PHOTO: The Sprint Cars of New England set a record for number of cars attempting to qualify this past weekend. Here, Brandon Valley (#23) and Mark Cole (#6x) battle for a qualified position, which proved to be tough to do Friday night at Canaan. (Alan Ward photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson
VMM Editor

I’ve said it before, but Memorial Day Weekend is one of my favorite racing weekends of the year, on both a local and national level.

On a national and international stage with Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, Coca-Cola 600, to the local level Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road, the lid lifter for the Granite State Pro Stock Series, the Super Late Models around the picturesque White Mountain Motorsports Park, and many other events.

Oh ya, and Devil’s Bowl Friday night kickoff.

I’m, for one, ready to see the Bruno regime being their Friday night schedule. There is something about racing under the lights that just make’s racing better.

The first race in the Vermont State Late Model Championship should be a great event and will have a great kickoff with the Memorial Day Classic.

I really, really, really wish I could be in three places at once on Saturday — Bear Ridge, White Mountain, and Monadnock.

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Want evidence as to why Kevin Chaffee was named Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year by our readers? His run from 13th to second in Saturday night’s USAC Dirt Midget Association feature at Bear Ridge was nothing short of impressive, as was his move on a late race restart.

“The Fairlee Flier” Chaffee also backed it up with runner-up finish in the Bond Auto DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature, and a win on the dirt at Canaan Fair Speedway on Friday night.

He is good. And he keeps on proving it.

Could Chaffee become the first repeat winner of VMM Driver of the Year? It could happen.

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There can be no argument that both Ben Ashline and Joey Doiron didn’t earn their first career victories in their respective series. Both dominated the races they claimed victory in — Doiron had a near seven second margin of victory, while Ashline had just over a seven second margin of victory.

And who doesn’t love a first time winner? Both Ashline and Doiron have had some tough times as they ascended the ladder, and both had all the emotions of a first timer.

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Safety was unfortunately put back in the spotlight this past week at Auburndale Speedway in Auburndale, Fla. 12-year old Tyler Morr died on Wednesday after being involved in a wreck on Saturday night, in the division known as the “Kids Club.”

Vermont Motorsports Magazine did an Under the Hood feature on safety in racing. While we do not know the condition Tyler Morr’s car was in, we do hope people make sure they cars are above and beyond in the safety department. Safety is one area not to skimp and cut costs in. Even at speeds less than 50 miles per hour, tragedy can strike.

And unfortunately, it did.

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Want to know how championships are won? Look no further than Brian Hoar at Oxford. Hoar was having a horrendous day, caught a lucky break and were able to fight to a 13th place finish. If Hoar is able to extend his record come October, people should look back at the Armed Forces 150 as where Hoar was able to win the title.

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Speaking of the eight-time defending ACT champion, while many people may be looking at Hoar to make a real run at the Vermont State Late Model Championship, Hoar is conceding that battle.

Hoar will miss the first race this weekend at Thunder Road. But he will be running another race on Sunday, literally — Hoar will run in the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington.

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Sprint Cars are just so cool. And after Friday night’s opener at Canaan, the Sprint Cars of New England are looking to have themselves a very nice season.

The growth of the series has been impressive over the past few years, with 24 sprint cars, a series record, attempting to qualify for the 25-lap main event. On the small quarter mile, series officials elected to start 18 winged warriors. That amount seemed like the perfect amount.

And going forward with their handicap taking affect, the B-Main races will be the ones to keep an eye on to see if any of the heavy hitters have to work their way from them.