Caribou’s Spud Speedway finished strong last weekend to give new owner Troy Haney plenty of optimism for the 2010 season.
Haney bought the racetrack from Greg Veinote in August when a medical condition forced Veinote to sell it.
Veinote had bought the facility from Ralph and Nancy Nason in 2007 and promptly supplied Aroostook County with its first racing since 2000.
“Things went well,” said Haney, who owns Haney Building Specialties in Caribou. “Attendance went up considerably.”
Haney estimated that he put $40,000-$50,000 into the facility including a new 100,000-watt lighting system, bathroom facilities, upgrading the concession stands, new technical and storage buildings and several cosmetic upgrades.
He was quick to point out that there were numerous volunteers and businesses that were instrumental in implementing the improvements.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Haney.
His close friend, Jerry Williams, was a driving force behind the renovations.
Haney intends to move the race cards from Sunday afternoons to Saturday nights next season. He discovered the advantage of Saturday night racing last month when he held a 150-lap Late Model Sportsmen race to headline the program.
“That Saturday night, it was one of those freak midsummer cold nights. It was about 49 degrees and there was a 90 percent chance of rain. But the place was packed,” said Haney, who decided to postpone the race until Sunday afternoon.
“The next day was nice and sunny but we didn’t have nearly the crowd we had Saturday night,” explained Haney.
“Night racing is what people want. They have busy schedules on Sundays. There are a lot of family functions scheduled on Sunday,” said Haney who would use Sunday as a makeup day if Saturday night’s card was rained out.
In addition, he is also looking to add a Thursday night race card for entry level drivers.
Midweek race cards across the state, like Wacky Wednesday at Hermon’s Speedway 95, have been extremely popular.
“We would have four-cylinder cars, enduros and lawnmower races,” said Haney.
Haney is negotiating the possibility of hosting Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model and Modified races; an American-Canadian Tour Late Model race and hosting a Triple Crown Series for his Late Model Class. Triple Crown series are comprised of a three-race deal with points awarded for those three races.
Spud Speedway is a labor of love for the 34-year-old Haney, who used to go to the races at Spud Speedway in the 1990s.
He has been to a lot of different tracks to follow the sport.
“It’s a passion I’ve had,” he said.
He admitted he considered trying to purchase it right before Veinote bought it and when Veinote let it be known he was interesting in selling it this summer, he seized the opportunity to buy it.
“I would have hated to see it close,” said Haney who praised the job done by Greg Veinote and his wife Becky in improving the facility and bringing the sport back to the County after the seven-year absence.
He is proud of the track surface.
“It’s one of the top three surfaces in the state and the second highest-banked track,” he said. “There are two real good racing grooves and it has five corners. You go uphill on the front stretch and downhill on the back stretch. It’s unique.”
He intends to make it a multi-purpose facility with snowmobile races during the winter and a sanctioned tractor pull track. He also wants to hold concerts there.
In looking ahead to next season, he intends to add new concession stands and bathrooms; a new front entrance and a new public address system.
“We want to improve the fan’s experience,” said Haney.
PASS races set Sunday
The Pro All-Stars Series’ Sportsman and Modified divisions will return to action on Sunday afternoon at the White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H.
There will be a 75-lap Sportsman race and a 40-lap Modifieds feature. Racing starts at 1 p.m. and there will be several other local classes of racing, also.
Denmark’s Carey Martin and Oakland’s Mike Landry are tied for the Sportsman lead with 284 points apiece and Dan McKeage of Gorham is just three points back. Levant’s Shane Tatro is fifth.
Scott Grant of Waterboro owns the leads the Modified points with 391, eight more than Andy Shaw of North Conway, N.H. Bill Dixon of North Waterboro is third, two points behind Shaw. Hermon’s Greg Ellis is ninth.
The margin of victory for Hallowell’s Johnny Clark in the final PASS North Super Late Model standings was 32 points over Turner’s Ben Rowe. Scarborough’s Kelly Moore, Hollis’ Richie Dearborn and Adam Bates of Warner, N.H. rounded out the top five. Morrill’s Travis Benjamin finished seventh and Glenburn’s Scott Alexander wound up 14th.
Clark has won back-to-back titles and has four overall championships as does Rowe.
Rowe is currently leading the PASS South SLM standings after winning his third race last weekend, the Southern National 150 in Kenley, N.C.
There are two races left for the PASS South drivers.