Riverside Speedway’s Late Model division is shaping up nicely for next season. Dan Fournier, who will run the track in 2013, recently announced a payout increase from previous years. If at least 20 Late Models start the main event, the winner will receive a $1,000; if between 15-19 cars start, the winner’s check will be $800.
Fournier has added some other bonuses, too. One is the point leader after the July 6 race will be the track’s representative at ACT’s inaugural International 500 at Airborne Speedway July 20-21. There are no figures announced at this time, but the track will “sponsor” the team for the trip to Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Everyone who runs all the races will be put into a drawing with a grand going to one lucky driver. The details are being worked out, but it looks like the Late Model champion will receive “around” $5,000 in cash and prizes at the year-end banquet.
Former track champ Randy Potter and multi-time White Mountain Motorsports Park champ Quinny Welch have stated they plan to go after the cash that Fournier has put up.
“I’ve always called Groveton home,” stated Welch. He’s impressed with Fournier’s ideas for the future of the track and his incentives in the Late Model division. “Dan has looked to proven promoters for advice, and I think it’s awesome how he wants to give back to the racers and promote the track. That’s how it should be.”
Welch is excited to come back to the Groveton high banks, but is expecting some tough competition along the way. Between returning champion Luke Shannon, Potter, Riverside’s returning drivers, as well as other drivers who have shown interest, Welch knows the road to the championship will be tough.
Potter, the 1987 Super Stock (I finished second to him that season) champion and 1994 Late Model champion at Riverside Speedway, has made his commitment to Riverside for the 2013 season as well. Potter has been a staple on the ACT Late Model Tour for the past five seasons. He’s qualified for 73 consecutive main events dating back to the start of the 2007, no one else has done that. In those 73 starts, he has one win, 23 top 5s and 48 top 10s.
He told Riverside’s media director Shawn Sicard, “There will be a higher quality of competition this year. It will be challenging, and I think you’ll see multiple winners. It’s way better to have more competition, for the racers and the track. It certainly makes you step your game up.”
I e-mailed Randy a few questions about him chasing weekly points and running the Tour but, as of my deadline, I have not heard from him. Hoping to tell you want he said next week.
Legendary Broadcaster Ken Squier Wins Yet Another Award
Each year the Buddy Shuman Award recognizes Key Contributors to the Success of Sprint Cup Racing. Squier, the talented broadcaster and visionary track owner who became the “voice of NASCAR Cup racing” and who once described the sport as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” received the prestigious NASCAR award during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Award Luncheon in Las Vegas recently.
Squier becomes the 56th recipient of this award, which is presented annually to an individual who has played a key role in the continued growth and success of Cup racing. The award was established in memory of early NASCAR Grand National driver and chief technical inspector Louis Grier “Buddy” Shuman, a beloved figure who died tragically in a hotel fire in 1955.
For more than 20 years, Squier provided lap-by-lap commentary during NASCAR Cup telecasts and is credited with convincing CBS to offer flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 beginning in 1979. His timing couldn’t have been better: The broadcast was seen by millions who were kept at home by a major East Coast storm, and those who tuned in witnessed the legendary trackside fistfight between drivers Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough. Squier was the first to describe the annual Cup Series opener as “The Great American Race” and introduced a number of innovations – including the in-car camera – to motorsports telecasts. In 1969 he co-founded the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
For all of his success in racing, Squier is first and foremost a broadcaster. The Vermont native began working at his father’s radio station, WDEV, at age 12 and is now president and owner of Radio Vermont, Inc., which operates several stations
ACT’s Richard Green Has a New Driver for the Tour in 2013
Longtime ACT Late Model Tour team owner Richard Green will field a brand new Crazy Horse Racing chassis next season, and he will fill the seat with Oxford Plains Speedway veteran Travis Stearns of Auburn, Maine.
Stearns joins Richard Green Racing as part of a two-car effort, one which will continue to also compete in weekly Late Model competition at Thunder Road with Joey Becker.
“I’m really excited about it,” Green said. “Obviously, I’ve known (Crazy Horse Racing owner Mitch Green, no relation) for quite a while. Their track record is moving up the scale as far as having good cars and having all the pieces in place.”
Stearns has competed full-time at Oxford Plains in the past while making a few ACT Late Model starts. He finished second in the final Oxford point standings in 2012 with two victories. He also posted a Top 5 finish in the 39th annual Oxford 250 and won the reserve Milk Bowl at Thunder Road in October.
For the first time in his career, Stearns will not serve as the owner of his own car. “With all the pieces of the puzzle that we’re putting together, it’s going to be a perfect fit,” Stearns said. “I really believe that. Just talking with (Green) and talking with Joey Becker, he said you won’t find a better car owner. That’s comforting and exciting.”
Stearns has had an eye on full-time competition on the ACT Late Model Tour for some time, but he said it was never a possibility while fielding his own team.
“When I started out, my goal ways always to run the ACT Tour. I never knew if I’d get there because I wanted to stay within my means and race,” Stearns said. “Then this opportunity came. It’s the best shot I have ever had to be competitive. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t be competitive on my own without the people, the resources that (Richard Green Racing) has.”
After finishing 13th in the ACT owner standings last season with multiple drivers, Green is looking forward to the stability of both driver and car next summer.
“It’s the first time I’ve had a car come out of a professional race shop,” Green said. “The Tour car has always been at a couple other shops with other drivers, and it doesn’t always work out for the best.
“I wasn’t sure who was going to drive. I had a couple guys on a short list, but nobody wanted to commit to doing the work. They all want to drive, but not all of them want to do the work, too. When Mitch (Green) called (about Travis), we all sat down and talked about it and thought it would be the way to go.”
Green has also hired Mickey Green to serve as crew chief for the No. 16ME Richard Green Trucking/Green’s ACE Hardware Chevrolet. Green, a fabricator at Crazy Horse Racing, previously served as crew chief for Austin Theriault on the ACT Late Model Tour.
Bear Ridge Speedway
Adam Pierson was crowned the Bond Auto Parts DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Champion last weekend. It was his eighth title in just 12 years. He posted two wins and 14 top 5s in 19 races for his third consecutive Modified crown. Eddie Patterson won the Rookie of the Year.
Josh Harrington was honored as the Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupe champion for the third time in four years. Rookie of the Year went to Jesse Smith.
Two-time feature winner Scott Holcomb collected his first USAC Dirt Midget Association title in the division’s second year. Jeffrey Champagne was the Rookie of the Year.
Fifteen-year-old Jordan Fornwalt was named the A Notch Above Automotive Limited Late Model champion after a dominant 13-win season. Rookie of the Year honors went to Sam Comeau.
Danny Doyle took home his second Weglarz Property Service Fast Four championship with a six-win campaign.
Eric Lang’s 13 victories netted him the KDD NAPA Auto Parts Hornet title for the second straight year. Rookie of the Year Brandon Gray was the runner-up.
Dawn King was crowned the Hornet Queen Champion.
Special awards were given in several categories, headlined by the prestigious John Poor Memorial Award, given annually to one driver from each of the Modified and Coupe divisions. John Poor was an official at The Ridge for many years and the award is given to drivers who elevate the sport of stock car racing through exceptional conduct on and off the track. Troy Comeau got the John Poor Memorial trophy in the Modified division, with Tim Hodge taking the honors in the Coupe division.
Hodge was also recipient of the Raymond Brown Memorial Award in the Coupe division for performance on the track and conduct in the pit area. Bob Shepard won the award in the Modifieds, with honors also going to Brian Chaffee in the Limited Late Models, Steve Bell in the Fast Fours, and Mike Lique in the Hornets.
Josh Sunn and car owner Gary Corsi were named co-winners of the Modified division’s annual Sportsmanship Award. Teddy Salomaa won similar honors in the Coupe division, as did USAC Midget champion Scott Holcomb, Late Model racer Brian Chaffee, Fast Four driver Steve Bell, and Hornet racer Mike Lique.
Fans voted Troy Comeau as the Most Popular Driver in the Modified division. Other Most Popular winners were Jeremy Beckley – Coupes, Kevin Chaffee – Midgets, Sam Comeau – Late Models, Danny Doyle – Fast Fours, and rookie James Fadden – Hornets.
The Big Al’s Photos “What a Picture” Hard Luck Awards were given to Modified driver Bob Shepard, Coupes – Jesse Smith, Midgets – Scott Viets, Late Models – Matt Ellsworth, Fast Fours – Bobby Bell and Hornets – Ryan Farnham.
Adam Pierson was given the Twin State Ford Lap Leader Award for the Modifieds with Thomas Placey taking the honors in the Coupe class. Joe Krawiec won the award in the Midget division, with Late Model champion Jordan Fornwalt, Fast Four veteran Steve Bell, and Hornet champion Eric Lang also leading the most laps in their respective divisions.
More than 70 prizes were given to racers by random draw; the top prize was a brand new General Motors “602” crate racing engine valued at nearly $3,000 and provided by Miller Auto Group of Lebanon, N.H., which was given to Coupe driver Teddy Salomaa.
Until Next Week
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