The Pro All-Stars series will make its first ever appearance at Spud Speedway when the Caribou track opens for the season on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The PASS North Super Late Models and Modifieds will make their Spud Speedway debuts on Saturday, Aug. 21.
“I think it’s going to be a good show,” said Troy Haney, who bought Spud Speedway from Greg Veinote last August.
The PASS Sportsman will have some company as Spud Speedway’s Super Street drivers will be eligible to run in the 75-lap race.
Denmark’s Carey Martin captured the PASS Sportsman points title a year ago by just two points over Oakland’s Mike Landry. Martin won the tour’s first race earlier this month at Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with Landry following him across the finish line.
Dan Mckeage from Gorham, the 2007 points champion, will be another driver very much in the hunt. Mckeage followed his championship with fourth- and third-place finishes.
Levant’s Shane Tatro should also be battling for the win. He won two races a year ago and wound up sixth in the points for the second straight year. In each of the last two seasons, he has missed one of the seven races but still managed to finish in the top 10.
Tatro’s two wins a year ago were second only to Martin’s three victories.
Sunday afternoon racing will go by the wayside at Spud Speedway after the first two weekends of the season.
Haney has decided to switch to Saturday night racing beginning June 12.
“When we had racing on Sunday afternoons [last season], you’d get 150-200 in the grandstands. Then we changed to Saturday nights and we had 1,000-1,500,” Haney said.
Haney has also decided to make the Late Model class a weekly division.
“They only raced here a couple of times here last year,” explained Haney. “We feel the car count will be there once we get it going. And the fans like to see it. The fans really came out last year when the Late Models raced.”
The Late Model class is the top class at five of six Maine racetracks. Beech Ridge in Scarborough still has the Pro Stocks.
Haney hopes to get “12 to 15” Late Models to start the season and more will come as the season progresses.
“A few Canadians are staring to come back and I’ve been [pleasantly] surprised to see that we’re going to get a few from the Bangor area,” said Haney, who noted that some of the down-state drivers have camps in Aroostook County.
Haney has been encouraged by the preregistered number of cars.
“We have a little over 80 cars. When I bought it, we had 40-45 cars,” he said.
Haney and his employees have been busy preparing for Sunday’s opener.
Haney said he has spent close to $150,000 renovating the track.
It includes a new sound system that will stretch across the track, new concession stands, a memorabilia store, new bathrooms and 30-40 more pit stalls for the racers.
“We just bought 1,400 yards of material to expand the pits. The guys need room to work on their cars,” said Haney.
In addition to the PASS Sportsman class, there will also be racing in the Young Guns, Northern Lights, Fast Fours, Street Stocks and Late Models.
Sunday’s racing will cost $10 for adults and $5 for youngsters ages 8-16. A pit pass will be $20.
The drivers can practice on Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Former soldiers from a local veterans home will be honored Sunday afternoon.
’95’ racing Saturday night
Like Haney, Speedway 95 co-owner Del Merritt has decided to move his track’s race cards from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night.
But Merritt is making the move immediately.
And Saturday’s headliner will be a 95-lap Late Model race that will pay the winner $1,500.
The second-place driver will pocket $700 and the third-place finisher will take home $500.
Racing will begin at 7 p.m.
Merritt usually schedules his early-season races on Sunday afternoons before moving them to Saturday nights beginning in June when the weather is warmer and school is out.
“Our car counts have been disappointing,” said Merritt whose first race weekend was April 25. “We want to see what Saturday night does. Sunday just doesn’t work for us.
“Racing under the lights makes racing look a lot more exciting. I enjoy night racing. It’s so much better. The drivers like it better, too, because the cars are cooler,” said Merritt.
He will keep a close eye on the car counts in the coming weeks.
Wacky Wednesday, the popular race program for entry level drivers, starts this Wednesday evening.
He is considering merging the two programs and having them race on Saturday nights if the car counts and attendance dwindle.
“I don’t want to do it. But we have to be able to survive,” he said.
There won’t be any racing the following weekend (June 5-6) because Merritt wants to clean the track up after the annual Monster Truck shows.
Those shows will be held on Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 with two shows on Saturday (2 p.m. and 7:30 p .m.).
“The Monster Trucks fill the place but it’s hard to get the track race-ready right after it,” said Merritt.
The Monster Trucks have been a money-maker for Merritt and co-owner Alice Baker, who rent the track out for the event and also earn money from the concessions.
“It’s a win-win situation for us,” he said.
He explained that the reason for the Monster Trucks’ success is the fact it is a “once-a-year thing, it’s heavily promoted and younger kids generally get excited about it.”