Troy Haney, owner of Spud Speedway in Caribou, said Tuesday night’s race card, highlighted by the Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model North feature, couldn’t have gone any better.
“It was phenomenal,” said Haney, who is trying to revive the 54-year old track that hadn’t had racing since 2015 because it was losing money and hadn’t had a PASS race since 2010.
“We couldn’t have gotten any better weather, the car count was great, they put on a great show and they nearly filled the stands,” Haney said. “We can hold 2,500, and we had around 1,800 to 2,000.”
There were 21 cars entered in the Firecracker 200 with Derek Griffith from Hudson, New Hampshire, taking the lead from D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire, on lap 170 and going on to take the checkered flag.
Points leader Shaw wound up second with Farmington’s Cassius Clark, two-time Oxford 250 winner Eddie MacDonald from Rowley, Massachusetts, and Hermon’s Mike Hopkins rounding out the top five.
Those five qualify for either the Oxford 250 Aug. 16 or the PASS Commonwealth Classic at Richmond (Virginia) Raceway Oct. 20.
Johnny Clark from Farmingdale was sixth and completing the top 10 were Ellsworth’s Wyatt Alexander, who is now living in Charlotte, North Carolina, Morrill’s Travis Benjamin, Scarborough’s Garrett Hall and Livermore’s Scott McDaniel.
Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault, who has raced in the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck series and won the ARCA Racing Series points championship last season, had car trouble and wound up 19th.
“The racing was excellent. There was a lot of passing and a back-and-forth battle between Shaw and Griffith. There was a great finish,” Haney said.
Cassius Clark was impressed and said he would gladly go back and race there again if PASS returns next year.
“The track was in real good shape,” Clark said. “The racing was good, and there was a good turnout. It’s a fun track to race on.”
There were also a 50-lap Enduro race and a 30-lap Ikey Dorr Street Stock qualifier.
Jo Brash Knoll of Wells captured the Enduro race with Bradford’s Derek Pearson, Caribou’s Wayne Fox Jr., Carmel’s James Goodman and Caribou’s Del Brissette completing the top five in the 23-car field.
Bryan Robbins of Montville took the checkered flag in the six-car Ikey Dorr qualifier followed by Jeff Alley of Machias, Derek Pearson of Thorndike, Anthony Moore of Hermon and Matt Rickards of North Anson.
“Some people thought the enduro race was the best race of the night because there were all kinds of things happening like a car rolling over,” Haney said.
Haney was so encouraged by Tuesday’s event that he is exploring hosting the annual Long John Late Model race that has always been held at Unity Raceway in October. Unity is undergoing a massive renovation.
“I would hate to see such a longstanding race like the Long John just go away,” Haney said. “We’ll have to figure out the logistics.”
Haney hopes the PASS North Tour will return next season and he would like to have three or four events every summer.
He also noted that they raised more than $14,000 from sponsored laps, of which more than $11,000 goes to the Feed the County charity and Aroostook County’s 24 food pantries. The other money went to the racers.
The event’s success may enable him to land more sponsors, including corporate sponsors, for future events.
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