51's Northern Exposure Compiled by Mike Twist
Some Parts of the NE Are Snowed In, Others Set to Go Green
TIME FOR RACING SEASON?  OR IS IT…

According to the calendar, racing season is about ready to start up in New England.  That only problem is, that might only mean part of New England for the time being. 
The season-opening race at Monadnock is not scheduled for another week, so that event, along with the April 21st PASS North opener at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) and the April 28th ACT Late Model season opener at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) appear to be safe…barring any further snowstorms at least.

LIQUID LOU TAKES NEMA OPENER

The NEMA Midgets got their season started on Sunday at Waterford Speedbowl.  The cars were on the track at 1pm sharp, ready to start their 25-lap race with a field of twenty 26 cars. 

Waterford Speedbowl got their start to the season in the books with last week’s running of the Budweiser Modified Nationals [click here for more] and the NEMA Midget season opener (see below). The track will continue with their weekly servings of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series short tracking from here out.  Thompson International Speedway held a practice day last Saturday and the track plans to repeat that this coming Saturday.  Down in Connecticut at least, the weather is looking more and more like spring.

Further North, that’s a different story.  A major snowstorm blanketed the region with another coating of snow Wednesday and Thursday.  Predicted temps in the 40’s might help the melting some, but Saturday’s True Value Modified Racing Series planned open practice session scheduled at Monadnock Speedway (NH) was a victim of weather, according to this message from the track:

“Practice on Saturday, April 7th has been cancelled due to this latest snow storm! Unfortunately we were all dried out until Mother Nature reminded us of her power. We will have an extended practice on the season opener, April 14th for the True Value Modifieds, Outlaw Pros, Late Models, Super Stocks, Mini Stocks and Enduros. The gates will open at 9:00am and practice will start at noon. On Saturday, April 14th we will have representatives in the beer garden area to process Season Passes, Transponder Purchases and Enduro Licenses from 9am-11am. NASCAR licenses will be processed at the Payout / Enduro Registration booth starting a 9am on Saturday, April 14th.

”Due to the number of cars expected at the opener, all other touring divisions not competing that day will not be able to practice. We will hold an extended practice starting at 3pm on Saturday, April 21st for all touring divisions (All Star Race Trucks, NEMA and Allison Legacy North) who are interested in testing at the 1/4 mile.”

Pit gates will open at 9 AM, with technical inspections beginning immediately thereafter.  A mandatory meeting for all Seekonk Speedway rookies will take place with assistant manager David Alburn and race director Len Ellis, Jr. at 10:30 AM.  Rookie competitors will have the opportunity to turn the first hot laps of the day at 11 AM.  Multiple rounds of practice for all divisions will follow and continue throughout the afternoon.  Rain date is April 14.

Additional practice sessions are slated for Saturday, April 21, with a rain date of April 28, and Saturday, May 5, both at 11 AM.  Tires will be available for purchase for all of the weekly racing divisions at the test sessions.  “We currently have over 125 teams that have registered for the 2007 season,” Alburn states, “and we hope that the majority of them will take advantage of these open practice dates to prepare for Opening Day.  The amount of practice time available on Opening Day will be very limited, and so we encourage as many competitors as possible to join us for the test and tune days.”  Pit access for the open practice dates is $15, with free grandstand admission being offered.

The first green flag of the year will wave at 1 PM on Sunday afternoon, May 6.  Seekonk Speedway’s top tier Pro Stock division will battle it out in a special $2,000 to win, 75-lap main event on Opening Day, the first of three extra-distance races comprising the Miller High Life Gold Cup Series.  A 35-lapper for the second tier Late Model class and twin 20-lap mains for the Sport Truck and Street Stock divisions will also follow the qualifying heats.  Saturday night racing will begin the following week, May 12, at 6 PM.  Alburn and Ellis also announced that competitors will receive 10 bonus championship points for each feature win earned in 2007.  “We feel as though this is something that will spice up our championship battles this year,” Ellis explains.  “A driver that wins a handful of races over the course of the year will really benefit in the championship standings by the end of the season.”
Lou Ciconni Jr., Randy Cabral and Joey Payne made up the podium finishers at Waterford (Jim DuPont Photo)
Lou Ciconni in Car #47b won the race after leading fourteen laps and holding off hard charges of Bobby Santos, III, Cabral and Pemesiglio. This was his second victory.

Cabral, Joey Payne, Ben Seitz , Bobby Santos, III,  Aaron Wall, Nokie Fornoro, Adam Cantor and Erica Santos rounded out the top 10 finishers…on the track at least.  After the race, car #80 for Pete Pemesiglio’s car was disqualified. His car measured too wide.  (Denise DuPont)

SEEKONK SET TO GO GREEN

In preparation of its 62nd annual season, Seekonk Speedway has scheduled its first open practice of 2007 for Saturday, April 7.  The first of three pre-season test and tune dates at the 1/3-mile Route 6 oval will be open to competitors in the track’s Pro Stock, Late Model, Sport Truck, Street Stock, Pure Stock, and Seekonk Youth Racing Association divisions.  Outside competitors, including Modified, NASCAR Busch East, American-Canadian Tour, Pro Four Modified, Northeastern Midget Association, International Super Modified Association, and USAC Ford Focus Midget teams are also welcome.
Adam Cantor, Erica Santos, Pete Pernesiglio,  Barry Kittredge and Randy Cabral led the field to the green and it wasn’t long before things got wild – a little too wild in fact.

At the completion of the first lap, Nokie Fonoro’s and Erica Santos' cars were locked together as they came down to the start finish line.  Car #21 spun on the front stretch and cars scattered to get around Barry Kittridge's car. Cory Cleary, Leo Cleary’s grandson, in car #36 spun just after the line and Abby Martino's car actually went over the top of it.  The top of Martino’s car actually ended up touching the top of Cleary’s car.

Martino’s car hit the fence and then landed on all four tires. Abby complained of pain in her knee so they brought her to the hospital for observation. The race resumed restarting the first lap after the track crew cleaned the track.

The cars did a complete restart with Pete Pernesiglio in the #80 car taking the lead followed closely by Randy Cabral. On lap 8, Jeremy Frankoski spun in turn for bringing out the second caution. Pete was the leader of the pack until lap #11, when Randy Cabral passed him to take over the lead. Bobby Santos followed Cabral as he passed Pete to take over the second position. Pete fell back to third position.
Palmer, Brian Quimette and Max Zacham.
On Lap 17, Bobby Santos lost control of his car as he was trying to pass Randy Cabral for the lead and spun in turn four bringing out a caution.  Santos spun his tires to restart his car back on the race and dumped a lot of dirt on the track.  He re-started the race in 12th position going around the bottom of the track to get back up towards the lead. On lap 19, he was in sixth position as Cabral continued his lead. Caution number four came out with three laps to go when Tim Heath in Car #81 spun on the front stretch.


Fans saw a few wild moments during the NEMA race at Waterford  (Jim DuPont Photo)
Carl Edwards (NASCAR photo)
The calendar might say it is springtime in New England, but Mother Nature said something a little bit different this week.  (51 Photo)


EDWARDS AND ROUSH PLAN ORANGE COUNTY TRIP

“It’s taken longer than expected, but we’ve finally nailed down our schedule,” says Peter Reynolds, Orange County Fair Speedway’s Marketing, Media, Public and Community Relations head. “We’ve got a full slate of programs, plus several new theme nights. And I’m happy to say that NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Grand National star Carl Edwards, along with Jack Roush, his car owner, are making a return visit to Orange County.”

Edwards and Roush will take part in the Thursday, May 31 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series night, with Edwards expected to again get behind the wheel of a Big-Block Modified.

Weekly racing begins Saturday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the historic Middletown, New York Speedway. This year marks the 58th consecutive season of weekly stock car racing at Orange County, one of the oldest automobile race tracks in the country. A full program of DIRTcar Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman, Pro Stock and Pure Stock racing highlights opening night.

“Fire Safety Night,” the first of several community-oriented theme nights will take place on Saturday, April 28. Fire safety personnel presenting identification will be able to purchase General Admission tickets for just $5.00. Other theme nights with special admission pricing include Veterans Night (May 26) and Senior Citizens Night (June 23).

Boy and Girl Scouts in uniform and their leaders will be admitted free on Saturday, May 5. Then on June 2, Little Leaguers in uniform will be admitted free, and the following week, June 9, all youngsters will be admitted free on D.A.R. E. Night.


“KATIE, BAR THE DOOR. THE OUTLAWS ARE COMING!”

The World of Outlaws sprint cars will return to Orange County on Saturday, May 19. Joining the lightning fast-sprinters that evening will be the DIRTcar 358-Modifieds.  Advance tickets for this special event are available from the speedway office.

Two additional sprint car nights are also scheduled. The CRSA 305 sprints will make their first Orange County appearance as part of the July 7 program then on August 11, the popular URC 360 sprint cars will headline the evening as both the Big-Block Modifieds and 358-Modifieds take the night off.

Fans of Demolition Derbies haven’t been forgotten. Four fan-favorite smashes are set for May 5, June 2, August 25, and September 8. The September 8 event promises to be a full night of crashing. Added this year is a non-points “Topless” Night on September 15, when the Modifieds will race without their roof panels.

The season wraps up with the 46th Annual Eastern States Weekend, Friday through Sunday, October 19-21. All-time Orange County champion and race winner Brett Hearn has captured the past three Eastern States 200 races. Will he make that four in a row? Hearn and all the Modified stars will take to the Hard Clay in the oldest consecutively-run dirt track Modified championship race in the country with time trials Friday, heat races Saturday, consolation races and the classic 200-lap feature on Sunday. Joining the “earth shaker” Big-Block Mods in their own championship races are the 358-Modified, Sportsman, Pro Stock and Pure Stock divisions.

“It’s a full schedule with something for every race fan,” said Reynolds. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the track.” Advance ticket sales and track information is available at the Track Office. Check out www.ocfsmotorsports.com or call 845/342-2573 during normal business hours.