PHOTO: RPM Motorsports finally found the right combination for its No. 57 car at Thunder Road last week. (Alan Ward photo)
-by Justin St. Louis
Nick Sweet winning in the RPM Motorsports No. 57 car proves that Rick Paya’s cars are on equal footing.
Fans have grumbled that the 57 ride wasn’t on the same page as Brian Hoar’s No. 37 entry when Austin Theriault was in the seat because Theriault was RPM’s “second” driver. Theriault is supremely talented behind the wheel and Paya is equally strong in the garage, but it was just a case of a great driver and a great team not clicking. That type of thing happens all the time.
It’s easy to forget that Hoar and RPM struggled through the first half of 2009 when they joined forces. Mike Stefanik — a driver with more championships than some guys have starts — struggled in his ride in the 57 at New Hampshire.
Obviously, Austin Theriault is fine in his own car now — hello, five-straight top-five finishes, anyone? — and it’s likely just a matter of time before he gets that first win. Keep in mind that Theriault is only 17 years old and hasn’t learned everything yet.
In the meantime, let’s put the RPM 37-vs.-57 debate to rest.
Airborne Speedway promoter Mike Perrotte confirmed to VMM that short track representatives from NASCAR and the Whelen All-American Series paid him a visit on Wednesday to discuss sanctioning options for the burgeoning Plattsburgh, N.Y., half-mile.
Perrotte said he listened to the NASCAR presentation and took notes, but will not be swaying from his agreement with World Racing Group and DIRTcar in the foreseeable future.
VMM has also confirmed that those same NASCAR representatives stuck around this part of the country on Thursday and spoke with the promoters of two other northeastern tracks — including one facility that is not currently under NASCAR sanction — to discuss possible future plans.
NDS Motorsports of Georgia, Vt., is building itself a nice reputation beyond the borders of its long-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series home. The team, led by Steve Hibbard with driver Andrew Ranger, just posted its third top-five finish in as many starts on the national ARCA Racing Series.
In three races, the team has a win on the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park, a fifth-place finish on the high-banked, 1.5-mile superspeedway at Chicagoland, and on Monday, a fifth-place run on the mile dirt track at the historic DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois.
That’s in addition to strong K&N East and West runs at places like Phoenix, Richmond, and Salt Lake, and a sixth-place run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Road America.
Chip Grenier says he’s been thinking about making the jump to dirt next year. After what I saw him do in that Modified special at Bear Ridge last week, I say go for it. Grenier was two-tenths of a second faster than any of the other drivers and showed that dirt might fit his driving style perfectly.
That makes sense, seeing as how he was sideways just about every lap of his Tiger career at Thunder Road.
And he could have won Bucktona.
Quinny Welch just got his fourth consecutive Late Model win at White Mountain Motorsports Park last week, and is going for five in a row tonight. Yikes.
I hate the way Devil’s Bowl Speedway just sputtered out at the end of the year. I understand that there wasn’t much that could be controlled in terms of weather, but there could have been a make-up race run this weekend, rather than just pulling the plug altogether. The racers deserve better, and so do the fans, the sponsors, and NASCAR.
It’s sad, really.
I’ve heard of a couple potential buyers for the facility, and if what I’ve heard is true, then I believe that one of them — a racer — isn’t just kicking the tires. Let’s hope things get back on track next year at the Bowl.