, and I couldn't ask for more than what they gave," he said. "I'm very proud to know these guys."

(Photo courtesy Latitude 43 Motorsports Facebook page)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Goodyear Tire Gets Positive Reviews From Waterford Late Models

Budweiser Blastoff 100 coverage presented by "Fifty Years of Excitement"

WATERFORD, Conn. -- The Waterford Speedbowl Late Model division underwent a big change at the 2010 season opener on Sunday -- not in Tim Jordan winning the 50-lap feature, but rather in the tires that carried him to victory lane. For the first time in a weekly NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model race at the Connecticut track, the winner's car sported Goodyear tires.

Waterford Speedbowl changed from a Hoosier tires to the Goodyear D2672 and D2882 tires developed and used by the American-Canadian Tour. The Goodyear tire is built from a harder compound than the Hoosier and is therefore a bit more of a challenge to make handle, but should be a more predictable tire and will likely last longer.

Sunday's weather was nothing short of deplorable -- overcast and windy with temperatures in the low 40s to high 30s -- making the tire even harder to control. The race was marred by many spins and accidents, but still Jordan says the change was the right one to make.

"I think they're going to work, I just think it's a little cold. It's 39 degrees out, but guys have never really raced on [the Goodyears]," said the Plainfield, Conn., driver. "I have some experience with Tour racing with them so I kind of knew what to expect. I knew the car would probably get free on exit. Overall I think it's a great deal."

Jordan has been successful racing against the ACT Late Model Tour at his home track, finishing fifth last year at Waterford as well as testing and racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on the Goodyear tire. He won the 2006 Waterford championship and a total of 18 features on the Hoosier.

Hope Valley, R.I., driver Rich Staskowski was the Waterford championship runner-up last year, and had only raced once on the Goodyear tire in an ACT event in 2008. He finished fourth on Sunday and says he favors the Goodyear.

"I like the Goodyears a lot better than the Hoosiers," he said. In this cold weather they're really tough to get some heat and keep the heat into them, on the restarts they're really slick, but I like them. I think they're going to be a better tire for us and they're going to last longer. The Hoosiers really had a lot of weak sidewalls. I think they're going to be good."

Staskowski said he may attempt some ACT events in 2010 and that running the Goodyear tire every week will help Waterford teams prepare better for ACT events.

"I'd love to do some Tour racing this year. My finances might stop me, but I'm going to try to hit a couple races," he said. "[Running the Goodyear is] definitely going to help me prepare better against the Tour because that's what they run. We have to run what they run to be able to compete with them guys. When we put them on [in the past] we were behind the eight-ball from that moment until we actually got these things dialed in. I think it's a good move for Waterford Speedbowl to switch over to these Goodyears so all of these ACT guys can't have an unfair advantage when they come here."

Jordan is confident that his competitors will catch up to him soon.

"Really, I'm happy with the tire. I'm happy with their performance, they're consistent, they're great, but just a little slick," he said. "They're harder than the Hoosiers we ran on and it's going to take a couple of weeks for everybody to get used to it. I think you saw a lot of accidents that you would not have normally seen because people aren't used to them. That's racing I guess, when they change something on you, you've just got to adapt, and I guess we adapted the best.

"We've got experience on them. Whoever has the most experience usually gets it done, so we got lucky that we have experience on the Goodyear."

(PHOTOS: 1. Tim Jordan won the first Waterford Speedbowl Late Model race run on Goodyear tires; 2. A crew member for Rich Staskowski takes a measurement of the new Goodyear tires. Photos by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

PHOTOS: Budweiser Blastoff 100

Presented by "Fifty Years of Excitement"

Budweiser Blastoff 100

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Coby Starts Short Season Off on Right Foot at Waterford

Budweiser Blastoff 100 coverage presented by "Fifty Years of Excitement"

WATERFORD, Conn. -- Doug Coby probably wishes the Modified Racing raced at Waterford Speedbowl every week. Coby, of Milford, Conn., is now a perfect two-for-two in MRS events at the track, winning Sunday's Budweiser Blastoff 100. Coby, who has only five races scheduled for 2010, held off another Waterford powerhouse in Rowan Pennink for the win.

Pennink came from 25th starting spot -- last -- to race on Coby's back bumper with ten laps remaining, but mysteriously went to the pits during a caution period on lap 90. Coby contends that although Pennink was strong, his own car was better.

"Rowan's got a good car, and we're the last two winners here (in MRS events)," said Coby. "I was just trying to hold the bottom. I figured there was so much junk on the track (from the race's many wrecks) that he couldn't really go up, and I figured if he went up top I would try to make my car a little wider. I know Rowan had a good car, but we had the car to beat."

Pennink, who had to change engines on Sunday morning, said he was unsure what the problem was that made his car shut down on lap 90, but his car had enough to get by Coby before then.

"We had an awesome car and got right up to the front pretty quick. The car was working awesome on the outside," said the Huntington Valley, Pa., driver. "I had him. I know I would have got him on the outside for the win."

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., inherited second place after Pennink pit, and held off defending MRS champion Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass., for the runner-up spot. Andy Seuss of Hampstead, N.H., was fourth with Sanford, Me., sophomore Jacob Dore fifth. The unofficial top ten was completed by Les Hinckley, Eric Goodale, Steve Masse, Dave Etheridge, and Pennink, who returned and finished as the last driver on the lead lap.

Ascutney rookie Joey Jarvis finished eleventh, one lap down.

Modified Racing Series Welcomes a New Jarvis

Budweiser Blastoff 100 coverage presented by "Fifty Years of Excitement"

WATERFORD, Conn. -- The Modified Racing Series has seen plenty of stars in its six-year tenure, among them the Jarvis brothers of Ascutney. Dwight was the 2006 champion of the series, and is among the most successful Vermonters to ever wheel a stock car with another 18 track championships in his hip pocket. His brother, Peter, was the 2007 MRS Rookie of the Year, and has won races from New England to Florida.

But as the Jarvis brothers enter the twilight of their careers, the next generation is ready to step in. At just 18 years old, Joey Jarvis, Peter's son, enters his first full season in the Modified Racing Series.

"We just want to make it in to all the races," Joey says. But don't let him fool you into thinking he's not comfortable behind the wheel. In his first season of Modified racing at Twin State Speedway in Claremont, N.H., last year, he lost the championship by just a single point. The year before that, he took podium finishes in all 18 of his starts to stroll to the track's Strictly Stock championship. Before that, he dominated youth divisions at Twin State and Canaan.

And the car he's driving this year? It's the Wally Albro-owned #9NH formerly driven by -- who else? -- Peter Jarvis.

"It's a good car, and it's getting better and better," said Joey, a very accomplished saxophonist and guitarist. "I think we should be good this season, but I just want to learn." In his three starts with the Modified Racing Series last season, Jarvis showed that the learning curve may be a sort one; he registered a seventh-place finish at Lee USA Speedway to end the year, and was impressive to begin 2010 at Waterford Speedbowl on Sunday.

While running in sixth place on lap 76 and catching the leaders, Jarvis ran out of fuel under caution. He lost one lap while in the pits, but rallied to finish 11th.

"I think we proved the underdogs are here," he said after the race. "We didn't get much to show for how we ran, but if we hadn't run out of gas I think we would have been right up there with the leaders."

With the impressions he's made already, and the pedigree his racing family gave him, Joey Jarvis likely won't have long before he is the leader.

Hey, wanna win some stuff?

We're giving away a few copies of "Fifty Years of Excitement" today on our Twitter page! Answer some trivia questions and you could win! We're at

Not signed up? Go to and follow the instructions. It's fast, easy, fun, and you can follow our live in-race updates from the Modified Racing Series Budweiser Blastoff 100 at Waterford Speedbowl!

BLASTOFF: Follow us today on Twitter!

Vermont Motorsports Magazine is getting its 2010 racing season started today with the Modified Racing Series Budweiser Blastoff 100 at Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut!

We will have live updates throughout the day here at the VMM main page, on our Facebook group, and on our Twitter page -- Follow us today (and every day!) at, or go to Twitter and search "#BudBlastoff100".

VMM coverage of the Budweiser Blastoff 100 is presented by "Fifty Years of Excitement" -- Get your copy of the Thunder Road 50th Anniversary book for just $10! For more information, click here:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Joey Polewarczyk: Greenville-Pickens Speedway K&N Pro Series East Race Preview

(Joey Pole Racing team release)

Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, N.H. will make his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday, March 27. Polewarczyk tested with Fadden Racing at Greenville-Pickens on March 2.

WHO: Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H.
TEAM: No. 16 Fadden Racing Chevrolet

WHAT: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150
WHERE: Greenville Pickens Speedway, Greenville, S.C. (.500-mile oval)
WHEN: 8 p.m., Saturday, March 27



"We spent a lot of time working on the car. It's a tough little track. We were decent when we got there, but we worked and worked and worked all day, from 10 in the morning until 6 at night. I really got to watch the crew work on the car and see how the process worked. Being part of that definitely made me more comfortable."I probably did close to 200 laps at Greenville, and just to get that seat time is important."


"My personal goal is to qualify well. The way the track looks, qualifying is very important there. If you start up front, you're going to get away from crashes and everything that's bound to happen throughout the race."My personal goal is a top-10 finish. The car is definitely capable of more, but for me to go there and get a good top-10 finish would be awesome."


"I definitely felt better after. I haven't had a lot of time in these kind of cars at a track where I was comfortable. I love Loudon -- don't get me wrong -- but it's not something I'm used to. I'm used to the ACT Tour and the smaller tracks we run on there."(The short tracks) were a lot more what I'm used to."


"Joey is a very talented driver and we're excited to be giving him the chance to show that at this level. Joey came and tested with us earlier this month and he showed he could get the job done. We're pretty confident heading into this race."

Stremme Back in Latitude 43 Car at Martinvsille

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- An updated entry list on late Thursday morning places driver David Stremme in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series #26 Air National Guard Ford for Vermont-based Latitude 43 Motorsports, for Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Stremme finished 24th in his debut for the team at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend, registering Latitude 43's best finish of the season. Boris Said drove the car at Daytona, Auto Club, Las Vegas, and Atlanta to begin the season and was listed as the driver of the #26 car for Martinsville until Thursday.

Latitude 43 Motorsports enters Martinsville 37th in owner points, trailing the 35th-place Front Row Motorsports #37 team by 12 points and the 36th-place Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 team by nine points; only the top-35 cars earn guaranteed starting spots in the 43-car field.

Stremme has six career NSCS starts at the .526-mile Martinsville with a best finish of 15th in 2006; Said has never raced on a short track in the Sprint Cup division.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dirt Track Promoters Unite in Vermont, New Hampshire

Bear Ridge, Canaan, Big Daddy's adopt universal Sportsman Modified rules

RUTLAND -- A Sunday meeting between the promoters of Northern New England's most prominent dirt tracks will be a boon for racers throughout the region in 2010. The summit bewteen C.V. Elms of Bradford's Bear Ridge Speedway, Canaan (N.H.) Dirt Speedway promoter Dick Therrien, and Mike Rivers of the new Big Daddy's Speedbowl in Rumney, N.H., produced a rulebook that will allow cars in the tracks' headline divisions -- the Sportsman Modifieds -- to compete under a rulebook that includes a universal tire, and common crate and non-crate engine packages.

"We all made concessions in best interest of the sport and especially the race teams," Therrien said in a press release on the Canaan Dirt Speedway website. "We have been working so hard to put this package together. I am proud of all of us that have been involved. We have really done something great for the sport, for our fans, and our racers." Therrien, a Lyndonville native who has worked at White Mountain Motorsports Park and Riverside Speedway, is in his first year operating both the dirt and asphalt tracks at the Canaan Fairgrounds.

"It took a lot of work, but I can proudly say that I walked away from the table feeling pretty good about what we accomplished," said Elms, a third-generation racer and promoter.

"My goal from the start was to have all three tracks working in unison," said first-time promoter Rivers, who renamed and redesigned the track recently known as Rattlesnake Motordrome and Legion Speedway following the 2009 season. "This rules package will certainly go a long way towards making this work. I’m very proud to be a part of this group. Now, we have to keep the communication lines open, and if that happens, it will be a great season."

The common rulebook gives teams the option to race Friday nights at Canaan, Saturdays at Bear Ridge, and Sundays at Big Daddy's.

Maine Driver Brackett to Make Truck Debut at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Dale Brackett has some lofty goals for the 2010 season, not the least of which include his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. The Strong, Me., driver will race in equipment purchased from Tim Bainey, Jr.

Brackett made his Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model debut at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in January, finishing in 12th place. He plans to contest the full five-race PASS National Championship schedule and attempt seven NCWTS events, beginning with Martinsville's Kroger 250.

"I haven't raced much up north since 2006, but I raced a lot up here before I went into the military," said Brackett en route to Virginia. "While I was stationed in North Carolina I raced on dirt and asphalt at places like Clary's Speedway, Orange County, and Wake County." Brackett has made occasional appearances in long-distance events at Unity (Me.) Raceway from 2007-09, and also raced with the former PASS Outlaw series in 2005.

"We came back this year full-bore," he said of his NCWTS and PASS plans. "We're ready to go."

Brackett, slated to drive the #06 Chevrolet, is one of nine drivers scheduled to make their NASCAR Truck debut at Martinsville, including former American-Canadian Tour winner D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas, Ontario.

(Photo courtesy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Juice: Spring is in the Air (And some rubber, too!)

-by Justin St. Louis

Well, here we are. The racing season begins this weekend at Waterford Speedbowl on the Connecticut coastline, which means it's time to start writing a weekly "Juice" again. As far as we're concerned, it's awesome. The snow is gone, the fields are flooded, and the smell of burning rubber is soon to fill the air.

The Modified Racing Series opens its seventh season at the Budweiser Blastoff 100 on Sunday with new entitlement sponsorship from, and don't be surprised if it's one of the more exciting races the series has thrown off. Among the race's 32 entrants are former MRS champions Dwight Jarvis of Ascutney, Chris Pasteryak, and defending titlist Jon McKennedy. But add in seven-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champ Mike Stefanik, Race of Champions Tour king Matt Hirschman, and hotshots Doug Coby and Rowan Pennink, and it's shaping up to be a solid show.

And by the way, those 32 drivers? Their entry fees have been paid by Bob Valenti Auto Mall. Talk about a sponsor that's in it for the drivers, we give a thumbs-up to the Valenti gang. Click here for a schedule of the weekend's events.


OMG -- Did you see this extraordinary find by our good friend Jeremy Carpenter?

In case you don't know, the Kalomiris fellow in the video is the schlub that brought Thunder Road to the brink of extinction in 1978. Too bad we couldn't find this during the writing of "Fifty Years of Excitement" last summer.


We caught up with Phil Scott recently, and he comfirmed to us what many hoped he would: Expect him to challenge for his fourth Thunder Road track championship in 2010.

The Washington County Senator is running for the seat of Lieutenant Governor of Vermont this year, and was rumored to be taking some time off from racing to focus on his political career, if not hanging up his helmet altogether. Scott says that running every Thursday night at Thunder Road is the farthest thing from being a hinderence to his campaign schedule.

"It is absolutely part of my campaign," he said. "Running [the ACT Late Model Tour] out of state isn't something I have time for, but Thunder Road is close to home and is important to the campaign." Thunder Road was a key part of Scott's December speech announcing his candidacy for the 2010 election.

Scott was first voted to the State Senate in 2000, due largely to his popularity and success as a stock car driver. Scott was the Thunder Road track champion in 1996, 1998, and 2002, and the runner-up in each of the last two seasons. He also swept the ACT Late Model Tour and Airborne Speedway championships in 2002, and is third on Thunder Road's all-time winners list with 25 victories.


If there's a guy that deserves a break, it's Jimmy "Scruffy" Linardy. Short track racing has never had a friendlier group of people than the one Linardy brings to the pits, and Scruffy himself is one of the all-time characters of the sport. Linardy owns and operates a busy, heavy duty towing company near Boston, and works hard to get his race cars to the track when he has any sort of precious free time.

When he does get to the track, he's more often than not one of the cars out back, qualifying for -- by our best count -- four career ACT Late Model Tour races in six years. But he's always got a smile on his face, a handshake and a pat on the back for anyone who stops in to say hello, and he's thankful for the opportunity to even be in the pits.

In 2007, Scruffy and I were having a conversation with ACT boss Tom Curley. "We're just hoping to get into a couple this year," he said with a bit of a giggle. It was, without question, the most shining example of a racer just being there for the fun of it that I've ever witnessed. It took all year, but he reached his goal of "a couple": he raced in the Spring Green at Airborne (when only 25 cars showed up and everyone qualified), and again in the season finale at Oxford. Half of his career starts in one season, leaving just two more to spread out over five more years. And he keeps coming back. He also races most of the events at Lee USA and Waterford during the year, simply because he loves to drive race cars.

Linardy and his wife, Cindy, lost their son, 24 year-old James E. Linardy, Jr. -- "T.J." -- last week. And this follows the passing of Linardy's parents, just 11 weeks apart, in 2008.

If we're pulling for anyone this year, it's Scruffy. Hang in there, buddy.


We'll thank Bill Jenkins now for giving us a reason to turn the television on on Sundays. It's fun to root for the Latitude 43 Motorsports car, because it's one of our own racing at the highest level of stock car racing.

Vermonters will need to root a little harder than usual for Boris Said when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to tiny Martinsville Speedway this weekend, as Jenkins' #26 car is 37th in owners points and will have to qualify for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 in time trials without the benefit of a top-35 provisional.

Short track specialist David Stremme took control of the car at Bristol last weekend -- with a tribute paint scheme honoring the Air National Guard -- and brought Latitude 43 its best finish in 24th place. Mike Bliss and the Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 team entered the race tied for 35th place with the Front Row Motorsports #37 usually driven by rookie Kevin Conway, with the Jenkins car 24 points behind.

Fortunately for Jenkins, Bliss failed to qualify. Unfotunately for Jenkins, however, Conway finished 28th, and Robby Gordon's #7 finished 22nd -- each a season-best result. While TBR #36 dropped to 38th place, FRM #37 held on to 35th and Gordon passed Jenkins to take over 36th. Latitude 43 cut the defecit in half to just 12 points behind 35th place and the coveted "locked-in" spot for Martinsville, but alas, is still a "go-or-go-homer" this weekend. (Note that Conway and David Gilliland have swapped their #37 and #38 rides, respectively, for FRM this weekend; the #38 car ranks 32nd in standings and will be safely in the field. Conway has never raced at Martinsville, while Gilliland has seven Sprint Cup starts there and is a likely bet to get the #37 qualified on time.)

With road course ace Said back in the Latitude 43 car at Martinsville, the pressure is certainly on. Boris finished 18th in his only career Nationwide Series start at the track in 2006, and qualified fifth for a Camping World Truck Series event there in 1998.

Here's the tale of the tape for Martinsville:

Sam Hornish, Jr./Penske Racing #77 Dodge -- 33rd in owner points (392 points)
4 NSCS starts at Martinsville
Avg. Fin.: 33.0
Best Fin.: 28th, 2008 Goody's Cool Orange 500
Last Martinsville NSCS race: 36th, 2009 Tums Fast Relief 500
Note: Finished 9th at Martinsville in only career NCWTS start

Travis Kvapil/Front Row Motorsports #34 Ford -- 34th in owner points (374 points)
8 NSCS starts at Martinsville
Avg. Fin.: 27.9
Best Fin.: 18th, 2008 Goody's Cool Orange 500
Last Martinsville NSCS race: 43rd, 2009 Tums Fast Relief 500
Note: 12.3 avg. fin. in 9 NCWTS starts at Martinsville

David Gilliland/Front Row Motorsports #37 Ford -- 35th in owner points (355 points)
7 NSCS starts at Martinsville
Avg. Fin.: 31.9
Best Fin.: 24th, 2008 Goody's Cool Orange 500
Last Martinsville NSCS race: 39th, 2009 Tums Fast Relief 500
Note: 16 of 23 career K&N Pro Series West Top 10s came at short tracks

Robby Gordon/Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 Toyota -- 36th in owner points (346 points)
19 NSCS starts at Martinsville
Avg. Fin.: 34.6
Best Fin.: 20th, 2005 Advance Auto Parts 500
Last Martinsville NSCS race: 37th, 2009 Tums Fast Relief 500
Note: Former NNS short track winner at Richmond

Boris Said/Latitude 43 Motorsports #26 Ford -- 37th in owner points (343 points)
3 combined NNS/NCWTS starts at Martinsville
Avg. Fin.: 24.3
Best Fin.: 18th, 2006 Goody's 250 (NNS)
Making first Martinsville NSCS attempt Sunday
Note: Qualified 5th in NCWTS event at Martinsville in 1998

Mike Bliss/Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 Chevrolet -- 38th in owner points (307 points)
9 NSCS starts at Martinsville
Avg. Fin.: 31.1
Best Fin.: 14th, 2002 Old Dominion 500
Last Martinsville NSCS race: 39th, 2008 Tums QuikPak 500
Note: 6 Top 10s in 11 NCWTS starts at Martinsville

(PHOTOS: 1. The Modified Racing Series gets after it at Waterford on Sunday; 2. Senator Scott (left) shares a laugh with Governor Jim Douglas (right) at Thunder Road last June; 3. Scruffy Linardy at Oxford, Me., last October. All photos by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bellerose, Laquerre Reunite for Thunder Road Title Run

The woman that became the face of short track racing at the turn of the millenium is back at Thunder Road.

Tracie Bellerose of Gorham, N.H., the first woman to win a premier division track championship in the United States -- the 2000 Late Model crown at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl -- will again team up with the crew chief that brought her so much success, East Montpelier's Jeff Laquerre. Together, Bellerose and Laquerre won six feature events from 2000-03, including three ACT Late Model Tour events at Thunder Road and White Mountain Motorsports Park in New Hampshire.

Bellerose was sidelined by a serious arm injury in the 2003 Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl at the track, and has made only sporadic appearances behind the wheel since. Laquerre is coming off his fifth career championship with Milton driver Jean-Paul Cyr in 2009; he also won titles with his brother, the late Joey Laquerre, Jr., in 1990, and Cris Michaud in 2004-05. Cyr, a seven-time ACT champion, will return to that series with car owner Gary Caron.

Bellerose announced her return in a Thunder Road press release on Thursday. "When the opportunity came calling, this kid knew exactly what she wanted and that was to go back to racing competitively," Bellerose said. "I tried golf, but the golf carts were too slow, I then bought a Harley, but wrecking that on the highway was way worse than a couple of memorable wrecks I had at Thunder Road. Quite frankly, I have not even been able to visit Thunder Road as a spectator -- I have missed racing so much. Obviously, I am pretty excited."

"This is really special for the 2010 season at Thunder Road," said promoter Tom Curley. "Tracie was one of the most popular, respectful, and competitive racers we have ever had at the 'Nation’s Site of Excitement'. The combination of Jeff Laquerre and Tracie, with the team they assembled in 2000 coming back together, will not only bring a high level of competition, but they will bring a great spirit to the track. That is what the 'Road' is all about." Curley said that Bellerose is also interested in racing the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains (Me.) Speedway in July.

The Bellerose-Laquerre team has secured sponsorship from long-time Bellerose supporter Amoskeag Beverage Distributor of New Hampshire, and Scorpio's Sports Bar in Lancaster, N.H. The team will begin their season when the American-Canadian Tour comes to Thunder Road for the 12th Annual Merchants Bank 150 on May 2.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Stremme, Latitude 43 to Carry Air National Guard Tribute Scheme at Bristol

(From team press release)

NASCAR Sprint Cup series owner Bill Jenkins of Latitude 43 Motorsports announced today that his team will be campaining the colors of the Air National Guard as a tribute to the men and women serving our country.

The Latitude 43 Motorsports #26 Ford and driver David Stremme will pay tribute to the Air National Guard at the Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on March 21; the race will be nationally televised on FOX at 1:00pm.

Jenkins, along with Stremme, crew chief Frank Stoddard, and primary Latitude 43 Motorsports driver Boris Said, are very pleased that the #26 team can pay tribute to the valiant airmen of the Air Guard.

Latitude 43 Motorsports has also announced a brand-new team website on Wednesday. For more information, visit

Monday, March 15, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Stremme in Latitude 43 Car at Bristol

Driver change comes at Said's urging

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Vermont-based Latitude 43 Motorsports will see its first-ever driver change as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. David Stremme, a veteran of 108 NSCS starts, will take over for Boris Said at the controls of the #26 Ford for Latitude 43 at the Food City 500.

The Food City 500 is the fifth race of the season, and Jenkins sits 37th in owner points, just 24 points out of 35th place; after Bristol, all cars outside the top-35 will have to qualify on speed during time trials without the benefit of a provisional.

South Bend, Ind., native Stremme, an accomplished short track racer, has been tabbed to drive the car at the treacherous Bristol half-mile. The change, says Jenkins, was Said's idea.

"Boris came to me last week and said he thought we needed a different driver for Bristol," Jenkins told Vermont Motorsports Magazine. "Boris is as big a part of this team as anyone, and I can't thank him enough for his willingness to help the whole program. We need to put all of our chips on the table at Bristol, and we need to come out of there strong and inside the top-35. Boris thought putting Stremme in the car was the right move, and I stand behind his decision."

Stremme, who has been idle in NASCAR's three national series since being released from Penske Racing's #12 NSCS Dodge last November, has an average finish of 22.8 in six NSCS starts at Bristol, and his most recent top-five finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series came at the track in 2008.

Said has a best finish of 25th in the season-opening Daytona 500. In 39 career Sprint Cup starts, Said has only raced once at a track shorter than 1.5 miles in length, at Loudon, N.H., in 2007.

Airborne Adds New Sportsman Event to 2010 Schedule

(From Airborne Speedway press release)

Plattsburgh, N.Y. – Airborne Speedway’s J&S Steel Sportsmen will compete in a unique 80-lap event comprised of four 20-lap segments, each paying $250 to win, on Saturday, August 14.

“We’ll set the initial line-up by draw and invert the field for each segment,” promoter Mike Perrotte said. “The overall winner will be determined by adding up everyone’s finish in each segment. The driver with the lowest score earns an extra $250.”

Plattsburgh Distributing, Buck Paper Supply and Agency Insurance present the Sportsman 4-20’s, which could be a pivotal race in the 2010 track championship battle. Bucko Branham of Plattsburgh is the defending Sportsman champion and begins a three-peat bid at Airborne’s 58th season opener Saturday, May 1. Branham edged out his nephew, Robin Wood, by 11 points for his second straight title after posting three wins and 12 top-10 finishes.

Wood, a seven-time winner in 2009 who has never claimed the track championship, vowed that winning races remains his top priority. “I’ve had fun and survived 19 years of racing without a championship so far, so I could manage to get by without one for another year if I have to,” he said. “Last year I got out ahead of Bucko in some races and when we raced together for positions I could hold my own. You just race to win and hope the points will add up at the end.”

Ganienkeh Territorial Bingo, Rent-A-Wreck, Daniel’s Signs and Melissa’s Barber Shop of Plattsburgh sponsor Wood’s No. 61.

“Everything’s new on my car except for the chassis,” Branham said. “We’ve purchased a new spec motor and have Bud Lite as our new sponsor.” Casey St. Clair and John LaFountain return as crewmembers.

Airborne’s opening day headline event is the Econo Lodge 50 for the Ernie’s Discount Tools DIRTcar Modifieds. Saturday, May 8, Airborne hosts the 36th Spring Green 100 for American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models sponsored by Furniture World of VT and Soleil Lumber. For additional information, visit

Bear Ridge Speedway Readies for New Year

(From Bear Ridge Speedway press release)

Bear Ridge Speedway is undergoing its annual spring cleaning in preparation for opening day on Saturday, May 15. The VIP tower, pizza booth, scorers tower, and novelty booth will be ready for opening day with the finishing touches being worked on as the spring weather returns. Fresh paint will be applied at the beginning of the season to many surfaces, including the backstretch wall and buildings throughout the compound. Employees, competitors, and fans are showing up to help get as much done as possible before the doors officially swing open on 2010, the 43rd consecutive racing season at the Ridge.

Upcoming car shows are scheduled for Rutland, Vt., on March 19-21, Hanover, N.H., on March 26-28, and Bradford, Vt., on May 8 for the annual Bear Ridge Speedway car show crowning the three best-looking cars in each division. Following the car show on May 8 will be an afternoon practice session at the Ridge, with free grandstand general admission. A fee will be required to enter the pit area and/or to participate in the practice.

Opening night's "Thunder on the Ridge" sponsored by KDD NAPA of Bradford will include fireworks and double features for all five 99 ROCK Weekly Racing Series regular divisions: Bond Auto Sportsman Modifieds, Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupes, A Notch Above Automotive Limited Late Models, Journal Opinion Fast Fours, and the KDD NAPA of Bradford Hornets. General admission is $10 for adults (ages 17 to 61), $8 for seniors (62 and older) and teens (12 to 16), and $2 for children 11 and under. Mastercard and Visa will be accepted at both ticket gates. Season passes are available for general admission at $150.00 for adults, or $130 for seniors and teens. Be sure to check the Bear Ridge Speedway website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook regularly to check for specials.

Bear Ridge Speedway prides itself on continuing to offer the best source of good, inexpensive, high-quality entertainment for families. Bear Ridge Speedway is as an alcohol-free, family-friendly entertainment spot, with our goal to make each experience at the Ridge better than the last. Bear Ridge Speedway is located off Exit 16 on I-91, onto Route 25, west 1 mile to South Road, up the hill to Kidder Road. The green flag will wave every Saturday starting May 15 at 6:00pm. Be sure to check the web at Questions can be sent to

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Legendre 3rd in PASS South Opener at Dillon

DILLON, S.C. -- Steven Legendre just might be on to something. The 17 year-old from Danville finished third in the Pro All Stars Series South season opener, the South Carolina Clash 150 at Dillon Motor Speedway, on Saturday evening.

Legendre, in his sophomore season, has been strong in his two starts thus far in 2010; at the PASS National Championship season opener at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway in January, he finished sixth. The Danville High School basketball player is the lead driver for Ford Racing's new crate engine program in the PASS Super Late Model series.

"It was good, really good. Better than I expected," Legendre said by phone. "We started 18th, but we were just picking them off one by one."

Legendre's team had help directly from Ford at Dillon Motor Speedway, in the form of Ford Racing Sportsman Circle Track Program Manager Mike Delahanty. "Mike was here working with us [on Friday] and giving us some help," said Legendre. "The Ford is great. It makes really good power against the Chevys.

"I think it's going to be a good year."

Sixteen year-old Ryan Blaney, son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dave Blaney, notched his first career PASS South win, ahead of veteran racer Hal Goodson. Preston Peltier and Spencer Wauters completed the unofficial top five finishers.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS -- South Carolina Clash 150
PASS South -- Dillon Motor Speedway, Dillon, S.C.
Saturday, March 13, 2010

1. Ryan Blaney
2. Hal Goodson
3. Steven Legendre
4. Preston Peltier
5. Spencer Wauters
6. George Gorham
7. John Batten
8. Cooper Fassen
9. Tayla Orleans
10. Duane Linville
11. Heath Hindman
12. Kenzie Ruston
13. Trey Mitchell
14. Joe Heigl
15. Jay Fogleman
16. Andy Loden
17. Dana White
18. Justin Wakefield
19. Jimmy Weller
20. Devin Jones
21. Tim Nooner
22. Joey Coulter
23. Dylan Presnelly
24. Alex Fleming
25. Chris Bowers
26. Clay Jones
27. Chris Bohlman

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CONFIMRED: Polewarczyk To Race Six K&N Events For Fadden Racing

HUDSON, N.H. -- American-Canadian Tour star Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., has confirmed that he will team up with Fadden Racing to run the first six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races of the 2010 season. Shawn Courchesne of The Hartford Courant first reported the story on Tuesday evening.

"It's going to be a busy summer, for sure," Polewarczyk said. "I'm excited about it. It's going to be a lot of fun." The 20 year-old tested a Fadden Racing K&N Pro Series car for team owner Mike Olsen at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., and Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway last week, and ran one race for the team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last September. "I think it's a great opportunity," said the Hudson, N.H., driver. "Really, we're just doing what we can to help Mike out, and hopefully we can see what happens from there."

In addition to his new venture with Olsen, Polewarczyk will seek his first ACT Late Model Tour championship with Ford Racing. "I really want to focus on doing this ACT deal," Polewarczyk said. "If I do really well with Ford this year, there's no telling what kind of opportunities it could lead to with them.

"Every driver before the season starts wants to win the championship. I could have last year if we didn't slump in mid-season. Last season, mid-season was as bad as we could get, but it was our own fault. But last season also brought the team so much closer together. We fought through it, got better and it's going to be a good year for us."

Polewarczyk's K&N Pro Series East schedule will take him to Greenville-Pickens on March 27 and South Boston (Va.) Speedway on April 3 before the 14-race ACT season opens at his home track, Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway, on April 18. Polewarczyk's other confirmed K&N events will be at Iowa Speedway (May 23), Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (June 6), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 25), and Connecticut's Lime Rock Park road course on July 3.

Father-Son Whitcomb Racing Team Tackles Thunder Road

A look at the father-son team of Dave and Alex Whitcomb as they prepare for their first season racing Street Stocks together at Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre, VT. Filmed on site at the team's shop at the Morrisville-Stowe (VT) Airport. Produced by Justin St. Louis/Vermont Motorsports Magazine, ©2010.

Modified Racing Series Boasts Historic Registration Numbers

(From MRS press release)

CANAAN, N.H. -- The recently released roster of 65 race teams intending to compete with the Modified Racing Series in 2010 is the largest pre-season count in the seven-year history of the series. Competitors from all over the northeast are preparing for the new season and a strong car count is anticipated for the season opener at the "Budweiser Blastoff" weekend at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl on March 27-28.

"It is unbelievable when you think of it," said tour announcer John Spence. "We have always had respectable numbers going into a new campaign, but to have 65 teams saying they are going to give your series a try speaks volumes of where this tour is at. Those numbers are where you like to be going into your seventh season."

As the tour makes its way around New England on a 19-race schedule, fans can expect to see series favorites like defending champion, Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass., 2008 champion Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon, Conn., 2006 series champion Dwight Jarvis of Ascutney, and occasional appearances by three-time champion and all-time winner Kirk Alexander of Swanzey, N.H.

Twelve different drivers visited victory lane last season and all are returning in 2010. Joining the four champions will be New Hampshire racers Rob Goodenough and Andy Seuss, Doug Coby and Kenny Barry of Connecticut, Massachusetts drivers Stephen Masse and Jimmy Kuhn, Rowan Pennink of Huntington Valley, Pa., Rookie of the Year Jacob Dore of Sanford, Me., and Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I.; seven of those drivers claimed their first MRS checkered flag last season.

Many new names fill the roster coming from other sanctions, weekly programs, and outside the six-state New England region. New to the series this year will be NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y., and former NASCAR Busch North Series regular Bryon Chew, of Inlet, N.Y.

North Hanover, N.J., driver David Cranmer plans to spend his racing season in New England. "I'm looking forward to the full MRS schedule this year," said Cranmer. "This will be the first full season of tour racing for me. After Wall (N.J.) Stadium closed in 2008 we ventured south to the ASA Southern Modified Tour. I think the MRS is the best touring series that is still within reach for the grassroots racer."

Household names familiar to New England race fans will also debut this year. Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., will drive the Eddie Partridge entry in selected events, and former MRS winner Rob Summers of Vernon, Conn., also hopes to run as many shows as possible that do not conflict with his ISMA Supermodified schedule.

"Stormin" Norman Wrenn, of Nashua, N.H., a twenty-plus year veteran, moves to a full-blown modifieds after much success with the New England Pro4 Modified Series. Wrenn, also an accomplished pro-stock and super-late model racer, will run select events.

Series mainstays Les Hinckley, Jack Bateman, Jimmy Dolan, Mike Douglas, Jr., Eddy Spiers, Kevin Ianarelli, and Joe Doucette are all registered as well.

The Modified Racing Series will help Waterford Speedbowl kick off its 60th season. Teams will be afforded the opportunity to practice on Fri., March 26. For additional information log on to

Grenier Aims for ACT Tiger Sportsman Series Title

(From ACT press release)

American-Canadian Tour standout Chip Grenier of Graniteville will run the four-event ACT Bond Auto/WIX Tiger Sportsman Series for car owner Greg “Burger” Blake in 2010.

Grenier, the 2007 Thunder Road Late Model Rookie of the Year, is no stranger to the Sportsman car. During his eight years behind the wheel of a Tiger Sportsman at Thunder Road, Grenier earned 11 career victories and became a fan favorite of the Barre high banks. After running two years in Thunder Road Late Model competition, Grenier ran the full season on the 2009 ACT Late Model Tour, earning ninth place in the final point standings and the ACT Sportsmanship Award.

Grenier will be filling the seat of the Blake-owned #99, which was wheeled to ninth place in the final Thunder Road Tiger Sportsman point standings by 18 year-old Cody Blake last year. Cody will run for Rookie of the Year honors in the Thunder Road Late Model division this season.

Grenier and Blake are currently finishing up preparations for the 2010 season after going over the entire car and installing a brand new crate engine from RPM Racing Engines. The team has high expectations and will be considered contenders for the championship. The Bond Auto/WIX Tiger Sportsman Series season opener is Sat., June 5 at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H.

(PHOTO: Chip Grenier returns to his Tiger Sportsman roots in 2010. Photo by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Devil’s Bowl Speedway Begins a New Era in 2010

(From CVRA press release)

WEST HAVEN – Presenting a good show for the fans has always been a priority for the Richards family, and this year will be no different in that respect. The big difference will be in the racing surface itself, as “Vermont’s Fastest Half Mile” will make the conversion from a dirt racing facility to an asphalt speedway. Paving the track will make it more appealing to race fans, while creating more opportunities for different types of racing than in the past, as well as new marketing potential for sponsors and corporate partners.

Many factors have played a part in the decision, not the least of which is the inclement weather the northeast has been experiencing over the last five years. “Preparing and maintaining a dirt race track is extremely time consuming,” said promoter Jerry Richards. “We could easily spend 30 hours a week on track prep under ideal conditions. When it rains all week, that number doubles or triples. The fans are loyal to the sport and extremely patient during these times. We had a fairly miserable 2008 season, which was followed by the disaster of 2009 in terms of rain. We were always chasing the track, even during the show. This affects not just our fans, but our race teams endure the pain Mother Nature inflicts as well. If the racing surface has issues, then race cars get torn up. With pavement, the teams can focus on racing.”

Says Richards, “If it’s speed you like, we should be able to provide it. Once paved, Devil’s Bowl will be without a doubt, the biggest and fastest speedway in the state of Vermont.” For those who know their racing history, they may remember when C.J. Richards paved the track in 1970, returning to dirt two years later. Those were still the early days of racing in the northeast, and the fans and racers were not yet ready for the novelty of pavement. The Richards family is betting that they are now.

Jerry Richards has consulted with promoter Tom Curley of Thunder Road in Barre, who is pleased to see the Bowl returning to asphalt and has inked a deal for his Thunder Road late models to open the new era with a 100-lap feature event, Thunder at the Bowl, on May 23rd. “We hope this will be just the beginning of a new relationship between Devil’s Bowl and Thunder Road,” commented Richards.

Management has also laid the foundation for a new Modified Tri-Track Series in conjunction with Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Albany-Saratoga is located in Malta, N.Y. and is also owned and operated by the Richards family. Airborne promoter Mike Perrotte has shared his knowledge to help with the transition of the modified-type cars from dirt to asphalt. His facility has seen great success in racing dirt-style open wheel cars on a paved surface. “We are excited to offer this Tri-Track Series which will see our modifieds from both Albany-Saratoga and Devil’s Bowl traveling to Plattsburgh and vice versa in a series of 50- and even 100-lap races at all three facilities, the first of which is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend at the Bowl. There will be six races in total with $6,000 in point money up for grabs. It should make for some great competition for the fans,” said Richards.

Devil’s Bowl will still race on Sundays, but will be able to start an hour earlier because the sun won’t dry the track out like it can when the surface is clay. The earlier start should appeal to race teams and fans by enabling them to get home at a more reasonable hour. Admission pricing for adults will remain at $10 for a regular show, and new this year all children 12 and under will be admitted free. This should make a night at the races affordable for any family.

Devil’s Bowl will continue its tradition of great entertainment for everyone, offering several free admission nights for seniors, students, and veterans, among others. The first practice on the new surface is scheduled for Saturday, May 15, followed by another practice session on Saturday May 22, with the Thunder at the Bowl event on Sunday May 23. For a complete schedule of events and up-to-date information visit the website at or call the speedway at 802-265-3112.

Squier Inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

Legendary motorsports broadcaster and Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl founder Ken Squier of Stowe has been named to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America located in Detroit. Squier began his career as a public address announcer as a teenager at Vermont race tracks in the 1940s, and has since become one of the most respected American sportscasters of all time.

Squier will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America with a class that includes drag racer Dale Armstrong, Midget and Indy car driver and revered stuntman Joie Chitwood, NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki, legendary motorcycle racer Jeremy McGrath, Trans Am driver Jerry Titus, and USAC and Indy star Rich Vogler.

(PHOTO: Squier (right) speaks with Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 winner Dave Pembroke at Thunder Road last September. Photo by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Uh, by the way...

So, remember in "The Juice" on Friday when I ranted about transponders and scoring loops and how I doubt technology even though I exist because of it? And then I said something about a diagram, but the diagram was nowhere to be found? Well, here it is, only four days late, with the corresponding part of the article to go along:

"How about this scenario, and say for the sake of the argument that the transponders are located on the rear frame rail of each car (which is quite common): What if two cars are racing for position coming to the line, and Car A spins but Car B continues, yet Car A -- now facing backwards -- has its transponder cross the line before the Car B, which although its nose may have crossed the finish first, its transponder is scored behind Car A's. Yeah, I made a diagram. According to the transponder, Car A is the winner, but according to everything else logical, Car B is the winner. In theory, you would think such a decision could be easily overturned by a race director or anyone else that physically witnessed the incident.

In a situation where there are between three and six human scorers watching every single car with their own eyes and writing everything down as it happens, it'd be a moot point and Car B would win every time. In this case, where transponders have replaced humans (and the impression that the official press release gives is that there won't be as many people sitting in the scoring tower as there used to be, meaning less eyes watching), it's plausible that such a scenario could be missed if it was to happen somewhere in the middle of the pack rather than at the front.

Is that a likely thing to happen often? Probably not. Am I reaching a little bit to try and prove a point? Absolutely. But it's entirely possible. And a computer error could ultimately cost someone a championship."

Total brainfart on that one, folks, sorry. Again, for the record, I think electronic scoring is a good thing, but it's those instances where it works against everything that I worry about. Especially after 50 years of doing it the same way at Thunder Road. Now back to your regularly scheduled winter...