Even though it has not held a stock car race since 2015, Troy Haney insists Spud Speedway in Caribou will be ready for the Aroostook Federal Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model race on July 3.
It will be the first PASS race at Spud Speedway since 2010. The winner will pocket $5,000.
“It has been kept up every year. Nothing has changed,” Haney, who owns the one-third-mile track, said.
“It has held up very well considering the age of the track. It has some character, but it isn’t rough by any means. We’ll patch the cracks,” he added.
Haney said the track hasn’t been repaved in over 30 years but that improvements are in the offing including a lighting upgrade, a fencing adjustment and painting new lines on the pavement.
“We’ll make it look great,” he said.
The Firecracker 200 will raise money for some of Aroostook County’s 24 food pantries. Businesses may sponsor a lap for $50 with $35 going to charity and $15 earmarked for a bonus fund for the racers.
If all 200 laps are sold, the food pantries will receive $7,000 and the drivers will have an extra $3,000 in purse money available.
“It’s a win-win. The racers will have a little more money to race for, and a local charity will be able to benefit from the event,” Haney said.
WAGM-TV CBS and Fox Channel 8 in Presque Isle and Catholic Charities of Maine are also involved in the fundraising effort, according to Haney.
The Firecracker 200 carries some extra clout because the winner will earn a spot in the 45th annual Oxford 250 on Aug. 26 or the inaugural PASS Commonwealth Classic 100 at Richmond Raceway on Oct. 20 — whichever they choose.
Three other race winners in the Roads to Oxford and Richmond program this season will have a choice of those two races. The Easter Bunny 150 in North Carolina was won by Californian Preston Peltier. The others are a June 2 race in New Brunswick and a July 29 race at Oxford Plains Speedway.
In addition to the Firecracker 200 at Spud, there will be 50-lap races in the Enduro and Street Stock divisions. The Street Stock winner earns a starting spot in the annual Ikey Dorr Memorial Street Stock 100 at Hermon’s Speedway 95 on the weekend of Oct. 12-14.
A fireworks show will cap the evening.
Haney and PASS president and founder Tom Mayberry discussed the prospect of returning to Spud Speedway.
“The timing seemed right for this year. It’s a chance to be part of the Roads to Oxford and Richmond program. None of the other tracks in Maine make a big deal out of July 4. It all made sense,” Haney said.
He hopes to hold a signature race every year and PASS fits the bill.
“We had tried with the Spud Speedway 150 and we kept that going a few years but the reality is you need a group like PASS to be part of it in order to make it a long-term thing,” Haney said.
He would like to see regular stock car racing return to Spud Speedway, which holds 10 races a year on its go-kart track, but he plans to be patient.
Haney said he would be pleased if they could grow it to the point where they have one racing weekend a month.
A struggling economy, low car counts and poor turnouts contributed to the track’s demise. John Albert had been leasing the track from Haney but decided not to renew after the 2015 season.
At that time, Haney said in the best of the first five years he had owned the track, he lost $25,000.
He said Monday that marketing the track is “not high on my priority list although if an interested party came along, I would certainly discuss it.”
The track is located on a 48-acre parcel and Haney is dedicating 8 acres to a solar farm and is considering installing cellphone towers.
But the track will remain as is and he will continue to handle the upkeep.
He said the July 3 event “should be a good show, a fun show.”
He expects several Canadian drivers to join local racers and the PASS regulars in a healthy race field.
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