51's Northern Exposure by Mike Twist and Denise DuPont
See What Some Northeastern Drivers Are Up to in 2007
PARKS GOES TO PASS
Mike Parks is the latest driver to announce his intentions to chase the PASS North schedule this season. The driver of the #66 Super Late Model ran a limited schedule of races this past season and now is looking to go after the Rookie of the Year honors in 2007.
guys will go up a little early with the car and I’ll fly up on Saturday morning. We’ve checked it out though and it will all work.”
DOUGLAS STEPS THINGS UP FOR 2007
True Value Modified Racing Series competitor Mike Douglas, Jr. is stepping up his program for this season. He’s got a new-to-his-team car and has adjusted his goals for the season accordingly.
“We’ll run the first six and before the first Halifax race, we’ll regroup and see how the season has been going,” said Parks. So then we’ll see where to go from there. We plan on trying to do them all though.”
The schedule is a challenge for Parks, since he is also the race director at New Hampshire’s Twin State Speedway. However, Twin State races on Friday nights, so with a little bit of creative traveling, Parks should be able to accomplish the next best thing to being in two places at once.
“There will be some flights between Boston and Halifax in my future,” said Parks. “I’m doing the race director job at Twin State and that takes up my Friday nights. So the
We even got the opportunity to bring the show car up there and fire it up for him. He can’t walk, so we sat him up in the window and he got to see it. He smiled from ear to ear and it had been weeks since that had happened. So our trip was definitely worthwhile.”
CHRIS SMITH GOES ON TOUR
Chris Smith has proven himself to be a pretty good wheelman at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) – winning the track’s Limited Sportsman championship in 2003 and 2004, and coming just one point shy of a third title this past season. Now, Smith is going on tour with a new PASS Modified ride.
Smith will drive a car owned by Jimmy Hoyt, who won a Limited Sportsman title as a
car owner at Beech Ridge in 1999 with David Oliver behind the wheel. The team has
bought the former #99 driven by Dana Grover and is ready to race.
“This is going to be a new experience, racing for someone else,” said Smith. “I’ve
always owned and worked on the cars I’ve driven. Now I won’t have to worry about
everything that goes on with the car anymore. I’m really looking forward to it. There’s
a lot of talent in the PASS Modified with several past champions racing there. It
should be a pretty competitive year.”
Although Smith has stuck primarily to Beech Ridge, he has gone on the road with his
Limited Sportsman before and several of the tracks on the PASS Modified schedule
won’t be foreign to him.
“I’ve raced at Beech Ridge, Canaan and Unity before. There are a few new tracks for
me and I’d like to try those out…especially Riverside. I’ve never raced on a
quarter-mile oval like that before.”
The PASS Modified season kicks off on April 21st at Beech Ridge.
Ryan Moore's new ride. (51 Photo)
CAISSE MAKES A SPECIAL VISIT UP NORTH
At last year’s while up on stage at the NASCAR Busch East Series banquet, Sean Caisse spoke of a young fan with cancer, whose strength has given the racer plenty of inspiration It’s been a tough battle for Caisse’s little buddy and it’s recently gotten even tougher, but he’s fighting it hard.
“I don’t know if anyone remembers the boy that I talked about at the banquet – Shane,” said Caisse. “I got a phone call from his Mom, Nancy, that another tumor developed on the left side of his brain. It was really unfortunate, so I took an emergency trip up here [to New England from Caisse’s home in North Carolina] to see how he was doing and to visit with the family. I went up to Bangor, Maine and visited with him. We even had waffles together in the morning.
“He’s hanging in there tough and he’s family is doing well too. That really brings your life into perspective when you can visit a family like that and help make them feel better.
“I’d just really, really like to make more races this year,” said Douglas. “If I can get a top five or a top 10 this year, the season was well worth it. We’ve got a new car, so I’m not really worried about not making shows now. It’s just I think things are really getting started to turn around for us.
“This is actually Tom Abele’s car from last year. We took it home and ripped every single part off of it. Then we did some of own stuff to it, painted it black and put it back together. We don’t plan to do much during the year to the new car. We’ll start changing stuff that’s when things start to go wrong. Other than that, we’ll just try to keep the car looking like it is now for the rest of the season. I’d just like more rubber marks on the nerf bar.”
Douglas is ready for the first time that he’ll hit the track this year, for the open TVMRS practice session at Monadnock in early April.
“I’m counting down to it,” said Douglas. “It’s five weeks away. I already marked it on my work calendar. We can’t wait for the season to get started."
RYAN MOORE TRIES OPEN WHEELS
Ryan Moore has picked up a ride in the USAC Silver Crown Series for this season. The former NASCAR Busch East Series regular will drive the #41 National Parts Peddler/Oswego Mini Storage entry this year.
Mike Douglas, Jr.'s #23 as shown at the Speedway EXPO. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Smith moves from a Sportsman car to PASS Modifieds this year. (Norm Marx Photos)
Mike Parks' #66 (Norm Marx Photo)