started sixth, quickly got to work and moved into third by the fifth circuit. Former Thunder Road Late Model Champion, Phil Scott from Middlesex, and past ACT Tour title-holder, Morrisville’s Pete Fecteau, along with Wheeler, hopped on the Dragon/Williams train and the group started to pull away from the field.
The front-runners set a torrid pace in the 80-plus degree weather. By the 23rd circuit, Dragon had caught the back of the field. The first car to go a lap down was defending Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic winner, Trampas Demers from So. Burlington. Other competitors soon fell like targets in a shooting arcade as first 63 laps ran non-stop allowing Dragon and the lead pack to continue their march.
chief Brian Burgess has moved on as well.
…WHILE ANOTHER PASS POWERHOUSE GETS STRONGER
It didn’t take long for the remaining #00 car and Burgess to find a new home though. Both ended up at SP2 Motorsports, which fields the #24 entry of Mike Rowe. Burgess will now team up with Seth Holbrook to share the crew chief duties. The car will be repainted from yellow to red and the #24 will be slapped on the side of it. After the cosmetic changes, it will be ready to race.
Currently, Rowe leads the PASS South standings after two races. The #24 team has indicated that they will continue racing in the PASS South events coming up and will park their car in a Southern race shop in between the Florence and Orange County events coming up in June.
In other SP2 Motorsports news, NASCAR Nextel Cup star Kyle Busch will drive a team car to Rowe in next month’s TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford. Last season, Busch finished sixth and Rowe won the event.
51's NORTHERN EXPOSURECompiled by Mike Twist
One Team Shuts Down, Another Gets Stronger, BES Drivers from North & South and More
During the first five seasons of the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, one team above all else defined the era. That was the #00 operation of Tom and Eileen Estes. Their familiar yellow cars with a hint of red and purple in the paint schemes, won just about everywhere that the series would go. Ben Rowe drove the car from the first ever PASS event, held in 2001 at Lee USA Speedway, through the end of the 2005 season. Together, they won three championships together in five seasons.
But nothing lasts forever. Rowe left the team in the off-season after the Estes decided to cut back to a partial schedule. Eight-time Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) champion Jeff Taylor took over the ride, but that partial schedule only lasted one race. Taylor battled for the lead at Oxford’s season opener, but a flat tire cost him a strong finish. The team planned to go to the Canaan race last week, but did not show.
Word is now that the #00 team has shut now down completely and sold off their one remaining car. Crew
MORE RAIN FOR STAFFORD
Another weekend that could be filled with rain has started for New England race fans. As of Friday morning, officials at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) have already called off their Friday night program. It is the fourth consecutive week of being rained out at the track.
Unfortunately, Saturday doesn’t look too better for many tracks in the region at this point with a 60% of better chance of rain throughout much of the region.
ONE PASS POWERHOUSE GOES AWAY…
Speed51.com caught up with Busch about his plans for the event and we’ll have an in depth feature the Cup driver turned short tracker next week.
DRAGON DEVOURS THUNDER ROAD
Brent Dragon of Milton, VT made an unexpected visit to Thunder Road International Speedbowl (VT) for the 42nd annual Mekkensen RV Memorial Classic and did not leave disappointed. The second-generation racer dominated the 100-lap feature race after starting on the front row next to pole-sitter Eric Williams. Williams, from Hyde Park, VT finished second with Waterbury Center, Vermont’s Chad Wheeler in third. Completing the top five were Roger Brown from Lancaster, NH and Mooers Forks, NY driver Mark Lamberton.
The SP2 Motorsports #24 driven by Mike Rowe (Norm Marx Photo)
When the checkers flew, 31:45 after the initial green, 27 of the 28 starters were still in competition. Only early contender Pete Fecteau watched from the pits after encountering over-heating problems with his machine. Twelve of the starters had completed the entire race distance.
Jay Laquerre from E. Montpelier finished sixth in his first start of the season and rookie of the year contender, Marcel Gravel from Wolcott was seventh. Completing the top ten was Shelburne’s Jamie Fisher, Phil Scott and Rich Lowrey from Charlotte.
“Brent drove a great race,” runner-up Williams stated. “After about five to ten laps under the green he was the better driver with the better car. It was a great day and a great race.”
Third place Wheeler added, “If we had gone green all the way I might have had something for Eric (Williams), but not for Brent.”
Thunder Road’s competitors are back in action on Sunday, June 4 for the previously rained out Casella Mother’s Day 100 for the Sportsman Series as well as the other three divisions. Post time is 1:30 pm.
CANADIAN INVADES BUSCH EAST
At a time where driver diversity is at a high peak, the newest newcomer to the program, Pierre Bourque storms onto the racing circuit with goals as strong as any veteran driver, victory. The Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) driver has got a jump start to his racing career by taking an early stab at the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the NASCAR Busch East Series.
Borque recently competed in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Winchester for car owner Andy Hillenburg, where he finished 13th. He also tested at Michigan Speedway.
“The lapped traffic today was critical to the outcome of the race,” winner Dragon stated in Victory Lane, “ Plus,” he continued, “We’re not used to running in this kind of heat – it’s been a cool Spring. We’ll cherish this win, there’s so much history to this race - the list of winners reads like a `who’s who’.”
Dragon as well as several other competitors with the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model series took advantage of a scheduled weekend off by heading to Thunder Road's high banks in preparation of a pair of $10,000 to win ACTion Super Series events at the track later in the season. The 40 year-old driver is the second Dragon is the second Dragon generation to win the Memorial Day Classic – his Uncle Bobby (Dragon) carried the checkers in 1969.
Veteran racer Williams had earned the pole starting position following the qualifying heats, which saw 34 Late Models attempt to make the starting grid. Dragon got the jump at the drop of the initial green flag and never looked back and went on to capture a victory that had eluded his father, the legendary Beaver Dragon.
Williams fell in behind the leader and the pair pulled away from the rest of the 28-car starting field. Wheeler, who had
The yellow flag finally waved on the 64th circuit for a spin by Marc Curtis from Worcester, MA. When the field regrouped, Dragon found himself with a cushion of several lapped cars between himself and runner-up Williams. Williams had to contend with the traffic before he could again mount a charge against the leader.
The second and final caution came out after Williams, Chad Wheeler, Roger Brown and Mark Lamberton had cleared the lapped cars. The quartet took aim at Dragon when the green flew, but none was able to formulate a strong enough offense to take the leader off of his game plan.
With testing complete and the start of the 2006 NBE (NASCAR Busch East) Series drawing near, Bourque feels that he is ready for this new endeavor.
“We are ready to make a difference and I want everyone to know that we are not going in to run last,” explained Bourque. “I am very comfortable with my driving abilities and I feel having the guidance and coaching of Andy Hillenburg has already made me feel in the winner’s circle.”
The 2006 NASCAR BSE schedules consist of 11 races beginning with the Busch Series East 150 at Greensville-Pickens Speedway on June 10th, 2006. Bourque will pilot the No. 10 Full Metals Minerals entry all season.
“While the goal is to win, I want to finish the races this season in the Busch East schedule. We’ve set a couple goals for ourselves for the rest of the year and I think we can achieve them. The goal is to use the remainder of the year as a “test session” preparing for 2007 which we plan to run the full ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. I know that Andy Hillenburg and his staff will provide me with the equipment allowing me to be very competitive off the truck, I’m really looking forward to the future.”
SELLERS GETS BUSCH EAST RIDE FOR GREENVILLE
Peyton Sellers, the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series National Champion, will make his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series debut in the series opener, An American Revolution 150 on Saturday night, June 10.
There have been all kinds of racecars at Greenville-Pickens through the years and the NASCAR Busch East cars will go there for the first time next weekend. Pierre Bourque will be one of the drivers on hand. (Greenville-Pickens Photo)
Brent Dragon waves his favorite flag last weekend at Thunder Road. (Leif Tillotson Photo)
Borque will run the full NASCAR Busch East Schedule beginning in a few weeks aiming for the championship and Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Last week, he tested at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in preparation for the BES season opener there next Saturday.
Bourque kept a solid pace all day long turning competitive times and just a half-second off of the fastest car at the track driven by Sean Cassie under the direction of former NASCAR Busch East champion Andy Santerre.
“The test was a learning curve,” remarked Bourque. “I’ve never experienced the heat before like that in a racecar and it was a good experience, it prepares me for the future. Overall, the test went exceptionally well and I know that we’ll be in good shape when we come back for the race.”
The Estes-owned #00 has be a fixture in PASS since the beginning of the tour. There have been a few different looks along the way too. (Ben Rowe, 2003 (Top - Norm Marx Photo), Jeff Taylor, 2006 (Bottom - Jamie Williams Photo)
The Greenville-Pickens event will provide the first opportunity in 2006 for southeastern race fans who have supported the Danville, Va. native in his meteoric rise through the late model stock car ranks to see him in action in a NASCAR touring series. Sellers, who became the youngest Dodge Weekly Series National Champion last year at age 21, is a Richard Childress Racing development driver and competes regularly in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series for Bill McAnally Racing. He currently stands third in AutoZone West Series points and is leading the Sunoco Rookie standings on that circuit.
Sellers' mount at Greenville-Pickens will be the #31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet entered by veteran Connecticut car owner Ted Marsh, whose cars are currently driven in the NASCAR Busch Series by Steve Park. Marsh will field a car for Sellers in several 2006 Busch East Series races which do not conflict with his primary commitment to Bill McAnally Racing in the AutoZone West Series.
"I'd never seen Greenville-Pickens until we took my late model there to test a couple of weeks ago," Sellers related.
"It reminds me of a blend between Myrtle Beach and Martinsvllle," he added, explaining "It's like Myrtle Beach because it doesn't have much banking and Martinsvlle because you use a lot of brake."
He also looks forward to working with Marsh's team, partly because he's already fit so well with the McAnally team on the west coast, and partly because he knows the reputation of his new ride. "They've got a really good car, one of (Andy) Santerre's cars that's got a lot of history to it. They've got a lot of experience in the Busch Series, and in the Busch East Series with Ted Christopher. There's a lot of background there," Sellers said. In fact, Sellers follows in Christopher's footsteps as a reigning NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series National Champion making the step up to Busch East Series competition.
Most of all, Sellers looks forward to reconnecting with his fans. "I've had the chance to talk to a lot of people who say they're going to try to drive down that night. I've got a lot of fans who've watched me race in the Carolinas and I think there will be a pretty good fan following at Greenville-Pickens. I sure hope so," he added.
The schedule for An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet calls for practice to begin at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, with Busch Pole Qualifying at 6:00 p.m. and the green flag before the live HDNet high-definition television cameras at 8:00 p.m.
ANOTHER NEW FACE IN PASS
There’s a new face in the PASS North Super Late Models. Mike Parks drove what he described as his “very underpowered” #66 Pro Stock to a respectable 12th place finish. The team has a new engine in the works and plans to be at Riverside Speedway (NH) for Sunday’s PASS race. Other possible races for the #66 bunch include the July Oxford PASS race, the non-PASS sanctioned TD Banknorth 250, both White Mountain shows and Thompson.
However, “weather permitting” has a special meaning to Parks and that could throw a wrench into his plans on some weeks. You see, Parks is the competition director at Twin State Speedway (NH) on Friday nights. Most of the time, that would not conflict with his own racing, however the track has a planned raindate of Sunday afternoon. That could lead to some last minute schedule adjustments to Parks’ PASS effort – especially this Friday, when there is already is 60% chance of rain at Twin State.
OXFORD ADOPTS PASS RULES CHANGES
In the aftermath of the recent Pro All Stars Series meeting, Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) Director of Competition Randy Varney announced that Oxford Networks Pro Stock division will abide by the following guidelines, beginning immediately.
Following an informational meeting held for PASS licensed teams and Officials, these adjustments have been made in effort to equalize competition in the Pro All Stars Series super late model division and Oxford Networks Pro Stock division at OPS.