Archive for February, 2012 Page 2 of 2



Seekonk Speedway Photographer Johnny Mercury Passes Away

John B. Verissimo (AKA:Johnny Mercury), who was Seekonk Speedway's track photographer for 33 years, passed away on Sunday. He was the recipient of the D. Anthony Venditti Memorial award at last month's banquet.

NEW BEDFORD — John B. Verissimo, 87, of Acushnet, died February 12, 2012 at St. Luke’s Hospital after a long illness. He was the husband of Lydia D. (Medeiros) Verissimo.

Born and raised in New Bedford, he lived in Acushnet most of his life. He was formerly employed as a photographer at the Seekonk Speedway for many years. Mr. Verissimo served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Fairhaven.

Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Robin Quintin of New Bedford; a son, John Verissimo of New Bedford; a sister, Maria Cardin of Somerset; and 2 grandchildren.

His Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 21st at 10 AM in Our Lady of Fatima Church. Burial will follow in St. John’s Cemetery. Arrangements are with the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals, 495 Park St., New Bedford.

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Please Help the “Prince of Darkness”, Al Robinson

Longtime Watkins Glen and Daytona International Speedway announcer and NASCAR Touring Series official Al Robinson needs our help. Known to his many racing friends as “The Prince of Darkness” for his annual, overnight stints on the public address microphone during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Robinson suffered a serious stroke last May. He has since been confined to Elderwood Care Facility in Waverly, NY, and his 24/7 medical needs have severely depleted his financial resources.

A benefit has been organized for Al by his racing friends, and the owners of New York’s Shangri-La II Motor Speedway — where Al served as track announcer prior to his illness – have donated the use of their facility for a fundraiser, with all proceeds going directly to Al. Scheduled for Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12, the event will feature a "Family Fun Day" format; including displays of current and vintage race cars, children's activities, pace car rides, numerous racing souvenir vendors, sponsored walking laps and track food concessions, with all proceeds going to Al. Free overnight camping will be available, with a community bonfire, a silent auction of various donated items and a live auction of racing artifacts and memorabilia.

Special test-n-tune sessions will be held at both the Skyview Dragstrip (located on the grounds of Shangri-La II Motor Speedway); and the oval track, with the Shangri-La II Modified, Sportmod, Street Stock and 4four-ylinder teams all preparing their cars for opening day on Sunday, May 13.

Your financial support will be greatly appreciated, as will any donations of racing artifacts for the auction portion of the event. Auction and cash donations in any amount may be sent to Shangri-La II Motor Speedway 114 Skyline Dr., Tioga Center, NY. Please make checks payable to Al Robinson.

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Oswego, Star Return On NEMA’s ’12 Agenda

Brockton, MA — The established mainstays and a return to Star and Oswego Speedways fill the Northeastern Midget Association’s 2012 schedule. NEMA, entering its 60th season, and the NEMA Lites, heading into its fifth campaign, will kick things off at Waterford Speedbowl’s Budweiser Blastoff March 31-April 1.

Randy Cabral and Bertrand Motorsports will be defending their respective owner/driver championships over a 14-race agenda that includes five visits to Waterford including the Shane Hammond Memorial (July 28), Wings & Wheels (Aug. 11), Angelillo Memorial (Sept. 1) and the Fall Finale (Oct. 6-7). There are two stops at Thompson (the May 20 Marvin Rifchin Trophy Race and Oct. 13-14 World Series), two at Seekonk including the July 18 Open Wheel Wednesday and two at Lee USA Speedway including the season-ending Ocktoberfest Oct. 20-21.

NEMA continues to be part of Stafford Motor Speedway’s Open Wheel offering (Carquest’s Super Saturday on June 30).

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Bay State Racing Stars Reen, Cabral Seek Providence RI “Coffee Cup Trophy” at Dunkin’ Donuts Center; Past Winner Christopher & AC Winner Rudolph Loom Large

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — NASCAR Modified star Glen Reen and reigning NEMA Midget champion Randy Cabral are among the latest entrants for the Providence, R.I. Indoor Auto Races, set for March 10-11, 2012 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Reen, of Wilbraham, scored the biggest win in his driving career in October, 2011 when he won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Touring Series race at Connecticut’s Thompson International Speedway’s season-ending World Series Of Auto Racing.

Cabral, of Bridgewater, raced his way to his third NEMA (Northeastern Midget Association) Midget driving championship in 2011. It was the tenth consecutive year in which Cabral has been in the top five in NEMA driver standings.

Reen and Cabral are among over forty early entries set to compete for victory in the fourth running of “The Coffee Cup.”

The weekend race meet includes two days of qualifying races and feature events for the powerful TQ (Three Quarter) Midgets and the bullet-like Champ Karts, culminating on Saturday with the running of “The Coffee Cup Classic”, a 40-lap TQ Midget feature, paying $2,000 to its winner.

Continue reading ‘Bay State Racing Stars Reen, Cabral Seek Providence RI “Coffee Cup Trophy” at Dunkin’ Donuts Center; Past Winner Christopher & AC Winner Rudolph Loom Large’

Jesse Hinze Ready to Pick Up First Career Victory in Stafford Speedway’s Limited Late Model Division

Stafford Springs, CT — As teams prepare for the 2012 season at Stafford Motor Speedway, Limited Late Model driver Jesse Hinze is hard at work preparing his car in hopes of reaching victory lane for the first time in his career at Stafford. The 2012 season will be Hinze’s 7th season at Stafford, he spent the first three years of his career in the DARE Stock division before moving into the Limited Late Model division in 2009. The move to the Ltd. Late Model division has seen Hinze become a consistent driver, finishing 8th in points for three consecutive seasons. After coming close on more than one occasion to winning a feature, Hinze is looking to break into the win column this year at Stafford.
In order for Hinze to realize that goal of winning his first race, he first needs a motor for his car. The Limited Late Model Spec Engine is the only approved engine for the 2012 season, and Hinze and his Crazy Bruce’s Liquors team are unsure if they will have a spec engine in their car to race this year.

“The car is ready to go, we’re just waiting on a motor,” said Hinze. “We have a new rear end in the car, we’ve put new body panels on the car, and we ‘re redoing the interior tin, we just don’t have the motor yet. I run my own lawn care business and I think if we can get one more good snowstorm before the spring, that should put us in position to where we can pick up a spec engine. I think there’s a good chance that things will work out, but there’s always a chance that it might not work out. I’m certainly hoping that things work out, I’ve been to Thompson, Waterford, and Monadnock, but there’s no track like Stafford. It would be nice if we could pick up another sponsor or two to help us out with the motor.”
Hinze has carried sponsorship from Crazy Bruce’s Liquors since the 2009 season when he first moved into the Limited Late Model division. Hinze has developed a great relationship with Crazy Bruce’s over the past three years, and he is hopeful to carry the Crazy Bruce’s name into victory lane this season.

“Mark Wilson, who is the owner of Crazy Bruce’s, is a great guy and we’ve had a great relationship with him over the years,” said Hinze. “Mark is always looking to help and he is a big supporter of charity. He does a lot of work with the Reach Foundation and supporting sick children, and he’s always been there for us anytime we’ve needed anything for the car. Last year we made up some team tee-shirts and the plan was to split the cost 50/50 between Mark and myself, but he told me not to worry about my half when I went to pay him my half. Mark donates 20% of his profits to charity and he’s just a really great guy and I hope we can get him into victory lane this year to thank him for all of his support.”
Should Hinze come up with an engine for the 2012 season, he feels like he has all the parts and pieces properly in place to record his first career victory.

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Stafford Motor Speedway Carquest Champions For Charities Driver Spotlight: Russ Wood

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Motor Speedway has again lined up an impressive field of current and former open wheel champions for its CARQUEST Champions For Charities Event as part of CARQUEST Super Saturday on June 30th. During the coming weeks, SMS will offer a profile on each of its championship winning drivers and the charity they will be racing for and this week’s CARQUEST Champions For Charities spotlights falls on 8-time ISMA Supermodified champion Russ Wood, who will be racing to support Racing Against Cancer.

“My relationship with Racing Against Cancer goes back to 6 or 7 years ago when my kids were racing karts at Sugar Hill,” said Wood. “We got started with Racing Against Cancer back then and we’ve been involved with them in a few things since then. My wife was the chairperson for a Relay for Life in our hometown, and she will be doing that again this year. We’re looking forward to raising money for cancer research and hopefully we can surpass our total that we raised last year.”

A big part of Wood’s fundraising efforts will be at Stafford Motor Speedway the day of the CARQUEST Champions For Charities event. The speedway will host A Prelude to CARQUEST Super Saturday; Foot Power in the A.M. and Horse Power in the P.M., a Racing Against Cancer Track Walk that will run from 9:30-11:30am on Saturday, June 30 prior to the feature events.

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TSI Harley-Davidson Renews Title Sponsorship of Memorial Day Weekend Whelen Modified Tour Event at Stafford Speedway

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Motor Speedway has announced that for the fifth consecutive season, the track’s Memorial Day Weekend Whelen Modified Tour event will be sponsored by TSI Harley-Davidson, the oldest Harley-Davidson dealer in the state of Connecticut.  The 22nd Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125 will be held on Friday, May 25th.  The race sponsorship continues a relationship that dates back to the 2006 season when TSI Harley-Davidson sponsored a NASCAR K & N Pro Series East event at the Connecticut half-mile.

We’re happy to be back at Stafford for another season,” said Harry Levesque, Owner of TSI Harley-Davidson.  “Stafford has been a great place for us to showcase our line of Harley-Davidson bikes.  A lot of race fans are also Harley-Davidson fans, and we enjoy working with Stafford and being able to interact with all of the fans on race night.

The TSI Harley-Davidson 125 has become one of the top stops on the Whelen Modified Tour calendar.  The TSI Harley-Davidson 125 has seen last lap passes for the win as well as duels for victory between some of the best drivers on the Tour.  Whelen Modified Tour champions Ted Christopher, Tony Hirschman, Donny Lia, Bobby Santos, III, Ronnie Silk, and Mike Stefanik have all tasted the fruits of victory in the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.

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Rodgers Wins Beech Ridge Title In Close Race

 

Emerges From Trio Of Contenders For Division Championship

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bill Rodgers won the closest NASCAR Pro Series division point race in the 63-year history of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2011. The margin of a single point gained Rogers, 47, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship. He also won the 2011 NASCAR state championship.

Rodgers’ season got a big assist when he was joined by the crew that helped the late Bub Bilodeau win three track championships and two state titles. Bilodeau passed away from an apparent heart attack at the track on June 5, 2010.

“Bub’s crew chief Tom Nason and I got together last winter,” Rodgers said. “His guys didn’t have a team to race with, and I never had a full-time crew like theirs before. Having the same crew consistently brought more consistency out of the car. That’s what put us in the position to compete for the championship.”

Rodgers entered the final race night with a one-point lead over Trevor Sandborn, 22, of East Parsonsfield, Maine, and two ahead of Aaron Ricker, 21, of Tamworth, N.H. All three were competing for their first Beech Ridge championship.

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Helliwell Repeats As New Hampshire Champ

Earned Fourth Track Title At Lee Despite Division Change

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Driver Wayne Helliwell Jr. thrived in 2011 despite a major change in his NASCAR Home Track’s featured division.

Helliwell, 34, of Dover, N.H., won his fourth consecutive NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway in 2011. His most recent track title was accompanied by his second consecutive NASCAR state championship.

The big variable between the 2010 and 2011 seasons was Lee’s switch in NASCAR Division I status to small block Supermodifieds. Helliwell’s previous championships came in the full bodied Late Models and Sportsman cars.

The adjustment to the winged open wheel division seemed natural to Helliwell.

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Seth Carlson Graduates to NEMA Big Leagues

2011 NEMA Lite standout Seth Carlson & Gene Feigel Motorsports have decided to “graduate” Carlson to the big leagues, committing to the full 2012 NEMA schedule.

“I’m looking forward to running with Greg & Russ Stoehr and Randy Cabral in 2012,” said Carlson. “I think there will be a lot of good racing in the 2012 season. I am very excited to get the chance to run with these guys.”

A multi time winner in 2011, Carlson will be coming to NEMA with his familiar, exceptional handling Drinan Chassis with an Esslinger powered “spec” engine – becoming a popular choice for the economics involved.

Carlson, who counts Twin State Speedway as his favorite track, says “The 2011 season was a great learning experience. It was also great to get back on pavement after a few years running Dirt (at Whip City Speedway).”

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Packed House On Hand For A.C. Gamblers Classic; Rudolph Scores A Double In Three Quarter Midgets And 600 Micro Sprints; Daley Repeats ‘08 Champ Kart Win; Eagan Tops In Slingshot Thriller

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — In front of one of the largest crowds in Boardwalk Hall's Gamblers Classic ten year history, Ransomville, N.Y.'s Erick Rudolph dominated the weekend events. After winning the Micro Sprint features Friday and Saturday, Rudolph saved his best effort for last when he overpowered the competition, winning the Gamblers Classic for Three Quarter Midgets.

The race was a three-man affair from the outset. Front row starters Stewart Friesen and Rudolph paced the field and sparred with each other through a series of double file restarts. In one of those instances, Rudolph seemed to gain the upper hand only to have the start called back by officials who added a two position penalty for the infraction.

Undeterred, Rudolph passed Friesen after challenging for the lead for several laps. Friesen seemed destined for a second place finish but a late race tangle with a surging Billy Pauch saw Friesen spin and Pauch penalized.

Rudolph ruled the roost as the laps ran out. The big mover in the last five laps was Ryan Smith, who was trying to put a 600 Micro in the winners circle for the first time. Smith settled for second place after a sterling drive ahead of Jon Gambuti, ninth starter Mike Lichty and sixteenth place starter Tim Buckwalter.

Continue reading ‘Packed House On Hand For A.C. Gamblers Classic; Rudolph Scores A Double In Three Quarter Midgets And 600 Micro Sprints; Daley Repeats ‘08 Champ Kart Win; Eagan Tops In Slingshot Thriller’

Friday Night Three Quarter Midget, 600 Micro Sprint Features Won by Ted Christopher and Erick Rudolph; Field Takes Shape For Tonight’s (Saturday) 10th Annual Gamblers Classic

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Ted Christopher of Plainville, Ct., and Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., were the winners of the Friday Atlantic City Indoor Race feature events before an enthusiastic crowd.

Christopher won for the third time in the Boardwalk Hall; he is tied with Joe Payne and Lou Cicconi as two- time Gamblers Classic winners and will have the opportunity Saturday to sweep the 2012 Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall Three Quarter Midget events and become the only three-time Gamblers Classic winner.

Rudolph ran away with the 600cc Micro Sprint feature when he took the race lead at the one-third distance and survived several caution flag situations that negated big leads. The win was the first indoors for Rudolph, an accomplished talent on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Racing Series.

In the TQ 30-lap main event, Christopher out dueled Payne in a classic nose-to-tail fight to the finish. Payne had led the early laps of the race before ‘TC’ out muscled Payne on one of the numerous early race, side-by-side restarts.

Continue reading ‘Friday Night Three Quarter Midget, 600 Micro Sprint Features Won by Ted Christopher and Erick Rudolph; Field Takes Shape For Tonight’s (Saturday) 10th Annual Gamblers Classic’

Former DARE Stock Competitor Barry Fluckiger Starts Chassis Business with Fluckiger Race Chassis

Stafford Springs, CT — Former DARE Stock driver Barry Fluckiger has started a new chassis business venture that will cater to Late Model, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock drivers from Stafford Motor Speedway. After lending his chassis expertise and skills on a limited basis over the past few seasons, Fluckiger has gone full-time and started Fluckiger Race Chassis after his family sold their Kar Kare business to Bolles Motors.

"My family decided to sell the business to Bolles, so I had to call it quits at Kar Kare and I decided to start a new venture," said Fluckiger. "We're going to focus on Late Model, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock cars. We can do anything that needs to be done to a car, we can build bodies, clips, complete cars, and we'll offer setup help. We also have a frame machine and we'll pull if necessary, we've already straightened several frames throughout the years."

Fluckiger has worn several different hats during the past few seasons at Stafford Motor Speedway, serving as an owner, a driver, and a crewmember, and in some instances, he has served in more than one of those capacities during the same season.

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SPAFCO Race Chassis & Parts to Sponsor SMS Rookie of the Year Title in 2012

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Motor Speedway has announced that Spafco Race Chassis and Parts of Preston, CT has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of Stafford Motor Speedway's Rookie of the Year awards in 2012. Spafco Race Chassis and Parts will contribute $700 to the SK Modified® Rookie of the Year, and $500 to the Late Model, SK Light Modified, and Limited Late Model Rookies of the Year.

"We decided that we're going to come on board and help support the racers," said Ken Barry, owner of Spafco Race Chassis. "We're excited about being part of the rookie program for the 2012 season at Stafford."

The competition for the very first SPAFCO Rookie of the Year awards should see some great competition during the 2012 season. Stafford's SK Modified® division has 6 rookie drivers signed up, with several drivers making the move from the SK Light division. Tommy Membrino, Jr,. Matt Galko, and Kyle Spencer will all move from the SK Lights to the SK Modified® division, while Joe Gada comes from Waterford Speedbowl, Nick Boivin comes from Monadnock Speedway, and Danny Cates moves from Thompson Speedway. Stafford's SK Light division will once again feature a robust rookie crop of drivers, with Sara Locascio, Tyler Hines, Joe Boivin, Tyler Jackson, Corey Barry, Ronnie Williams, Peyton Henry, and Pete Lopuch as the registered rookies thusfar.

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Stafford Motor Speedway Announces Second Annual CARQUEST Champions For Charities Champion Drivers

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Speedway has begun the process of sending out special invitations to past and present open wheel championship winning drivers to make up the starting field for the 2nd Annual CARQUEST Champions For Charities race. The CARQUEST Champions For Charities race will be part of the CARQUEST Super Saturday program, which will feature the ISMA Supermodifieds, NEMA Midgets, and Pro-4 Modifieds. The special invitation only field of open wheel champions will sit behind the wheel of Wild Thing Kart Senior Outlaw karts and participate in a special 15-lap race while raising money for a charity of their choosing.

Stafford Speedway thusfar has a starting field of 12 championship-winning drivers, some of which were part of the Champions For Charities festivities last season, and some of the drivers are new to the Champions For Charities experience. Those drivers who will be making their CARQUEST Champions For Charities debut include 2011 Riverhead Raceway Modified champion Justin Bonsignore, 2-time Modified Racing Series champion Chris Pasteryak, and 2011 Stafford SK Modified® champion Ryan Preece.

"I watched the race last year and it looked like all the guys were having a lot of fun out there," said Preece. "It's nice to finally be a champion and I'm really looking forward to being able to raise some money for the Connecticut chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation and try to help make a difference in someone's life. I've driven champ karts and flat karts before, but the Wild Thing Kart will be a new experience for me. But it looked like there was a lot of bump drafting going on last year, so it should be a lot of fun to be part of that race this year."

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PASS National Schedule To Feature Some Of Nation’s Most Famed Short Tracks

Naples, ME — Pro All Stars Series (PASS) officials announced today the seven venues that will make up the 2012 PASS National Championship schedule. The PASS National Championship is comprised of seven races that combines select events from the PASS South and PASS North schedules to crown the nation’s only true Super Late Model Champion. The PASS National Championship will be contested at some of the country’s most famous short tracks including: Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway, Stafford (CT) Motor Speedway, White Mountain (NH) Motorsports Park, Beech Ridge (ME) Motor Speedway, Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, TN, Caraway (NC) Speedway, and Concord (NC) Speedway.

“The 2012 PASS National Championship will be staged at seven of the most iconic racing venues in the United States,” said PASS President Tom Mayberry. “Not only will the PASS National schedule be comprised with some great race tracks, but it will be encompassed by some of the biggest events in short track racing, including the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory, Nashville’s All-American 400, and the PASS 400 at Beech Ridge. It definitely will not be easy to win and whoever so does can truly say that they beat the best competition in Super Late Model racing.”

The PASS National Championship will kick off with the 7th Annual Easter Bunny 150 on Saturday, April 7th at Hickory Motor Speedway. The Easter Bunny 150 has become a short track racing classic attracting drivers from all over the country and has hosted the first race of the PASS National Championship since its beginning back in 2008. The PASS National Championship will then head North for the next three events, highlighted by PASS’s debut at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, August 26th. White Mountain Motorsports Park hosts race number three of the PASS National Series on Saturday, September 8th. The following week the series is back in action with the 8th Annual PASS 400 Weekend at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, one of New England’s biggest short track events of the year.

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New Modified Tour Starts in New England

 

Slot car racing’s popularity has dwindled since the 1960’s and 70’s and has evolved more into a hobbyists sport. However some racers and slot car enthusiasts from Long Island and the New England area have come up with a cool new concept that could very well bring slot car racing back to the hobby forefront.

Pete Pernesiglio, a NEMA Midget driver from Long Island and Ray Brown former Late Model driver from Attleboro, Massachusetts collaborated with friends who share their passion for this hobby and have formed the Reality Modified Tour.

“Slot car racing has kind of died out over the years, there aren't many stores or tracks to race at anymore.” says Pernesiglio. “Now, more and more people are building tracks in their home and inviting friends over once a week to race and have fun.”

Ray Brown from Reality Raceway.net started building a spec 1/24th scale asphalt Modified to resemble an actual NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car. Unless you are a model guru, you won’t be able to find a more actual looking NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car.

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Rodgers Wins Beech Ridge Title In Close Race

Emerges From Trio Of Contenders For Division Championship

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bill Rodgers won the closest NASCAR Pro Series division point race in the 63-year history of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2011. The margin of a single point gained Rogers, 47, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship. He also won the 2011 NASCAR state championship.

Rodgers’ season got a big assist when he was joined by the crew that helped the late Bub Bilodeau win three track championships and two state titles. Bilodeau passed away from an apparent heart attack at the track on June 5, 2010.

“Bub’s crew chief Tom Nason and I got together last winter,” Rodgers said. “His guys didn’t have a team to race with, and I never had a full-time crew like theirs before. Having the same crew consistently brought more consistency out of the car. That’s what put us in the position to compete for the championship.”

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Granite State Pro Stock Series Adds Canaan To Schedule

Canaan, NH — Granite State Pro Stock Series President Mike Parks has announced the addition of New Hampshire’s Canaan Fair Speedway to the 2012 schedule. The event will take place Sunday afternoon September 16th.

“Together with general manager Dick Therrien, we were able to put the event together,” said Parks.” Canaan is a giant piece in the puzzle for our series. They race Pro Stocks on a regular basis. The outside groove at Canaan makes for great racing. Our competitors will look forward to competing there.”

Parks also announced the loss of the date scheduled at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH., in June. “We’re very disappointed to not be going to Lee for the June race. Speedway management has advised they are having issues with the town over noise. We are trying to fill that date at this time,” Parks said.

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