June 29, 2012

Local Motorsports: Looking for ways to prepare for 250

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The TD Bank 250 is the next event on the American Canadian Tour, but that race is more than three weeks away.

DRIVER STANDINGS

ACT Late Model

1. Wayne Helliwell Jr., Dover, N.H., 465 points

2. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H., 446

3. Brian Hoar, Williston, Vt., 430

4. Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, 423

5. Randy Potter, Groveton, N.H., 364

NEXT RACE: TD Bank North 250, Oxford Plains Speedway, July 22

PASS North Super Late Model

1. Travis Benjamin, Morrill, 1077

2. Johnny Clark, Hallowell, 1063

3. Joey Doiron, Berwick, 1058

4. D.J. Shaw, Center Conway, N.H., 1053

5. Cassius Clark, Farmington, 1036

NEXT RACE: Firecracker 150, Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H., on Saturday

Drivers are trying to stay sharp any way they can for the July 22 race at Oxford Plains Speedway.

"At some point we're going to rent (the race track) and spend the day there and get dialed in to where we think we need to be," said Joey Polewarczyk Jr., who trails leader Wayne Helliwell Jr. by 19 points after five races. "We might go to Oxford for their weekly race July 14."

According to track owner Bill Ryan, business gets more brisk at the speedway during the three weeks leading up to the 250.

"Last year, one Saturday night, we had 37 Late Model cars," he said. The division is averaging 25 cars in its weekly Saturday night races.

No more than 30 cars can qualify for the weekly 40-lap features, which means some drivers could get no more than 15 racing laps.

"For a short race, it's a mess if we try to run 37 cars," Ryan said. "It doesn't make sense for anything under a 100-lap race."

In the next two weeks, Late Model drivers will have plenty of opportunity to run their cars. The speedway will run 40-lap features in that division Saturday night and on the Fourth of July, July 7 and July 14.

Glen Luce of Turner, ranked 16th among the 25 drivers who regularly run the ACT circuit, intends to run in three of those feature races but also brought his car to the track for testing.

"I've been trying different setups and trying to get the car quick for a 20-lap sprint race and also have longevity," he said.

Not every ACT racing team can afford to spend $100 per hour to rent the speedway.

"Obviously the best thing a (driver) can do is to continue to race and continue to keep on top of his game," said Ben Ashline, a 21-year-old from Pittston tied for 10th in the ACT standings. "We're a very low-budget team, extremely low budget."

Ashline doesn't know how often he can afford to run at the speedway prior to the 250, but does know he should get into shape to handle a long race day.

"It's a big race, a long race, and it's about the hottest time of the summer," he said. "I've had heat stroke in the 250 before and it's not fun, so I've been working out trying to keep myself physically fit."

JOEY DOIRON seems to have shaken off the bad luck that plagued him last season.

Going into Saturday night's Firecracker 150 at Canaan Fair Speedway in New Hampshire, the 20-year-old from Berwick is among the top drivers on the Pro All-Star Series North tour.

"We're definitely a little better prepared than we've been the last two years," he said. "Basically, stuff is starting to come together. We've always been fast but we haven't had the luck to have a decent finish."

Doiron, PASS North's rookie of the year in 2010, chalked up his first win on the regional tour for Super Late Models on May 5 in the opener at Beech Ridge. This season he has three top-five finishes, more than he had in his first two years combined.

Doiron hasn't raced at the New Hampshire track since 2010, when he finished 15th.

"We got the car torn up the week before and we didn't have enough time to get it back on the track," he said.

This season, Doiron has kept his car on the track.

WHILE ACT is shutting down for the next three weekends, PASS North is entering one of its busiest times of the season.

After Saturday night's race in New Hampshire, the Super Late Models will race in the SouthernMaineMotors.com 150 at Beech Ridge on July 7, a 75-lap race at Thompson International Speedway on July 12 and a 150-lap race at Oxford Plains Speedway on the night of July 21, the eve of the TD Bank 250.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

 

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