–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
To me, the racing season doesn’t truly start until tracks kick off their weekly grind.
So, I guess we can say, racing season is finally here.
Sure, the special events that create the big hype shortly after the snow is gone are great, but it’s hard to get a rhythm.
Even for lowly “journalists” like me who have to skip a race to go to California.
Airbone Park Speedway, Bear Ridge Speedway, and Legion Speedway turn it up to 10 this weekend and begin their weekly racing seasons, seasons that won’t end until mid-to-late September.
Bear Ridge is on the cusp of their 50th season, but their 49th season is shaping up to be their best, yet. Over 20 DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds attended Saturday’s test-and-tune session after their Upper Valley Car Show, just eight short years after car counts were in the single digits. The rise in Bear Ridge’s popularity has been drastic in the past few seasons and it appears Bear Ridge is readying for another great season.
Legion has moved its entire racing program to Friday nights, a move that will take some time to see if it pays off. However, Legion prepares for its second season under promoter Dean Hanson, who appears to have brought some stability to the track that has seen instability for much of the 21st century.
The most intriguing, however, might be Airborne Park Speedway.
Airborne faced an uncertain future following the announcement that the 1/2-mile oval was put up for sale and would not open for weekly racing without a new promotional team. Longtime American-Canadian Tour official and Plattsburgh, N.Y. resident John Walker, however, secured a lease that will see Airborne run weekly once again in 2016.
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It might take a while to get used to not seeing that orange No. 27nh on the track. It’s just so different.
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Chicken and Fries with some gravy and cheese topped with a little bit of clay dust and you have your self the perfect meal at Bear Ridge.
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Some might have been surprised how quickly Scott Payea got to victory lane with Rick Paya two weeks ago at Lee USA Speedway, but it could be just the beginning for the two.
Payea and Paya have both secured secured ACT Late Model Tour wins at the next three tracks that hold races – Thunder Road, Airborne, and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Payea’s first career ACT Late Model Tour win came at Thunder Road, a track that Paya has had tremendous success over the years. Payea won the first Airborne race with the new progressive banking configuration in 2009, while Paya earned numerous victories again at Airborne with Hoar and Cyr. Payea earned a victory at Waterford in 2008 while Paya earned a victory one year later with Hoar in 2009.
Everyone knew the two would likely be a dangerous duo and would contend for wins week in and week out, but to visit victory lane in just their second race together only reinforced what everyone though.
The win also reinforces the team that Paya has assembled after the departure of two key members of the team over the offseason, team manager Andrew Hill and tire specialist Rich Palmer.
The well-oiled machine that Paya has put together keeps on ticking.
PHOTO: As three local tracks kick their season into high gear, racing season has finally arrived. (Alan Ward photo)