51's Northern Exposure - NE Motorsports Expo Edition  by Mike Twist
New Blood for an Old Show, the Doctor of Motorsports, Ctaching Up With PASSers and More
NORTHEAST MOTORSPORTS EXPO CHANGES HANDS

SP2 is back.  The venture that feature partners Steve Perry and Scott Poulin won't be in the form of a raceteam though - like when SP2 Motorsports won both the Oxford 250 and the PASS South championship with Mike Rowe at the wheel of their racecars.

Instead, SP2 Promotions is getting involved in the New England racing scene as the new promoter of the Northeast Motorsports Expo in Augusta, Maine.  SP2 has purchased the rights to the event from founder Tim Attaya and has already started to get ready for the 22nd Annual Expo, which will be held on January 8th-10th, 2010.

“Hopefully, we'll get the show to it's 25th, 30th and 40th years,” said Perry.

Attaya said that choosing Perry and Poulin to take over the reins of the show was an easy choice.

“I had two other perspective buyers for the show and I left one of them hanging for five years,” said Attaya.  “I just couldn't sell it.  Then Steve and I had a chat and I think that he'll do a great job.”

Poulin's involvement came after a bit of a business meeting with Perry.

“We're like two big kids who make a game out of everything,” said Perry.  “We ended up playing a game of poker to decide whether we would do this together or not…and you can see who won.”

Perry plans to make changes to the show, but won't make big ones right away.

“This concept works and it's nothing that we'll stray from,” he said.  “Some of the displays have been a little bit lacking and we want to work with the tracks and tours to put more pride and effort into the show.  There are a few other things that we can do differently, but the concept itself is fine.”

THERE'S A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE AT AUGUSTA

Dr. Dick Berggren was in attendance at the Northeast Motorsports Expo this year to greet and meet fans.  Berggren appeared in the Sunoco Race Fuels booth and the founder of Speedway Illustrated and NASCAR on FOX commentator admitted that he was in a bit of a different role at the show.

“It's a little bit unusual for me in this particular role,” said Berggren.  “Ordinarily, I'm involved in the preparation for something like this…or I'm running around with a notebook doing stories or a TV camera is nearby.  So this is a bit of an unusual experience and I'm having a good time.  The kids are the fun part.  We've had a bunch of kids come by with their own hero cards, so I get them to sign those and I've got a good little collection going.”

Berggren knows a thing or two about racing shows.  He is heavily involved with the largest show in New England, the Speedway EXPO, which is coming up in just a few months.

“Our show will be at the Eastern States Expo Center in West Springfield, Massachusetts during the last few days of February and the first day of March,” said Berggren.  “There are going to be a lot of racecars there.  There will be a lot of neat stuff going on.  There will be seminars and Steve Park is going to be there.  Matt Kobyluck will be there for sure as well as a lot of other people aren't all signed yet.  So I can't tell you everything.”

Although Berggren is from Massachusetts, he holds a special place in the history of Maine racing.  It's not as a journalist or broadcaster though.  Berggren the driver holds the track record on dirt at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.  He set the mark with a Sprint Car and will likely hold the record forever.

“No one will ever take that away from me unless they rip up the asphalt,” he said.

LITTLE SHOW NEWS ON THE PASS FRONT

The touring series presence at the Northeast Motorsports Expo was a little bit lacking this year.  There were no official displays for either the NASCAR Camping World East Series or the ACT Late Model Tour. 

The Pro All Stars Series did have a display, but none of their flagship PASS North Super Late Models were sitting behind the ropes for fans to see.  There were several PASS North drivers on hand to meet fans throughout the weekend though and the news there was…well…that there was no real news.

Cassius Clark made the trip back to Maine from his new home in North Carolina, where he reports to have been keeping busy by playing golf, with a shorter haircut.

Clark went through the 2008 season vowing that he would not cut his hair until he won something, but he went through the year without any race victories.  So what gives?

“I won a championship,” said Clark, referring to his PASS National Super Late Model title.  “Really, I just got sick of it.”

The buzz then shifted to talk of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car  Racing held in February at New Smyrna Speedway.  The event, commonly known as “Florida Speedweeks” has attracted plenty of northern entries in the past…but whether or not that happens this year remains to be seen.

“I'll be there,” said PASS North champion Johnny Clark.

“I'll be there too,” said Cassius Clark.

“I'd like to be there,” chimed in PASS North standout Adam Bates.

But while both Clarks will be at the track, neither one plans to tow their racecars with them and will be there watching and not racing unless a ride opens up for them.

Former PASS North race winner and 2008 ACT Late Model champion Patrick Laperle is reportedly headed to Speedweeks with his own car to take part in the Crate Late Model division and PASS North and South standout Trevor Sanborn is working on putting a deal together to go to Florida Speedweeks as well.
Meanwhile, back in Maine, PASS North driver Gary Bellefleur has been busy lately as well.  His new off-track venture involves being the new proprietor of a general store in the small town of Stetson, Maine.

“It's the only store in town,” reports Bellefleur.  “We haven't opened it yet and don't know what it will be named either.”

It is also undetermined what role that store will have on Bellefleur's 2009 racing plans.

“I don't know what it means yet,” he said.

IN OTHER NEWS FROM THE NORTH

-  All-Star Speedway has announced their 2009 weekly racing divisions and the Super Late Model division is not one of those.  The track will feature Modifieds as their premier division with Super Streets being the second tier division and “New England Late Models” also racing at the track.  The New England Late Model division will feature ACT rules, but will allow off-set “Super Late Model” type chassis to compete with a 50-pound weight penalty.

-  Troy Randall won the Pre Hangover 150 at New Hampshire's Riverside Speedway.  The unique winter event is in its third year and features enduro cars racing on whatever surface is covering the track in late December.  This time around, that surface consisted of a healthy snowpack.

-  Oxford Plains Speedway's Bill Ryan has been named as a nominee for the Thirty-Third Auto Racing Promoter of the Year (ARPY) Award, chosen by promoters in balloting held by Racing Promotion Monthly.

-  The next racing show in New England will be the Racin' Preview, held at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine on February 20th-21st.

-  Another big event coming up later this winter will be the 10th Annual Busch Sports Scene Charity Snowmobile Ride held in Rangeley, Maine on January 31st.  For More Information, Please Click Here.




















Steve Perry (left) is taking over the reins of the Northeast Motorsports Expo from founder Tim Attaya.  (51 Photo)
Charlie Colby's Super Late Model won the Best in Show award at this year's Expo.  (51 Photo)
Dr. Dick Berggren  (Jamie Williams Photo)
There was some vintage iron at the Expo this year - including this Chevelle racecar.  (51 Photo)
Beech Ridge's Bub Bilodeau is sporting a new look for 2009.  His trademark white colors are out and a sleek new black and blue paint scheme is in on his Super Late Model.  (51 Photo)
(Left to right) PASS drivers Gary Bellefleur , Adam Bates, Johnny Clark and Cassius Clark.   (51 Photo)
Cassius Clark's shorter hair.   (51 Photo)
The sights of the Pre Hangover 150.  (Jamie Williams Photos)