51's Northern Exposure Compiled by Mike Twist
Mulkern #84 Is Hot No Matter Who is Driving, Curley Coming to a TV Near You, Mini Shaw Wins and Much More
CURLEY TO APPEAR ON SPEED’S WIND TUNNEL
Former Auto Racing Promoter of the Year Tom Curley is scheduled to appear on the popular SPEED TV talk show “Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain” Sunday, June 3. Curley is the manager and promoter of Barre, VT’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl, a highly successful short track stock car oval nestled in the Green Mountains, and the President of the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) sanctioning body with touring series in the northeastern United States and Canada.
With his father Dale Shaw on the radio guiding him around the highbanks of Maine's fastest track, the kid took everything the crafty Rowe could toss at him. He had built up a dominating half track lead over the final 50 laps when the final caution flew with just three laps to go. Shaw would survive one last restart and nail down the biggest win of his promising career.
Mike Rowe crossed the line two car lengths behind and had plenty of praise for the winner in victory lane.
“’Wind Tunnel’ is the best racing show on television, bar none,” said Curley. “I have never heard anyone say that they did not enjoy the balanced and unbiased motorsports journalism that Dave Despain brings to his show. It is a real honor to be asked to chat him about Thunder Road and racing in general. I worked with Dave about 20 years ago, and I look forward to being his guest on June 3.”
Known for his fiery personality, Curley was named the Racing Promotion Monthly (RPM) Auto Racing Promoter of the Year, the short track promotion industry’s highest honor, for his efforts with Thunder Road in 2004. He is widely credited with the creation of many short track racing innovations, including the “spec” engine concept of the 2000s and the regional touring series boom of the 1970s and 1980s.
Dave Despain has been a popular – and, not unlike Curley, sometimes controversial – television and print auto racing journalist for nearly three decades. “Wind Tunnel” covers every facet of the motorsports spectrum, from stock cars to open wheel, from motorcycles to off-road rally racing. Curley will appear on “Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain” on SPEED, Sunday June 3, at 9:00pm.
MINI SHAW WINS COASTAL 100
Youth outdueled experience Sunday afternoon at Wiscasset Raceway as 17-year-old D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire beat Maine racing legend Mike Rowe to win the Coastal 200 at Wiscasset Raceway (ME) and pocket the $10,000 winner check.
64 points behind leader Shawn Monahan. Rob Janovic Jr. sits second, 22 behind Monahan with Coby third, 38 back.
Danny Field, another defending champion, is a mere 14 behind Mini Stock leader Ken Cassidy Jr. Playing catch up is a new venture for Field whose 17.617 seconds effort was the division’s best last week.
Steady Al Stone continues to make things difficult for defending champion and current Sportsman division leader Dwayne Dorr. He sits second, 32 behind. Eventual winner Bill Gertsch Jr., Dorr and Stone mixed it up for 10 laps last week but the fastest circuit (17.499) belonged to Jack Aquilina.
Chris Bakaj has a two-point edge on young Michael Gervais Jr. in the Legends standings. Darrell LaPoint Jr. is 12 back in third.
BEST OF THE BEST KICKS OFF AT NBIS THIS WEEKEND
Everyone likes night racing so you can’t blame Fans, drivers, and staff for getting excited for the first big Pro Stock race of the season at NBIS. The Coast Tire “Best of the Best” 100 will feature the high powered CARQUEST Pro Stocks in the first of two Best of the Best events this season. The Coast Tire Street Stocks and Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman will participate in points races for a full card of racing.
After an outstanding race last weekend and great weather for the season opener the fans are very excited to get back into the weekend routine of racing. Hopefully this weekend will be as good as the last because, under the lights, fans will see the Coast Tire Street Stocks and Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman battle it out for regular race points while the CARQUEST Pro Stocks partake in the first 100 lapper in their Best of the Best series.
The “Best of the Best” Pro Stock Series is a two-race mini-series featuring 100 lap
events. Position points are awarded for each event with a series winner being determined
after the June 23rd event. Position points accumulated during the “Best of the Best” are
not added to the season long CARQUEST Pro Stock Division Points Championship.
Instead, each driver who runs a “Best of the Best” event receives 30 points towards the
overall points championship (show up points). The second and final “Best of the Best”
being held on June 23rd with the Irving Max 1 Advanced Synthetic “Best of the Best” 100.
In addition to the NBIS CARQUEST Pro Stock regulars, fans could see US drivers
Scott Chubbuck (Brunswick, ME), and Travis Benjamin (Morrell, ME) plus CARQUEST
Pro Stock Tour Champion Shawn Tucker (Fredericton) along with the 2006 Peterbilt 250
Champion, Lonnie Sommerville (Saint John).
Aside from watching the high flying CARQUEST Pro Stocks entertain for 100 laps, fans
will also be on the edge of their seats watching for a second week of hat trick winners. The DQ Kids Day race featured hat tricks in the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division and the CARQUEST Pro Stock division (a single driver wins the heat, dash, and feature in an event). During the May 26th race, Dave O’Blenis (CARQUEST Pro Stock), and Brian Gillespie (Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman), dominated the event. The Robin’s Inn awards $150 to the pro stock driver, $100 to the sportsman driver, and $50 for the street stock driver who wins their heat, dash, and feature during an event. Luckily, the CARQUEST Pro Stocks will not be eligible since the dash portion of their card will not be run this week due to the extended race. However, two divisions could set the record with a second week of wins all around.
Aside from the storylines, the edge-of-the-seat action is enough to compel any stock car fan or any non-stock car fan to make their way to the Geary Woods this weekend.
“It’s very unfortunate that this event had to be postponed. We had 37 different late model teams in our pit area for the MAARA 100, an impressive car count considering the weather,” said Joe Lewandoski, General Manager of Lake Erie Speedway. “Today was a great preview of the competition that we will have in 2007. I am very confident that 2007 will bring some of the highest car counts ever to Lake Erie Speedway.”
POINT BATTLES TIGHTEN UP AT THE BOWL
“Don’t look back, something may be gaining on you” goes the old adage. The leaders at Waterford Speedbowl can take heed. The point wars are definitely tightening up as the season swings into high gear.
The SK-Modifieds (35-lap feature) and Late Models (30) take center stage at Saturday’s Scout Night. All scouts and leaders in uniform will be guests of the Speedbowl and treated to a five-division program that also includes 20 lappers for the Sportsman, Mini Stocks and Legend Cars.
unning as high as sixth, pitted with a flat right front tire. Darling motored away from Annarummo on the restart while Astle went three-wide with Dabrowski and Hudon to claim third. Astle and Kenny Spencer took second and third on the final lap as Annarummo limped home in fourth with a broken third link. There was no catching the 27-year old Darling, however, who crossed the line 1.59 seconds ahead of Astle to record his 21st career Seekonk victory.
Positions five through ten went to Dabrowski, Pettey, Hudon, Scott Fournier, who bounced back from an early race spin, Dave Hutchins, and Scott Dion.
COOMBS WINS THE HARD WAY AT OXFORD
Other drivers have struggled to make the outside pass in the door-to-door, super-competitive world of Oxford Networks Late Model racing at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME).
Doug Coombs in victory lane at Oxford. (OPS / Trudy Marshall Photo)
GELINAS WINS ANOTHER ONE FOR MULKERN AT 95
Scott Mulkern started out the 2007 PASS Outlaw Late Model season by winning at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). In victory lane, he said that he would only run a limited schedule of races for the rest of the season.
That didn’t mean that his team wouldn’t be racing though. Mulkern put Larry Gelinas into his #84 Outlaw for this past Sunday’s race at Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine. Gelinas, a former winner on the PASS North circuit, drove to victory ahead of Mike Harnish, Jay Sands, Brian Whitney and Walt Hammond.
The PASS Pullen Heavy Industries Sportsmen Series also made their debut at Speedway 95. Beech Ridge Pro Series driver and sometimes PASS North competitor Dan McKeage put his name in the record books as the first series winner. He was followed to the finish by Shane Tatro, Mike Landy, John Kalel, II and Robert Emery Jr.
DARLING SHOWS THE WAY AT SEEKONK
Defending track champion and early season point leader David Darling of Rehoboth, MA outgunned Todd Annarummo on a lap 32 restart and held on to post his second victory in three starts in the 40-lap Pro Stock feature at Seekonk Speedway Saturday night. Darling started tenth and advanced to fourth in the first six laps, behind early race leader John Dabrowski, Annarummo, and rookie Matt Hudon.
Annarummo took over the lead on a lap 8 restart while Darling worked the high groove, taking third on lap 13 and passing Dabrowski for second at the halfway signal. With 20 laps complete, Hudon ran third, ahead of Dean Pettey, Fred Astle, Jr., Kenny Spencer, Scott Dion, Rob Murphy, and Glenn Lawton.
Dion spun to bring out the third and final yellow on lap 32 as Lawton, who had been
"That little kid can drive !" said Rowe as D.J. posed for pictures beside the trophy that stood nearly as tall as him.
In a strange coincidence, it was ten years ago when a (then) 17-year-old Johnny Clark beat the legendary Stan Messerve to win the 1997 Coastal 150, launching the road to stardom for the two-time defending PASS champ.
Boothbay's Steve Reny moved into the top three in the second half of the race and held off Wayne Helliwell Jr of Dracut, Mass for the final podium position. Rowe, Reny and Helliwell were the only cars that Shaw left on the lead lap. Wiscasset rookie Kevin Sherman ran another smart race and it paid off with an impressive fifth place finish.
SMITH WINS CARQUEST OPENER
Wayne Smith won the LUCAS OIL 100 for the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour at Scotia Speedworld, near Halifax, NS on Saturday night. Smith, from Timberlea, NS took the lead early and held off a late charge from Shawn Tucker of Fredericton, NB to win the first race of the season. Mike MacKenzie of Dartmouth, NS rebounded from a terrible
2006 season to finish third. Shawn Turple of Enfield, NS and Lonnie Sommerville of Saint John, NB rounded out the top five.
Smith won both the Fast Track RV Sales Halfway award and the Most Laps Led Award. Eight cautions slowed the event which took 1 hour and ten minutes to complete.
Two former CARQUEST Tour Champions won heat races. Rollie MacDonald of Pictou, NS and Tucker. Turple of Enfield also won a heat race. Kent Vincent of Crapaud, PE won the Dash for the Pole, featuring the top nine finishers in the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials. John Flemming of Halifax, NS had the fastest time on the 3/10 mile oval, at an average speed of over 74 miles per hour. None of the top five cars opted to take the Dartmouth Metals Pole Challenge.
Thirty three of the Maritimes top drivers attempted to qualify for the Main Feature. The final qualifying positions for the main event were determined by the Urquhart MacDonald Associates B-Feature. Darryl Mahar of Hubley, NS won the event over 63 year old Frank Fraser of Shubenacadie, NS and EIT Rookie of the Year contender Jonathan Hicken of Charlottetown, PE.
The next stop on the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour is on June 9th at the New Riverside Speedway, near Antigonish, NS for the Pioneer Coal 100.
DJ Shaw sits in victory lane at Wicasset. (Wiscasset Raceway Photo)
Spencer's #8 Late Model (51 Photo)
Tom Curley (L) talking with Dale Shaw (R).
Doug Coombs seems to live for it. Coombs staged another one of his clinics in the high groove Saturday night, passing the top six cars in succession and surviving a restart with three laps remaining to capture the 40-lap main event.
It was Coombs' second Late Model win at OPS and his fifth Oxford main event victory overall in a career dating back to the late 1970s. Coombs enjoyed several successful years on the regional Legends Car circuit before returning to his Sportsman roots with authority.
Travis Adams edged rookie Tommy Ricker in a photo finish for second before an appreciative crowd. After that show-stopper, spectators also were treated to a holiday weekend fireworks display courtesy of Central Maine Pyrotechnics.
OPENING NIGHT MOVED BACK AT LAKE ERIE
Due to inclement weather, Lake Erie Speedway officials were forced to reschedule the opening night event for the 2007 season. Opening night at Lake Erie Speedway will now take place next Saturday, June 2nd. All events that were scheduled for May 26th, including the MAARA 100 and the “Race to Read” program, which will now take place on Saturday, September 15th.
A guaranteed spot in the June 9 TrueValue Modified Series Town Fair Tire 100 is part of the SK spoils. Qualifying begins at 5 PM with the features at 7.
Defending Late Model champion Tim Jordan has won three straight but finds himself tied with Allen Coates atop the standings. Bruce Thomas Jr. is only eight behind. While he admits not thinking about points is difficult, he continues to making winning the first priority. “Thinking points,” he reports, “can get you in trouble.”
A five-lap side-by-side Jordan-Coates duel was one of the highlights of last Saturday’s action. Two-lane battles continue to be commonplace this year in all divisions leading to impressive lap times.
Dennis Gada had the fastest SK lap last week, a 14.270 seconds circuit en route to a second place finish behind winner Kenny Horton. Defending champion Gada, looking for a record seventh crown, is one of a half-dozen drivers still in the hunt. He is currently sixth,
Scott Mulkern had a great day with the #84 at Speedway 95. Mike Fowler's day wasn't so great. (Jamie Williams Photos)
Tim Jordan has moved into the point lead in the Late Model division at Waterford after three straight victories.
Dave O'Blenis shares victory lane with a big Dairy Queen cone at NBIS. (NBIS Photo)