RACING WORLD NOT WASHED OUT BY NEW ENGLAND FLOODS by Mike Twist
Damage to Area Tracks Was Limited After Days of Rain
Sometimes, it might seem that the racetrack is a world away from everything else in life, but that is not the case. As heavy and persistent rains have parked themselves over Northern New England, members of the racing community has been impacted just like everyone else.
extra hard work and that damage has been limited. But that hasn’t made the week any more fun either.
Modified racer Andy Seuss works for his family’s business, Rockingham Boat in Hampstead, New Hampshire and has had some busy times this week there.
There have been up to 17 inches of rain that has fallen throughout the weekend and early part of this week in parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Rivers have crested, dams have failed, roads have been closed (600 in New Hampshire alone), bridges have been washed out, sewer lines have backed up and just about everything has flooded as a result.
As of Tuesday afternoon, it looks that the worst is over with. There is rain being predicted on and off for the rest of the week, but it is not expected to be nearly as intense as what has already occurred.
Fortunately, for most of the racing community the storms have mostly been an annoyance that has meant some
There has been plenty of water this weekend in New England. Here are just a few photos of the Southern Maine area. (51 Photos)
Former Busch North and current PASS Outlaw driver Carey Heath lives on the North Shore in Massachusetts and has been stuck in one place for the whole week.
“It certainly makes you realize how lucky that you are to be able to get into your car and drive places. You see things that you take for granted everyday. It’s a minor thing. I’m safe, I’m fine and my house is not flooded but the area where I live in is flooded, so I can’t get out. I can’t get to the grocery store or get to work and its those little things that you take for granted. I’ll be glad when we get through this. That’s for sure.”
“Sunday, we got the call from a police officer in town at 8am that some of the boats that were dry docked were floating in the pond behind Rockingham Boat,” said Seuss. “We came down and it wasn’t terrible, but as the day went on the water got higher and higher. By 2pm, it was almost up to the showroom. We had close to 30 or 40 boats floating around and had to move those to various storage areas that we have around. We got everything up high in the showroom and fortunately nothing has gotten any higher. The water is now starting to go down slowly but surely.
“The showroom floor is just a little bit wet from water coming through the foundation. Our house was threatened by water coming from Big Island Pond (in Hampstead, New Hampshire), but that didn’t get to the house and appears to be retreating now. It seems to be under control now, so hopefully we can get back to business and our everyday lives.”
Now thoughts turn to this coming weekend. Even if the sun comes out, will the damage left behind wipe out racing for the week? In most cases, it looks like it won’t.
Speed51.com has talked to officials with both the ACT Late Models and True Value Modified Racing Series and both have said that they do not expect that the floods will have an impact on this Sunday’s doubleheader at Lee USA Speedway. The track is in good shape and just like on any other day, if there is no rain coming down, the races will be held.
PASS has an off weekend for their Northern Super Late Model tour, but will be hosting a 100-lap Outlaw Late Model race on Sunday at Canaan Fair Speedway. That event is still on schedule.
The NASCAR Busch East Series and Whelen Modified Tour are both off this coming weekend.
Most area tracks area also in decent shape. Here are updates on various short (and one not-so-short) tracks in the region:
Lee USA Speedway, Lee NH – Although it sits right in the middle of the most impacted area, Southern New Hampshire, the track has been spared from a lot of the flooding. An improved drainage system for the track has apparently done its job and a strong base of gravel under the facility has helped too.
There are several roads in town that are closed and the entrance to a nearby shopping plaza has been reported as flooded out, but the track is said to be in good shape with flooded spectator parking areas being the only problem. Clearing skies and even a little bit of sun should solve that problem before the weekend.
New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, NH – The Town of Loudon has had its problems with the storm. A dam has been breached and there have been local evacuations. Some local roads are closed and a bridge abutment has been damaged. However, the track has been mostly spared. There is no flood damage reported and a track source said that plans for this weekend’s 16th Annual Vintage Racing Festival are right on track.
Star Speedway, Epping, NH – The Town of Epping has had many problems and reportedly, a portion of Route 125, at the junction of Route 27 and just down the road from the track, had been closed due to flooding earlier in the weekend. Parts of Route 27 are still closed. We have not been able to get in touch with anyone from the track, but Star has a history of flooding in its parking lot and this weekend’s Saturday night races could be in doubt.
Riverside Speedway, Groveton, NH – There has not been much rain in the area of the track and there is no damage at the racetrack.
Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, NH – The asphalt track at Canaan has a busy weekend planned with a Saturday and Sunday show at the facility. Some roads in town have been reported as impassible or closed, but there has been no flood damage at the track that has been reported. PASS officials will further check out the facility in coming days to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for the weekend.
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, ME – The track is located just north of York County, where a lot of flooding problems occurred, but there have been no problems reported or observed at Beech Ridge. Saturday night’s races are on schedule.
Oxford Plains, Oxford, ME – The track has escaped much of the brunt of the storms. In fact, had the rain moved a few miles off course, there could have even been racing at Oxford last Saturday night instead of a rainout. There is no damage at Oxford and racing will go on this weekend as long as the skies are clear. A traction compound that was applied to the track before the start of the season could be reapplied before the racing card if it has been found to have washed away.
Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, VT – There is no damage to the track, but some flooding in the parking areas. ACT and Thunder Road chief Tom Curley reports though that with 200 acres of land and the track’s next race not scheduled until Memorial Day weekend, there should not be any lingering problems for race teams or fans.
So with some luck and blue skies late in the week, racing should go on just about everywhere this weekend.
Most of all, everyone in the racing community is thinking about those most impacted by the storms.
“We were affected by it, but not terribly,” said Seuss. “Our homes weren’t damaged and are health is all good. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone else who has had it much worse. We’re fine and we’ve been helping out some of our friends who helped us on Sunday. They were there for us and we’ve been helping suck water out of their basements this week.”
“We consider ourselves blessed to have escaped much of this awful situation,” said Kalle Oakes of Oxford Plains Speedway. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in southern Maine and New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts as they begin the long recovery process.”
Speed51.com will keep you posted of any further developments among racetracks in the area as well as any major cancellations for this weekend in New England.