The Outlaw Late Model 40-lap feature was led to the green by the #07 Mark Patten and #37 of “Pistol Pete” Fraser, with the #44 of Jimmy Rosenfield of Middleboro, MA and hometown hero Donnie Lashua of Canaan in the second row in the #08.
The first yellow came early as Bobby MacArthur, the “Showstoppa,” slowed in turn one on lap two with mechanical problems and limped off as the yellow came out. On the restart, the top eight of Patten, Fraser, Rosenfield, Lashua, Chris Curtis of Rutland, MA in the #26, Bobby Allen’s #38 from Raymond, NH, Walt Hammond from Canaan in the #97, and Kevin Bolduc in the very sharp looking #28 moved away from the other 10 cars to settle it amongst themselves.
Jimmy Renfrew of Candia, NH in the #55R tangled with two other cars down the backstretch and had to pit for left-front damage. He returned after some quick work in the pits. Bolduc got caught up in a tangle in turn three and had to retire to the pits.
The balance of the race was one challenge after another for Patten. First it was Fraser challenging Patten on the outside, then Rosenfield took his turn, to be followed in turn by Lashua, and Hammond, but none of them could get by Patten as they each got caught on the outside and were freight-trained back.
At the flag, it was Patten, with his brakes going away, holding off Hammond, Lashua, Rosenfield, Bob Rugg of Hartland, VT in the #70 with a steady run to fifth, Renfrew back up to sixth after a spirited battle with Bryan Henry from W. Lebanon, NH in the #20 seventh after an early spin, rookie Derrick Ramstrom from W. Boylston, MA in the #35 eighth, Fraser ninth, and Bobby Allen rounded out the top ten.
STAFFORD RAINED OUT FOR THIS WEEK
This weekend doesn’t look very promising for New England racetracks. Heavy rain is predicted for most of the weekend in most of the region.
With the forecast calling for rain throughout the entire day and evening, Stafford Motor Speedway has announced that it is canceling its NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series racing card that was scheduled for Friday May 12th.
"After looking at various weather forecasts, we have decided to cancel our Friday, May 12th racing program," said SMS CEO / GM Mark Arute. "All the forecasts we looked at were calling for rain throughout the day and well into the evening, so we wanted to make this decision and get the word spread as quickly as possible to save our teams the troubles of loading their cars, and to help our teams and race fans save their gas money."
Stafford will resume its regular Friday Night NASCAR Racing schedule next Friday, May 19th.
Cards and well wishes can be mailed to Crawford’s mother at the following address:
C/O Virginia Metivier
152 County Woods Road
Newport, ME 04953
ACT READY TO HEAD NORTH OF THE BORDER
The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) stock car series makes its first trip in several years to the super fast 5/8ths mile Circuit Ste-Croix (Ste-Croix, Qc), Saturday for a 100 lap event. And while the names of many of the Tour’s drivers will be familiar to the local fans, ACT’s recent influx of young, new talent will introduce some 10-12 drivers to the track for the first time.
Ryan Vanasse, a 23 year-old driver from Warwick, RI will have one of the longest distances to travel but he feels he’s prepared for the trip as well as for the race on the unfamiliar track. “I used to race at Thompson (Speedway in CT) which is also a 5/8ths mile track,” he recently remarked, “So I’ve been on longer, faster tracks before. I’ve been doing some research and understand that Ste-Croix has a different shape to it compared to Thompson, which is like a paperclip. We’ve worked hard over the winter to get prepared, I hope it pays off.”
Joe Becker from Jeffersonville, VT is hoping he can draw a comparison between Plattsburgh, New York’s Airborne Speedway, a half-mile track he favors and Ste-Croix. “From what I’ve been told, it’s easy to overdrive the Ste-Croix track in a Late Model. That’s typical of Airborne in a Sportsman car,” he explained. “I’m hoping that it will be similar for me, that I can use what I’ve learned from Airborne and transfer it to the 5/8ths track. I raced at Sanair several years ago in a Sportsman, I was a bit surprised, wasn’t at all prepared for the speed. I’m better prepared for that possibility now since I’ve been to so many different tracks with the ACT Tour,” the 33 year-old racer finished.
51's NORTHERN EXPOSURECompiled by Mike Twist
ACT, Outlaws, Lee, Oxford, Canaan, Stafford, Thompson and More
Crawford suffered very serious injuries, but has been showing steady signs of improvement in a Bangor hospital.
The incident occurred during the PASS Outlaw Late Model season opener when a car spun off into the turn one into the infamous turn one dirt bank at Unity. Crawford was in the turn behind a chain link fence and was struck. Track workers, emergency crews and several off-duty first responders who were in the stands came to Crawford’s aid and he was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
The area where Crawford was struck is not open to the public and after his accident, it has been ruled off-limits for photographers as well by track owner Ralph Nason.
In a touching move, the driver who ended up finishing second in the race, George Fernald, has sent his trophy from the race to Crawford’s hospital room.
"It's the biggest trophy I've ever won in 25 years of racing," Fernald told Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News. "It will be important for me to have him see the trophy. We've always been good friends. I've known him since we started racing years and years ago."
TV HOST CRAWFORD MAKES PROGRESS AFTER UNITY CRASH
John Crawford, the producer and host of the Mainely Motorsports television program in Maine and former promoter of Unity Raceway (ME) is continuing with his recovery from injuries suffered at Unity two weeks ago. Crawford was struck by a car as he was filming material for Mainely Motorsports.
One of the youngest racers who will attempt to qualify for the Ste-Croix 100 will be 16 year-old Joey Polewarczyk of Hudson, NH. “Joey Pole,” as he’s called, reports that he’s found a downloadable computer racing game of the Circuit Ste-Croix racetrack that he’s been practicing on all winter. “I’m not saying that it’s going to insure I’ll do well or even qualify, but it certainly can’t hurt,” the young hot shoe explained, “At least I’ll have seen a little of what the track’s like. It helped me at Thunder Road.” Following the ACT Tour Merchants Bank 150 opener on April 30, Polewarczyk began a conditioning program after finding himself running out of steam part way through the 150 lap race on the high-banked, ¼ mile Barre, VT oval. “When I realized I was getting tired I pulled down to the inside to rest a bit. As a young driver I’ve got to earn respect from the veterans and making stupid mistakes because I’m tired is not the way to do it. My goal is to qualify for all 12 races and learn from each event.”
AJ Begin, 37, of Merrimac, MA is one of the mature newcomers with the ACT Tour in 2006. Begin tested the Tour waters in 2005, finding the temperature “just right”. “I found my experience with the Tour last year a very positive one. From the outset my team and I were accepted and treated as fairly as any other (team). When I proved that I could hold my own on the race track I earned their respect. I’m happy to be a part of the Tour. The traveling is something my wife and I are enjoying and we all like the opportunity of trying new tracks. As for Ste-Croix, I don’t have a lot of big track experience, but I’ve done some research and I can follow the veterans when we get there to find the line,” he remarked.
One of the ACT Tour veterans who looks forward to returning to the Ste-Croix speedplant is Jamie Fisher from Shelburne, VT. Fisher, a former Late Model Champion from Thunder Road remarked that keeping the brakes cool on the cars could be a problem for the teams who’d not previously been to a track as large as Ste-Croix. “We’re adding extra fresh air ducts to make sure the brakes stay cool,” he explained. “It’s also easy to drive in to the corners too deep, you carry so much speed off the straights. Overdriving and brakes will likely be the two things to watch for. One the plus side, there is plenty of pavement and room to pass, we can race two-wide all the way around.” Fisher finished, “As for the drivers who’ve never been to Ste-Croix before, I’d say that Roger Brown is one who will probably adapt quickly, he’s pretty fearless and he runs well at Airborne.”
Post time for Saturday’s Ste-Croix 100 is 5:00 pm.
PATTAN WINS OUTLAW RACE AT CANAAN
The awesome asphalt track at the Canaan Fair Motorsports Complex in Canaan, NH opened for the 2006 season Saturday night under the management of PASS Racing, Inc with a strong field of cars.
The ACT Late Models are off to Quebec this weekend. (Alan Ward Photo)
Among that star-studded quintet, there was no question that Rolfe was the favorite after plucking the pole position at the pit gate prior to practice. With no point standings yet to fall back on, all 24 entrants were assigned to their spot on the grid by luck of the draw.
That came on the heels of a season debut in which Rolfe contended for the win in the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) New England Dodge Dealers 150 on April 29 before a variety of problems pushed him off the leader board.
“The track owed me one for last week,” Rolfe said. “We had a super, super car until a tire went down. We probably should have parked it at that point, but we said, ‘No, let’s go out and see what we can get out of it.’ And then we got caught up in somebody else’s wreck and pretty much destroyed the front end of this car. We worked all week to get it back here, and it’s still super, super fast.”
Robbins pulled the second starting position and held that spot until lap 19, when Bill Whorff Jr. briefly took over. That, however, was before Brackett made his move in the new, improved second groove on the 3/8-mile oval.
Brackett blasted past Robbins and Whorff to assume the runner-up role on lap 22. Brackett needed a caution flag and a restart in order to cut into Rolfe’s lead, though, and it never came. The race was slowed only three times, all for minor spins and none occurring after the 19th circuit.
Hammond and Taylor, who have combined for more than 140 OPS feature wins, followed Brackett’s lead in racing from deep in the field. Taylor also was a force in the outside lane before running out of time.
COLLINS COMES OUT ON TOP AT LEE
The 2006 season opened up at the Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, with Stafford, NH’s Mike Collins taking down the biggest win of his career in the 100-lap Late Model main event.
Mike Collins' #08. (51 Photo)
The rains came near the end of practice and delayed the show for about 45 minutes, but the track was dried quickly because there’s nothing like almost sixty modifieds and Outlaw Late Models to help the track crew dry the track.
The Clear Channel Radio KIXX 100.5 sponsored Weekly Racing Series took to the track first. After two heats for Outlaw Late Model/Pro stocks won by Mark Patten and “Pistol Pete” Fraser and four heats and two concis for the True Value Modifieds, the show moved right into features because of the threat of more showers.
ROLFE ROMPS OXFORD PRO STOCK FIELD
Ricky Rolfe was the class of a season-opening Oxford Networks Pro Stock feature Saturday night, helping produce an outcome that if not unprecedented is definitely unusual in the proud history of Oxford Plains Speedway (ME).
Rolfe led all 50 laps of a race in which all top finishers were past champions in the top division. Following the 2003 champion across the finish line were reigning champ Tim Brackett and 2004 boss Scott Robbins.
Al Hammond, a three-time champion in the 1970s, finished fourth, with Jeff Taylor, owner of a speedway record eight titles, in fifth.
pace. At the crossed flags, Collins was up to second
and closing fast, as Baril seemed to be coming back to the pack.
Collins quickly reeled him in and made the pass for the lead, and was pretty much gone from there. Collins opened up a half straightaway lead in the late going, but it was wiped out by a late caution that set up a two-lap dash for the $2,500 top prize.
Invader Roger Brown gave it a shot, but Collins was up to the task and held on to score the big win. Brown checkered second, with Keith Larmie, Baril and Jeffrey Labrecque finishing up the top five.
Next up at Lee USA is a special Saturday afternoon show on May 13, featuring the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Models, 350 Supermodifieds, Street Stocks, Ciotti Racing Products Hobby Stocks, Roadrunners and Mini Cups. Practice starts at noon, with the first green flag at 2 p.m.
T-ROAD GETS TAKEN OVER FOR MOTHER’S DAY
The 47th season at Barre, Vermont’s, Thunder Road Speedbowl moves to an innovative 2nd race date, Sunday, May 14th. Mother’s Day at “The Road” will find not only four American-Canadian Tour stock car divisons in action but also a first ever Mothers Day Race.
Race Director, Tom Curley, announces he will present a special Mothers Day Race. No, they won’t race; Moms will run a race as officials. Children are advised to nominate their Moms as race officials for the event of uncertain duration. Curley says, “We know Mothers run the world, so they certainly qualify for Thunder Road.”. The announcer, flagman, pace car driver, handicapper, pit steward, tech inspector and other positions will be manned (no, make that mothered) by officials selected by their children through a letter campaign to the track”. Curley concluded, “This is a breakthrough in officiating. Nobody argues with a Mom and wins, especially on Mother’s Day.” The four-cylinder Allen Lumber Street Stock class gets the opportunity to have the 10 winning Moms officiate their event.
The 100 lap main event of the day will feature the ACT Tiger Sportsman cars. Over 40 will try for 26 spots in the Cassella 100. Their first outing on April 30th saw 35 non stop green flag laps with popular Doug Murphy of White River Junction, barely besting Northfield’s Matt White and Waterbury’s Chris Gendreau in the new look sportsman division.
The Late Model’s, ACT Tiger Sportsmen machines, the Allen Lumber Street Stock and entry level Power Shift Warrior class are expected to bring entries near the 142 that filled the Thunder Road pits in the first 2006 race. Post time is 2:00 PM, Sunday, May 14th.
THOMPSON PRACTICE ON TAP
An open practice session will be held at the Thompson International Speedway on Thursday, June 1, 2006. This will be the final open practice session before the track’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series of racing begins on Thursday, June 8th. The open practice is scheduled to run from 12 Noon until 6 PM. Any and all racecars are welcome. The open practice day offers valuable track time for experienced race teams or much needed ‘seat time’ for new drivers or those who have moved up the competitive ladder. Open practice will be run in a “round robin” format to ensure plenty of track time for any and all competitors.
Opening night of the extremely successful Thursday Night Thompson Thunder series (TNTT) will be Thursday, June 8th.
Mark Patten in victory lane. (Norm Marx Photo)
John Crawford (L) interviews Ben Rowe at Oxford last season. (51 Photo)
Ricky Rolfe stands on familar ground at Oxford. (Trudy Marshall, Jarracing Photography Photo)
Dean Weber and J.R. Baril waged a tremendous side-by-side battle for the lead in the early laps of the extra-distance feature, with Baril eventually prevailing to move out to the point.
Once out front, Baril ripped off some quick laps, and he survived a series of early-race restarts to dominate the action in the first half of the race. A scary incident put the field under red flag conditions 39 laps in, when Dan Eaton bounced off the inside wall and flipped his car.
Eaton walked away from the incident unhurt, and
the race resumed with Baril once again setting the