PASS to fill two race dates

Posted Jan. 07, 2009, at 8:43 p.m.

Although the Pro All-Stars Series has lost two race dates at Wiscasset Raceway, series founder and president Tom Mayberry said he doesn’t envision any problems replacing Wiscasset’s dates on his schedule for the Super Late Models, Modifieds and Sportsman auto racing classes.

The Super Late Model North Division series, the Modifieds and the Sportsman will kick off their seasons at Hermon’s Speedway 95 on April 19.

The three classes were supposed to race at Wiscasset on May 16 and Aug. 16, but Mayberry said he found out this past weekend that Wiscasset Raceway owner Doug White “wants to go in a different direction.”

“I was shocked,” said Mayberry. “But that’s fine. We parted on real good terms. There are no hard feelings. Maybe, in the future, we can do something [together].”

White explained that he didn’t know if he could have the track ready for the PASS races on May 16.

“That is our first open practice date. We aren’t racing until May 23. I don’t want to open it until it’s ready for the fans to see,” said White.

He said that Aug. 16 is the date of the Wiscasset Center of Speed 250, one of the main events on the schedule. And he is still trying to secure sponsors for it.

“The advertisers are tightening up and we can’t afford [the PASS races] with the economy the way it is,” said White who added that the four PASS race dates they had last season weren’t money-makers.

He added that he and Mayberry may be able to collaborate on a race next fall.

There will be 14 PASS races for the Super Late Model North series and one date, Aug. 1, has yet to be filled.

However, one of the three open dates will be filled by Canaan Fair Speedway in West Lebanon, N.H., according to Mayberry.

“They’ve done a lot of work to upgrade their facility,” said Mayberry.

He said he is talking to administrators at “two or three [other] tracks” about finding spots for the final two race dates.

“There won’t be any problems [filling them],” he said.

There will be 12 Modified Races and nine Sportsman features, he added.

“There’s a lot of interest in the Modifieds and the Sportsman class picked up four or five [new] guys last year, so we’re pretty optimistic about them,” said Mayberry.

The PASS North Super Late Models will race three times at Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (May 3, June 26, Sept. 13) and once apiece at Speedway 95 (April 19) and Unity Raceway (June 21).

The three races at Beech Ridge are the most for any track.

“Everybody likes going there and we work real closely with Andy [track owner Andy Cusack]. It’s a pretty important spot for us,” said Mayberry.

In addition, there will be two races at White Mountain Motorsports Park (N.H.) on May 23 and Sept. 19 and one apiece at Canaan (yet to be determined), Lee USA Speedway (N.H.) on July 14, Riverside Speedway (N.H.) on July 25, Speedway 660 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on June 13 and Thompson International Speedway (Conn.) on July 11.

However, they won’t run their annual race at Scotia Speedworld in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“It’s a long way to go and it’s tough for the guys to get out of work for a couple of days,” explained Mayberry. “We get along great with [track owner] Cecil Vance and maybe we’ll come to work again in the future. We’ll see what goes on with the border crossing and the price of fuel. We’ll play it by ear.”

Mayberry said he was “real happy” with the schedule.

“It’s spread out well. I’m glad we’re going back to Lee. We haven’t been there in three or four years. And we’re going there midweek … on a Tuesday night [July 14] and it’s going to be very exciting. They’re putting a lot into it,” said Mayberry, who is also pleased about returning to Thompson.

In other news, Mayberry said all the PASS SLM North races will count toward the points this season.

Last season, the drivers were allowed to drop their worst two finishes.

Mayberry explained that it was unfair because some drivers would skip the races that were the farthest away. He also said it was confusing to the fans.

Mayberry broke the news about eliminating the dropped races at a banquet and the drivers loved it, he said.

Ryan is Promoter of Year finalist

Oxford Plains Speedway owner Bill Ryan has been named one of eight finalists for the 33rd annual Auto Racing Promoter of the Year Award, which is chosen by fellow promoters in balloting through Racing Promotion Monthly. He is one of four first-time nominees.

It is short track racing’s most prestigious award.

He concluded his first decade as owner of the track last year.

In his tenure, he has lured such Sprint Cup stars as Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch, who won Cup points championships, to race in the TD Banknorth Oxford 250 along with the likes of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Terry Labonte.

Ryan has also added a highly successful midweek Acceleration Series, and he had the track completely repaved after the 2002 season.

Ryan and OPS received RPM awards for outstanding short track operations in 2000 and 2007.

Ryan called his nomination “pretty cool.”

The 36th annual TD Banknorth Oxford 250 will be held on July 19, which, again, will be an off weekend for the Sprint Cup drivers.

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