November 16, 2018
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Spud Speedway, closed since 2015, hopes big race will revive track

Courtesy of Tom Hale
Courtesy of Tom Hale
Drivers are pictured competing in the Outlaw 100 at Spud Speedway in Caribou in 2014. The track will host stock car racing for the first time since 2015 on Tuesday with the running of the Pro All Stars Series Firecracker 200 Super Late Model Sportsman race.

Troy Haney has spent a lot of time and money preparing Spud Speedway in Caribou for Tuesday night’s Aroostook Federal Credit and Loan Firecracker 200 Pro All Stars Series, or PASS, North Super Late Model race.

Spud Speedway closed after the 2015 season because it was losing money.

It will be the first PASS race at Spud Speedway since 2010.

Haney, who has owned the track since 2009, said even in his best season he lost $25,000.

He hopes this race will trigger interest that could eventually lead to the re-opening of the track for weekly racing. He knows it’s going to be a long process.

“For every track to survive, you need one significant event each year,” Haney said. “This can be our significant event each year and, hopefully, we can build off it.”

“There are different summer tours so between those and different local events, maybe we can eventually have a race each month or four or five over the course of the summer,” Haney said. “We’ll see if we can build it up so we can sustain racing in Aroostook County.”

Haney has been doing what he called major improvements to the track to prepare for Tuesday’s race card.

“We’ve rebuilt the entire grandstands. Bleacher seats have been replaced. We’ve reworked a lot of the (old) fencing and put more safety barriers around the track for the races. We have added lighting and our sound system is tuned up and ready to go,” Haney said. “We’ve been very thorough.

“We want to make sure the racers and fans have the best experience possible.”

The track originally opened in 1964 and has had a variety of owners.

According to North American Motorsports.com, this is the third time Spud Speedway has been closed down. It previously had reopened in 1991 and again between 2003 and 2005.

The facility, which includes a one-third-mile paved oval, is located near the former Loring Air Force, which closed in 1994.

Haney bought the track in August 2009 from Greg Veinote, who was forced to sell it due to a medical condition.

John Albert leased the track from Haney in 2015 but decided against leasing it for another year due to financial constraints.

Frenchville native Shawn Martin, who began his racing career at Spud Speedway, now lives in Turner and races at Oxford Plains Speedway. He called Spud one of the “funnest tracks” he has ever driven.

“The amount of grip is unlike any place I’ve ever raced. It has so much grip. You have to be up on the wheel and really drive the (car),” Martin said.

Martin is unable to make Tuesday’s race.

Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, who won seven races en route to the 2017 ARCA Racing Series championship, will return to race at his home track. He has won two Spud 150s in his career.

The entry list also includes the top three in points in the PASS Super Late Model Tour: Center D.J. Shaw (1,712 points) of Center Conway, N.H., Travis Benjamin of Morrill (1,711) and Derek Griffith of Hudson, N.H. (1,698). Shaw won the June 17 PASS Race at Speedway 95 in Hermon.

Benjamin is the defending points champion and six-time points champion Johnny Clark of Hallowell; four-time champ Ben Rowe of Turner and 2013 titlist Cassius Clark from Farmington also will be among the Spud 150 favorites along with New Brunswick drivers Greg Fahey and Lonnie Sommerville.

The top five finishers are guaranteed starting spots at the Oxford 250 and or the PASS Commonwealth Classic at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

There will also be an Ikey Dorr 50-lap Street Stocks feature and a 50-lap enduro race and a fireworks show after the races.

The Feed the County charity has been the beneficiary of the race card and Haney said they have raised more than $13,000 for Aroostook County’s 24 food pantries.

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