Economy affecting Supercup series

Posted Aug. 17, 2009, at 8:25 p.m.

It is very risky to have cars racing three-wide on a lot of tracks.

There just isn’t much room and it can often lead to a wreck.

But that’s one of the beauties of the Maine Supercup Racing League.

These cars are modeled after Sprint Cup cars, only they are half the size. They are powered by Honda engines.

So racing three-wide safely is a common occurrence. Four-wide isn’t that unusual.

But the economy has been taking its toll on the series, according to Francis Bernard of Howland, one of the longtime members and racers.

The series has held seven races at Hermon’s Speedway 95 and has also raced at other tracks.

There were only seven cars in Saturday night’s Speedway 95 race. That has been the norm this year after averaging 15 a year ago.

“We’ve been trying to build it up but we’ve been struggling with it,” said Bernard, who won Saturday’s race. “There are a lot of cars around but you can’t force people to come and race. They have to do it on their own.

“I don’t know if it’s the cost of travel or what it is,” added Bernard.

“It’s been tough. You’ve got people who live within 15 minutes of the track who don’t feel like coming. They lack ambition. Hopefully, we’ll have better car counts next year,” said racer Josh Ireland of Howland.

“There are a lot of cars out there that are just sitting,” added racer Fred Ireland, Josh’s father. “But with the economy the way it is, you’ve got to expect it. This has happened with all the [Speedway 95 and other tracks] classes. You have to take it for what it is.”

Bernard said it isn’t an expensive series. A brand new Mini-Cup car costs $8,000 but a used one can be purchased for much less.

Bernard also noted that there is another Mini-Cup series, the Mid-Coast Super Mini-Cup Racing League, and there have been times their schedules have clashed.

He said they’ll hopefully resolve that situation prior to next season.

“I would like to see things get better. I don’t know what the answer is. I wish I knew,” said Bernard.

Despite the low car counts, the racers thoroughly enjoy the series.

“There are the best people you’ll ever meet,” said Fred Ireland. “Everybody helps everybody else out. Everybody gets along. That’s what I really like about it.”

His son concurred.

“It’s nice being able to drive side-by-side, lap after lap, and feel comfortable that they aren’t going to bounce up into you,” said Josh Ireland. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great group of people.”

Bernard said he enjoys the camaraderie and the fact everyone helps each other.

“That’s the only way to make this work,” said Bernard. “You’ve got to be friendly. When people need help, you’ve got to help them.”

Moffitt finishes ninth

Rookie Brett Moffitt, who drives for the Andy Santerre Motorsports Team owned by the Cherryfield native and four-time Camping World East Series points champion, finished ninth in the Mohegan Sun 200 in the Camping World East series race over the road course at Lime Rock Park (Conn.) Saturday night.

Ryan Truex, brother of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr., captured his third win of the season.

The 17-year-old native of Mayetta, N.J., held off TD Banknorth Oxford 250 winner Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass.

Truex, a development driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, expanded his points lead to 50 over MacDonald with two races left.

The next race will be the Heluva Good! 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday, Sept. 18.

Scully Jr. wins PASS race

For the second straight race, a local driver has won a PASS North Super Late Model race.

Tom Scully Jr. of Cranston, R.I., captured the Cirelli Foods 150 at Seekonk Speedway in the first PASS race ever held in Massachusetts Saturday night.

Turner’s Ben Rowe was second and Hallowell’s Johnny Clark finished third.

Orrington’s Scott Alexander was 13th; Brewer native Mike Thomas earned 21st, Farmington’s Cassius Clark finished 22nd, and Morrill’s Travis Benjamin took 28th.

Freedom’s Randy Turner won the last PASS North SLM race two weeks ago at Unity Raceway where he won the 2004 points championship.

Turner won the Wiscasset Raceway Pro Stock points title a year ago.

lmahoney@bangordailynews.net

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