The New England Short Track Showdown presented by ARBodies, to be held June 30th-July 1st at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, is an event designed for the racers of New England to showcase their skills on a large stage. So when it came time to choose the Grand Marshall for the event, the natural choice would be a New Englander who has devoted much of his professional life to informing, protecting and entertaining racers throughout the world.
Dr. Dick Berggren, the founder of several racer-friendly publications, most recently Speedway Illustrated Magazine, will be the Grand Marshall of the event. Berggren has used his role as a writer, editor and publisher to be among the first to inform racers of safety issues, advocate for safer tracks and equipment and to tell the stories of countless racers throughout his multi-decade career. Berggren is also known as a long-time television pit reporter and commentator for networks such as Fox Sports, CBS, ESPN, TBS and TNN.
Most recently, Berggren has been instrumental in the creation of the North East Motorsports Museum at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The museum houses vintage race cars, artifacts, trophies, journals and other historic items related to motorsports in the Northeastern United States.
A special Friday night Racers' Dinner to benefit the North East Motorsports Museum will be held with Berggren as the Guest of Honor on June 30th. A steak and chicken dinner, along with corn and baked potatoes, will be provided on a limited first-come first-serve basis from Bellybusters Concessions and Turn 4 Automotive and Performance of Gray, Maine.
The event has a dual purpose. One is to show appreciation to the drivers and teams who are competing in the Showdown with an event to give them a fun time away from the garage area during the busy weekend. The other is to raise money for the North East Motorsports Museum. Donations will be accepted to directly benefit the project, which is a worthy one for all racers in the region. The museum recently opened its doors to the public and the early response has been great.
"The North East Motorsports Museum is a dream come true for many New England racers and race fans," said Berggren. "It showcases all forms of New England motorsports. We've had good crowds coming through this week."
The event will take place from 5-8pm on Friday, June 30th at the Museum building located on Route 106 North in Loudon, New Hampshire just north of the Shell gas station. Parking will be available in the S-12 lot of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Through his writings, Berggren has stated that not all race car drivers are "racers". Instead, it is a combination of dedication and passion that defines who a racer is. True to the principals of the Showdown, Berggren has never defined a racer by the level of racecar that he or she competes with. Throughout his career, he has written just as glowingly of worthy personalities at entry levels of the sport as he has about competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series.
True to that philosophy, Berggren is looking forward to seeing what type of event that the New England Short Track Showdown turns into.
"This is a race that provides the opportunity for a lot of racers to be on a big stage," said Berggren. "It is going to be a special for them and we are going to find out just how much of a challenge it will be because it is something that we haven't seen before. The hope is that most will catch on quickly. Some will take a little bit longer and some never will. Some drivers can adapt and some just excel at one type of track. This race is going to be a perfect opportunity to have a surprise winner, or maybe even more than one surprise winner."
Berggren learned this through his own experiences behind the wheel. He raced Sprint Cars, Supermodifieds and other open wheeled racecars throughout an exciting, but dangerous, golden era of the sport. In fact, he will forever hold the track record on dirt at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). Berggren set that record in a Supermodified before the track was paved in the 1980's.
The New England Short Track Showdown presented by ARBodies is made up of four races that will feature the cornerstone types of cars in New England asphalt short track racing. Tour-type Modifieds will run with the Valenti Modified Racing Series, Pro Stocks/Super Late Models will run with the Granite State Pro Stock Tour, Street Stocks will run with the Street Stock Showdown Series and Mini Stocks will run with the North East Mini Stock Tour.
The event will be a fun one for experience race fans and newcomers to the sport alike.
June 30, 2017 will kick off an all day practice for the 4 racing divisions in a rotating format while Saturday July 1, 2017 will see a single round of practice for the divisions followed by pre-race ceremonies at 12:30 PM and heat racing events starting at 1:00 PM sharp. Heats and consolation races will be run as needed and then features will kick off around 3:00 PM (est).
Grandstand Admission for Saturday is only $20 at the track. Children’s tickets are $12 at the track. Military members and senior citizens can purchase tickets for $18 at the track. A special family package for two adults and two children is available for $50.
For more information on the New England Short Track Showdown presented by ARBodies, please visit NorthEastMiniStockTour.com.
-New England Short Track Showdown Press Release
-Photo credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR