The beauty of the TD Banknorth 250 is that until the morning of the race, the entry list isn’t very well known. The race is on Sunday and how their Saturday night races went makes a difference when it comes to just who will be showing up for the event.
51's NORTHERN EXPOSUREby Mike Twist
Nevin & Johnny Get Ready for Roush, Sessions Comes Back?, Alexander Again and More
NEVIN PICKED FOR GONG SHOW
Slowly, the participants of the Roush Racing tryout known as “The Gong Show” are being known. The project features 25 young short track drivers who have been selected from a pool of thousands to compete in a televised Discovery Channel program with the winner getting a ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with Roush in 2006. This week, Speed51.com learned that NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Nevin George is one of the 25 finalists.
JOHNNY CLARK READY TO HEAD SOUTH AFTER 250
“We got narrowed down to be one of the 25 drivers for the Gong Show,” said George. “I know that I leave for Charlotte at the end of the month on a Sunday night and other than that, I don’t know much. We’ll be doing some testing, but I don’t know at what track yet. I’ve heard Martinsville, Concord and Darlington. I don’t know where it will be yet.”
Obviously, George is thrilled to be a part of such an exclusive group.
“It’s a huge deal. At first I was just like ‘Wow’ and it took a couple of days just to sink in. Then you realize that it’s 25 out of a million people, so I’m really excited.”
Sam Sessions might ride again this weekend.
Nevin George is hoping that his experience in the #0 makes him a hero in Roush's Gong Show. (51 Photo)
Johnny Clark’s biggest race of the season is on Sunday when he takes to the track for the TD Banknorth 250. The next day is almost going to one of the biggest days of his life, as he will arrive in North Carolina for the first day of the Roush Racing “Gong Show” tryouts.
It could be an interesting few days for Clark, but at the same time he is trying not to get too excited about it.
“I’m trying to block out some of it,” said Clark. “It’s one day at a time. As soon as the checkered flag waves at Oxford, that is my next mission. I leave at 6am on Monday out of Portland. I don’t know exactly what we are doing yet. It depends on how long we are at Oxford after the race. If we have a positive day, I might not get any sleep.”
Somehow we don't think that Clark will mind the lack of rest if he takes home the trophy from the 250.
Johnny Clark might need a cold Gatorade bath to wake him up after the busy week he has ahead of him.
Mark Truman of Late Model Digest puts together the most comprehensive fan website about the 250 that is out there [Click here for more]. The Maine writer reports that Sam Sessions will come out of a racing hiatus for this weekend’s race. Truman also reports that Canadians Dave Gorveatt and Scott Alexander will attempt to qualify this weekend.
IT’S ALEXANDER AGAIN IN TVMRS
Over in the True Value Modified Racing Series, it was another race with the same final result this past weekend. Kirk Alexander won his seventh race in nine events this season. This victory came at Star Speedway (NH).
Pre-entries? Ha! You just never know for sure how will be there.
“Our entry list is always probably until Sunday morning,” said track owner and promoter Bill Ryan. “Guys have called the office all week and said that they were coming, but then called back 10 minutes later and said that they weren’t, but had a few questions anyway.”
Still, a few names are starting to trickle in when it comes to how will be at the event.
Gary Casella, Andy Seuss and Jim Kuhn, Jr. battled for the lead early with Alexander starting dead last, but the cream rose around the halfway mark as Alexander got into the lead and stayed there. He held off Louie Mechalides, Kuhn, Dwight Jarvis and Peter Daniels for the victory.
Alexander is now within one point of the TVMRS points lead. Odd as that might sound, this fact is very impressive since the two races where Alexander did not win, he was excluded from the final results because of a technical violations and an on track incident.
The TVMRS will race at Monadnock Speedway (NH) this Saturday night.
250 WEEKEND FEATURES OTHER RACES TOO
The TD Banknorth 250 won’t be the only race at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) this weekend. In addition to the huge Pro Stock (Super Late Model) open event and the track’s regular divisions, there are a few other race events on tap leading up to the big race.
The PASS Modifieds will run in the Stilkey Trucking 35 on Friday night and the ACT Late Models will headline the Saturday night racing card at Oxford with an 100-lap event that was rain delayed in May and rescheduled to the track’s biggest weekend of the year.
LEPERLE WINS & A LEGEND RIDES AGAIN AT AIRBORNE
The ACT Late Models have been enjoying a little bit of an early summer vacation, but several teams of the tour have been keeping busy. The majority of the ACTers compete on Thursday nights in the Late Model division at Thunder Road Speedbowl and this past weekend, several teams hopped on the ferry across Lake Champlain to compete in a 100-lap Outlaw late model race at Airborne International Raceway.
Patrick Leperle held off Brent Dragon and Roger Brown to win the event, but the most interesting storyline was a little bit further back in the pack.
New England racing legend Beaver Dragon came out of retirement to enter the race in a team car to his son Brent. He finished 12th.
Also at Airborne was former Busch North driver Keith Lammel, who has been out of the driver’s seat for nearly a decade. The winner of a 1994 Busch North event at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) had brake problems at Airborne, but could be primed to enter more Late Model events this season.
Kirk Alexander is getting used to this. (TVMRS / Bob Ogrodnik Photo)
(L to R) Beaver Dragon, Busch( North driver Bobby Dragon and ACT Late Model regular Brent Dragon. (Leif Tillotson Photos)
Beaver Dragon drove the #56 as a team car to Brent's regular #55.