THE JUICE: Right At Home, Even Away
From the glitz of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the grassroots of the ACT Late Model Tour, VMM was right at home last weekend
-by Justin St. Louis
It was a long, interesting weekend for Vermont Motorsports Magazine, one that had many more highs than lows, one that mixed racing worlds, one that kept this writer thinking all week long.
VMM was scheduled to hit five tracks over a four-day span, taking in a total of eight races, but that’s not quite how it worked out. Between rain and tight schedules, we ended up getting to five races at three tracks -- which is still, um, a lot -- and we got a lot of help from our friends and stayed updated throughout the whole process.
The experience as a whole was so different from the regular weekly grind, yet so much the same, at least from a journalistic point of view.
Rush to the race track, get signed in, set up the computer. Pull out the camera and the notepad, then hit pit road. Get some photos, listen to the rumors, go back and write it all down. Repeat.
The only difference was the subject. Within a 48-hour span, VMM fired questions at local guys Nick Sweet and Dave Pembroke, global stars including Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch, and back again to grassroots racers like Travis Adams and Tyler Cahoon.
We went from a catered buffet lunch of ginger-glazed chicken, creamy scalloped potatoes, and rich chocolate cake at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, to a $2.50 hot dog dinner at White Mountain Motorsports Park. From the air conditioning, electronic scoring monitors, and closed-circuit television of the infield media center at NHMS, to laying in the rain-soaked sand at White Mountain Motorsports Park to get an interview with a volunteer crew chief. We spoke with four-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, who was “pissed” at Busch for giving him a little bump at NHMS, to Mike Billado, who was nearly speechless after his first win Thunder Road, and everyone in between.
It was a clashing of worlds, yet it felt all the same. They’re all race cars and they’re all drivers, they just race in different places with different budgets. It wasn’t the first time I’d been to NHMS to cover an event. Heck, it wasn’t even the first time this year. But something felt different. It felt really good. Maybe it’s because I kept coming home to the short tracks all weekend.
To be perfectly honest, VMM had a good week in terms of numbers and hits, and had great feedback from our readers, but none of it was any better or worse than a normal week at, say, Bear Ridge or Thunder Road or Devil’s Bowl. The highly-paid writers and publicists we rubbed elbows with at NHMS thought we were crazy for running around to a bunch of short tracks and watching races that paid less to the winner than a pit pass costs a Cup driver, but there’s nowhere we’d rather be.
And when we go back to New Hampshire in September, we’ll get both worlds at the same time in the same place.
Personally, I can’t wait for it. Here’s to the rest of the season.
AROUND THE REGION:
Time to take a look at the top Vermonters from the past weekend...
ACT Late Model Tour: Brian Hoar of Williston won Saturday’s event at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Eric Williams of Hyde Park was second with Milton drivers Brent Dragon sixth and Scott Payea seventh, Craig Bushey of Cambridge eighth, and East Montpelier’s Joey Laquerre tenth.
Airborne Speedway (Plattsburgh, N.Y.): Saturday’s races were rained out.
Albany-Saratoga Speedway (Malta, N.Y.): Mike Bruno of Bomoseen was Friday’s Modified runner-up, with Jimmy Ryan of Whiting ninth. Hunter Bates of Middlebury was fifth in the Sportsman race.
Bear Ridge Speedway (Bradford): Adam Pierson of Fairlee won Saturday’s Sportsman Modified feature over Gary Siemons of Orford, N.H., and rookie Derek Graham of Woodsville, N.H. Gene Pierson of East Corinth won the Sportsman Coupe race over Corinth’s Bryan King and Melvin Pierson of East Corinth. Will Hull of East Montpelier won the Limited Late Model race over Jeremy Hodge of Newbury and Troy Comeau of Rumney, N.H. White River Junction’s Josh Sunn extended his Fast Four unbeaten streak to seven races, with St. Johnsbury’s Kevin Harran and Andy Johnson of Wilder completing the podium. Eric Lang of Groton took his first Hornet win over Tom Placey of Bradford and Mike Chapin of Chelsea. Melissa King of Corinth won the Hornet Queen race. Dan Douville of Concord, N.H., won the SCoNE Sprint Car race over Nick Berry of Ossipee, N.H., and Shawn Lawler of Mason, N.H.
Big Daddy's Speedway (Rumney, N.H.): Kevin Chaffee of Orange was Sunday’s Sportsman Modified runner-up, with Ed Tobin of Hartland fourth, Bradford’s Ryan Dutton eighth, and Bryan King of Corinth tenth. Josh Sunn of White River Junction won the Mini Stock race over Jesse Durkee of Sharon, with St. Johnsbury’s Kevin Harran fourth.
Canaan Dirt Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Dan Eastman of Thetford Center was fourth in Friday’s Sportsman Modified race, with Josh Sunn of White River Junction second in the Mini Stock race. Dakota Stender of Tunbridge won the Bandit race. Kevin Chaffee of Orange was the SCoNE Sprint Car runner-up.
Canaan Fair Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Kevin Menard of South Royalton was eighth in Saturday’s Pro Stock feature, and Hartland’s Bruce Jaycox was sixth in the Super Streets. Jamie Hodgdon of Ascutney was the Pure Stock winner, and Bradford’s Mike Parker was second in the Bandits.
Devil's Bowl Speedway (West Haven): Kenny Tremont, Jr., of West Sand Lake, N.Y., won Sunday’s Modified race over Jimmy Ryan of Whiting and Brandon’s Don Scarborough. Alex Bell of Cambridge, N.Y., won the Sportsman feature over Jared McMahon of Hydeville and Kevin Wright. Jon Miller of Malta, N.Y., was the Renegade winner over Bill Duprey of Hydeville and Larry Underwood of Milton. Bobby LaVair of Gabriels, N.Y., won the Bomber Warrior race over Essex Junction drivers Chad Brown and Dave Tomczak, and Garrett Given of Cornwall was the Duke Stock winner over Castleton drivers Scott Atwood and Erika Lilly.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: David Stremme finished 31st at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday for Vermont-based Latitude 43 Motorsports.
Pro All Stars Series: Steven Legendre of St. Johnsbury was 26th in Saturday’s event Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C. Andy Loden of Stanley, N.C., was the winner.
Riverside Speedway (Groveton, N.H.): Dan Sidney of St. Johnsbury won Friday’s Outlaw Sportsman feature, while Lorin Vear of Waterford won the Cyclone event. Cabot’s Lyndsey Christman won the Angel race.
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (Barre): Nick Sweet of Barre won Friday’s Vermont Governor’s Cup 100 over Jamie Fisher of Shelburne and Dave Pembroke of Middlesex. Mike Billado of Essex won the Tiger Sportsman race over Danville rookie Jason Corliss and Josh Demers of Middlesex. Tim Campbell of West Topsham won the Street Stock feature over David Whitcomb of Elmore and Lloyd Blakely of Graniteville, and Ken Christman was the Junkyard Warrior winner over Kevin Dodge of Barre and Fred Schroeder of Bristol.
Twin State Modified Series: Kevin Chaffee of Orange was the runner-up on Sunday at Big Daddy’s Speedbowl, with Ed Tobin of Hartland eighth. Jason Sanville of Rumney, N.H., was the winner.
Twin State Speedway (Claremont, N.H.): Rutland's Dallas Trombley was Friday’s Late Model runner-up, and Robert Hagar of Windsor was the Modified winner. Chris Wilk of Mendon was the Super Street winner with Hartland’s Bruce Jaycox third, and Jacksonville’s Kaitlin Stone won the Strictly Stock feature with Waitsfield’s David Greenslit third. Rob Leitch of Cavendish was the Wildcat winner over Jeremiah Losee of North Springfield, and East Montpelier's Jeff Laquerre, Jr., won the Sportsman youth race over Adam Manley of Putney.
White Mountain Motorsports Park (North Woodstock, N.H.): Stevie Parker of Lyndonville was third in Saturday’s Strictly Stock feature, and Ernie Snider of Orange was sixth in the Strictly Stock Mini race. Williston’s Brian Hoar won the ACT Late Model Tour event with Eric Williams of Hyde Park second.
Thursday, July 1
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre -- 6:30pm (ACT Tiger Tour 100)
Friday, July 2
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 6:45pm (Regular Event)
Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 7:00pm (Twin State Modified Series)
Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 7:30pm (Regular Event)
Saturday, July 3
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford -- 6:00pm (Late Model Madness)
Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 5:00pm (PASS 150)
Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. � 6:00pm (Modified Racing Series 100)
Riverside Speedway, Groveton, N.H. -- 5:30pm (Late Model 100)
White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Sunday, July 4
Big Daddy's Speedbowl, Rumney, N.H. -- 4:00pm (Modified 50)
Devil's Bowl Speedway, West Haven -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre � 6:30pm (Regular Event)
ACT Tiger Tour: Thu., July 1 -- Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre (6:30pm)
Modified Racing Series: Sat., July 3 -- Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. (6:00pm)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Fri., July 2 -- Daytona Int’l Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. (ESPN/7:30pm)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sat., July 3 -- Daytona Int’l Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. (TNT/7:30pm)
Pro All Stars Series: Sat., July 3 -- Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (5:00pm)
Twin State Modified Series: Fri., July 2 � Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (7:00pm)
(Brian Hoar photo by Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com)