Vermont Motorsport Magazine Sponor

The Juice

THE JUICE: Staying In Maine

- Justin St. Louis on 22 Jul 2010

Eric LaFleche/ photo
-by Justin St. Louis
VMM Editor

The TD Bank Oxford 250 has come and gone. Eddie MacDonald won after leader Brad Leighton had a flat tire, blah, blah, blah. You’ve read the stories, you know all that.

Here’s the other side of it. I’ll preface this article by telling you that I look forward to every trip I make to Oxford Plains Speedway, just as I have done since my first ‘250’ when I was nine years old. I’ve made the long trip from Chittenden County to the Maine track probably twenty times, and I plan on making many more in the coming years.

Overall, the Oxford 250 was, is, and always will be a great event, no matter the cars, the drivers, or the winner.

But this year we were left wanting more in the production of the race, and departed OPS media man and announcer Kalle Oakes was never more missed -- as many in the press box expected he would be -- than Sunday. The team that replaced him has either bad instincts or bad direction, but something was amiss.

Playing more than ten seconds of music over the public address system while race cars circle the track is simply unacceptable. During pace laps and cautions for virtually every race during the weekend (with the exception of the Modified Racing Series on Saturday night), only minimal starting lineups or restart lineups were announced, if any, and not a single bit of information was given about any driver in any division. Rather than talk about the racers or paint the picture of what to expect, those in attendance were forced to listen to how Sammy Hagar can’t drive 55.

At a race, the announcer makes the show, whether the racing is good or not. So talk! Ken Squier, Dave Moody, Troy Germain, John Spence, Rob and Rick Knowles -- hey, maybe even Oxford legend Bobby Walker? -- do it right whether it’s an eight-lap heat race or the biggest show in the land.

But what’s most bothersome about the situation was a Sunday morning conversation with track owner Bill Ryan, in which Ryan praised the quality of PA work from MRS announcer Spence and how Spence is always giving information, even if the hum of the race cars is too loud for fans to hear him.

Ryan, who is also a principal in the Maine Red Claws minor-league basketball team, said that he has noticed how fans and spectators become restless “when there’s no sound” at sporting events. He said that men like Spence are to be commended for their constant “old school” flow of information to race fans, especially during caution periods.

When the whistle blows and play stops at a basketball, hockey, or football game -- the equivalent of a yellow flag -- the PA system usually has 10 to 15 seconds of energetic music blaring out to fans to keep the energy level up.

Well, public address announcing is not the same animal in racing as it is in other sports. Breaks don’t last 15 seconds, they last three to five minutes.

Music is fine when drivers are strapping into their cars before the start of the race. “The Final Countdown” has been an ACT/Thunder Road staple for 25 years, and last year I heard a Black Eyed Peas song at Riverside Speedway that I thought worked very well. Go to any major NASCAR event and you’ll hear something catchy during the pre-race.

But as far as yellow flags go, when the cars are quiet and there’s time to soak in the drama and set up for the next green flag, that’s when the fans should know that Jim A in the No. 31 car took time off from his plumbing job to bring his race car to the track and challenge bank president Fred B in the No. 74 for the win tonight.

The fact that Ryan himself brought that up, but then his announcing team went the stick-and-ball route, doesn’t make sense.

Hey, I’m not the only one that said so. Ask anyone in the press box that day how they felt about it. Ask the fans we followed on Twitter who were in the grandstands. It was painful.

When Brad Keselowski, Derek Kneeland, Joey Laquerre, and Dale Verrill were about to slug it out with only a handful of laps remaining in the “B” feature to determine the final qualifying spot into the Oxford Freaking 250, what did we hear?

“No I won’t… back… down.”

And that wasn’t Verrill’s radio chatter. No, that was Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers.

Again, I love the 250, and Oxford is a fun place to go watch a race. The racing was entertaining and it was worth the trip. But the “show” needs some work.


We caught up with Dale Brackett, who is headed to O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis for his second attempt at racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday.

The Strong, Me., racer missed the show in his debut at Martinsville in March when rain washed out qualifying. With 37 teams entered for 36 starting spots at ORP, Brackett’s chances to make his first start this weekend are good.

Brackett picked up a new crew chief, former PASS Super Late Model racer Joe Decker, a local Indiana sponsor, and says his experience at Martinsville has his team in a much better position to perform.

“We picked up J&C Concrete and that’s a huge help,” said Brackett. “We tested at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway a while ago and Joe is making some good calls. I’m really comfortable in the truck. We’ve learned a lot and now we’re getting ready to go back to school.”

Brackett said he “didn’t have a clue” about NASCAR procedures at Martinsville, but is better prepared for ORP. He said simply getting into the infield pits was a challenge.

“They do a sort of roll call to get in the pits,” Brackett said. “We didn’t have our number on the trailer, and we didn’t have a CB radio in the hauler when they were calling out numbers. They must have thought we were crazy. When we go to a PASS race we deal with three or four officials. NASCAR has sixty. It’s a lot to learn, but we’re adjusting well and we’re ready to learn a lot more.”


The ACT Late Model Tour heads to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway near Portland, Me., on Saturday for another edition of The Brian Hoar Show.

In case you’ve been under a rock this year, Hoar is dominating with six top fives in six starts, and won the last two races at White Mountain and Airborne. He leads the standings by 110 points over Brent Dragon, and we’re not even halfway through the season. Dragon has been fast with five top tens, but owns just a single ACT top five this season.

Oh, and the winner at Beech Ridge last year? Yep, Brian Hoar.


Josh Sunn of White River Junction took his second three-track weekend sweep of the season, winning Mini Stock/Fast Four features at Canaan Dirt Speedway on Friday, Bear Ridge Speedway on Saturday, and Big Daddy’s Speedbowl on Sunday.

They were the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd feature wins of the season for Sunn, who has won five of eleven races at Canaan, is undefeated in ten starts at Bear Ridge, and has won eight of ten at Big Daddy’s. It should come as no surprise that he leads the point standings at all three tracks.



Time to take a look at the top Vermonters from the past weekend...

Airborne Speedway (Plattsburgh, N.Y.): Don Scarborough of Brandon won Saturday’s Modified shootout and Lance Rabtoy of Fairfax was the Renegade winner.

Albany-Saratoga Speedway (Malta, N.Y.): Friday’s races were rained out.

Bear Ridge Speedway (Bradford): Adam Pierson of Fairlee won Saturday’s Sportsman Modified event over Jason Gray of East Thetford and rookie Dan Eastman of Thetford Center. Rookies Share Race of South Strafford and Jeremy Stygles of Bradford finished 1-2 in the Sportsman Coupes with Gene Pierson, Jr., of East Corinth third. Tyler Stygles of Bradford won the Limited Late Model race over East Montpelier’s Will Hull and Jason Blake of Moretown. Josh Sunn of White River Junction got his tenth-straight Fast Four win over Tim Hodge of Vershire and Kevin Harran of St. Johnsbury. Tom Placey of Bradford won the Hornet race over Groton’s Eric Lang and Scott Keithan.

Big Daddy's Speedway (Rumney, N.H.): Ed Tobin of Hartland was fourth in Sunday’s Sportsman Modified feature, and Will Hull of East Montpelier was the Outlaw Late Model runner-up. White River Junction’s Josh Sunn won the Mini Stock feature with St. Johnsbury’s Kevin Harran fourth.

Canaan Dirt Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Rookie Dan Eastman of Thetford Center won Friday’s Sportsman Modified feature, and Will Hull of East Montpelier was third in the Street Stocks. Josh Sunn of White River Junction won the Mini Stock race, and Dakota Stender of Tunbridge won the Bandit race.

Canaan Fair Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Kevin Menard of South Royalton was sixth in Saturday’s Pro Stock feature, and Jamie Hodgdon of Ascutney was third in the Pure Stocks. Bradford’s Mike Parker was the Bandit runner-up, and Brandon Gray of East Thetford won the Daredevil race.

Devil's Bowl Speedway (West Haven): Don Mattison of Wells won Sunday’s Modified feature over Marc Johnson of Guilderland, N.Y., and Vince Quenneville, Jr., of Brandon. Don Miller of Wells was the Sportsman winner over Jack Swinton of Hudson Falls, N.Y., and Middlebury’s Hunter Bates. Bill Duprey of Hydeville was the Renegade winner over David Emigh of Ballston Spa, N.Y., and Mike Ostrander. Colin Clow won the Bomber Warrior race over Nate Woodworth of Essex Junction and Paul Woodworth. Garrett Given of Cornwall was the Duke Stock winner over Brian Bishop and Castleton’s Erika Lilly.

Granite State Mini Sprints: Terry Reil of Middlesex was the 600cc runner-up behind Dave Morgan on Saturday at Bear Ridge Speedway, and Lacey Hanson of Orwell was the 500cc feature winner.

Lebanon Valley Speedway (West Lebanon, N.Y.): Chuck Towlsee of Manchester was Saturday’s Pro Stock runner-up.

Modified Racing Series: Ascutney rookie Joey Jarvis was tenth in Saturday’s event at Oxford Plains Speedway, with uncle Dwight Jarvis 18th. Andy Seuss of Hampstead, N.H., was the winner.

Mohawk Int’l Raceway (Akwesasne, N.Y.): Todd Stone of Middlebury won Friday’s DIRTcar 358 Modified feature.

Monadnock Speedway (Winchester, N.H.): Nate Kehoe of Windham was fifth in Saturday’s Sportsman Modified race and Joe Rogers of Ludlow was fifth in the Mini Stocks.

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Shelburne’s Kevin Lepage finished 35th at Gateway Int’l Raceway on Saturday.

Oxford Plains Speedway: Brian Hoar of Williston was second in Sunday’s TD Bank 250, with Brent Dragon of Milton fourth. Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., was the winner.

Pro All Stars Series: Scott Dragon of Colchester was 14th in Saturday’s event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Bill Rodgers of Old Orchard Beach, Me., was the winner.

Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (Barre): Mike Bailey of South Barre won Thursday’s Late Model feature over Reno Gervais of Island Pond and Cris Michaud of Northfield. Eric Badore of Milton was the Tiger Sportsman winner over David Finck of Barre and Shawn Fleury of Middlesex. Lloyd Blakely of Graniteville won the Street Stock feature over Hardwick’s Joe Fecteau and Joe Blais of Orange. Ken Christman of Cabot was the top Junkyard Warrior over Fred Schroeder of Bristol and Josh Erwin of Waterbury.

Twin State Speedway (Claremont, N.H.): Rutland's Dallas Trombley was eighth in Friday’s Late Model feature, and Robert Hagar of Windsor was fourth in the Modifieds. Chris Wilk of Mendon was the Super Street runner-up, and Kaitlin Stone won the Strictly Stock race over Pittsford’s Kyle Davis. Jeremiah Losee of North Springfield was the Wildcat winner over Rob Leitch of Cavendish and Dick Houle of West Brattleboro. Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier was the Sportsman winner.

White Mountain Motorsports Park (North Woodstock, N.H.): Bernie Lantagne of McIndoe Falls was third in Saturday’s Late Model race and Stevie Parker of Lyndonville was the Strictly Stock runner-up. Michael Moore of East Haven was third in the Super Sportsman race.



Thursday, July 22
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre -- 6:30pm (Regular Event)

Friday, July 23
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 6:45pm (Modified Tri-Track Series 50)
Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 7:00pm (Regular Event)
Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 7:30pm (Regular Event)

Saturday, July 24
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford -- 6:00pm (Twin State Modified Series Finale)
Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 5:00pm (Modified Racing Series)
Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Riverside Speedway, Groveton, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)

Sunday, July 25
Big Daddy's Speedbowl, Rumney, N.H. -- 4:00pm (Regular Event)
Devil's Bowl Speedway, West Haven -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)


ACT Late Model Tour: Sat., July 24 -- Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, Me. (6:00pm)
Modified Racing Series: Sat., July 24 -- Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (5:00pm)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Fri., July 23 -- O’Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Ind. (SPEED/7:30pm)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Sat., July 24 -- O’Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Ind. (ESPN/7:30pm)
Pro All Stars Series: Thu., July 22 -- Thompson Int’l Speedway, Thompson, Conn. (6:00pm)
Twin State Modified Series: Sat., July 24 -- Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt. (6:00pm)

Photo by Eric LaFleche/


"I don’t care what kind of car it is. If it’s got four tires and steering wheel, I’ll drive it." --Nick Sweet

"I want a championship next year, that’s what I want. I’m gonna get it next year. If I run the full season, I’m gonna get it." --Modified Racing Series driver Steve Masse

"I’ve never had a season where we’ve had this number of podium finishes. Never. And I dare say nobody else has, either." --ACT champion Brian Hoar

"It’s crazy to think that however many years ago I was sitting in the stands up here watching my dad trying to make the race and now we’re in victory lane." --Milk Bowl winner Joey Polewarczyk

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