Caribou’s Spud Speedway will open for the season this weekend with practice on Saturday, a full race card on Sunday and plenty of optimism.
“A bunch of new cars have been built. The economy is tough but people still want to do what they like to do for enjoyment,” said Troy Haney, who bought the track in August 2009 from Greg Veinote.
“I think it’s going to be a real good year for car counts and spectator interest,” said Dan Haines, who drove the pace car and sold tires at the track a year ago and will be a scorekeeper this season. “There’s a lot of good buzz around town.”
Haney and Haines both said with the price of gas and tough economic times, people are more likely to stay closer to home for their leisure activities which should be beneficial to the track.
“There’s certainly a reality to that,” agreed Haney. “People can’t afford to go away so they’ll do more things around home.”
Haney also said when figuring in the time involved, going to an afternoon or evening of auto racing is probably the “least expensive” among leisure time activities like going to the movies.
It is $10 for adults and $5 for youngsters ages 5-16.
“We also have family passes. It will cost $25 for two adults and two kids,” said Haney.
Practice will last from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday with Sunday’s racing getting under way at 1 p.m.
A 75-lap Late Model Sportsmen race and a 50-lap Super Street series race will highlight Sunday’s race card.
There will also be the Northern Lights (entry-level, four-cylinder cars), the Street Stocks (entry-level eight-cylinder cars), the Fast-Fours (souped up four-cylinders) and the Young Guns for teenagers.
Haney and Haines pointed out that a lot of drivers have upgraded and moved up in class this year.
“Dana York won our Street Stock class last year and he’s moving up to the Super Streets. He’s going to run both divisions this year,” said Haney. “ Matt Farnham is going up from the Fast Fours to the Super Streets and Connor Thibeau is moving from the Fast Fours to the Late Models.”
Last year’s points champions were Jason Levesque in the Northern Lights, Thibeau in the Fast Fours, York, Mike Howlett in the Super Streets Tharren MacDougal in the Late Model Sportsman and Adam Williams in the Young Guns.
One new addition will be an electronic scoring system.
“It will all be done through radio waves,” explained Haines.
Each driver will have to purchase a small card to put in the window and it will register with an antenna located above the track. It will monitor the lap times, the number of laps and the position of each car.
“The system will be accessible to anybody at the track who has a laptop or a cell phone that can pick up wifi,” explained Haines.
“It will speed up the show because it we’ll be able to line up the cars faster (for a restart),” said Haney.
They will also keep score sheets manually so the two systems will serve to ensure a more accurate list of results.
“It will eliminate any discrepancies,” said Haines.
Haney said it cost him $6,000 for the new electronic scoring system.
“Our local (weekly) guys can buy a card for $30 for the entire season or those who aren’t racing the entire season can rent one for $5 (per day),” said Haney.
Among the other changes, Haney said they have cleared eight and a half acres of wooded land to make a campground and overflow parking area.
Haney explained that the campground will be valuable for their concerts, including the Aug. 20 show featuring country stars Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy.
They are also going to install a mud pit in order to hold mud runs.
Monster Trucks at 95 June 3-5
Hermon’s Speedway 95 will hold its annual Monster Truck shows on June 3-5.
There will be a show on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m.; two on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 and the final show will be Sunday, June 5 at 2 p.m.
Fans will be able to see three of the top trucks and drivers at three Advance Auto Parts stores in eastern Maine on Thursday, June 2, from 2-6 p.m..
Grave Digger and driver Chad Tingler will be at the Advance Auto Parts at 1 Vista Way in Brewer; Excaliber and driver Chris Lagana will be at the store on 84 Downeast Highway in Ellsworth and CrushStation with Greg Winchenback will be at the Advance Auto Parts at 753 Stillwater Ave. in Bangor.
Big Jab 150 re-scheduled
The Big Jab American-Canadian Tour 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway, which was rained out on May 15, has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m.