Excitement is in the air around the New England region as one of the biggest racing weeks of the year has arrived. Whether you’re a fan of the ground-pounding Modifieds of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, side-by-side action of the ACT-type Late Models, dirt slinging Sportsman Modifieds, or you want to see the next rising star of NASCAR, this week of racing in New England has something for everybody.
This week’s exciting racing action kicks-off in style on Thursday night at one of the most magical short tracks in the entire United States, Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont. More than 30 ACT-type Late Model teams are expected to make their way to the high-banked Vermont oval for the 32nd running of the Vermont Governor’s Cup.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Clint Bowyer will enter the event for the second consecutive year and try to take down the weekly warriors at Thunder Road. Last year, Bowyer was introduced to the track and the famous “Widow Maker” off of turn four before his night ended early due to mechanical problems. This year, he will be looking for redemption against one of the most talented weekly divisions in the country.
Last year’s winner of the Governor’s Cup, Cody Blake, enters Thursday’s race as the “King of the Road” point leader. He’ll be joined be a talented field of weekly drivers, including Nick Sweet and Derrick O’Donnell, as well as American-Canadian Tour competitor Jimmy Hebert.
Once things calm down in Barre, Vermont on Thursday night, they will start to pick up again “The Magic Mile”, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, on Friday morning.
Friday’s racing at the one-mile Loudon, New Hampshire oval will feature the inaugural Whelen All-Star Shootout for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour teams. Champions, race winners, and the best of the best in Modified racing will be on display in this one-of-a-kind event.
Also on the schedule for Friday will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Granite State 100, where Ben Rhodes will look to tie Northeast racing legend Ricky Craven’s record of five consecutive series wins. In addition to Rhodes, a full field of NASCAR’s rising stars will be on display in this 100-mile event at The Magic Mile.
Although the racing action may end at New Hampshire Motor Speedway following the Granite State 100, the action doesn’t end in the state of New Hampshire.
45 minutes south of NHMS, New Hampshire’s “Center of Speed”, Lee USA Speedway, will be holding their weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program featuring the Small Block Super Modifieds. This week’s program at Lee USA Speedway will also feature a giant fireworks display after last week’s July 4th celebration was cancelled due to rain.
In Connecticut on Friday, Stafford Motor Speedway is riddled with history and will host a NASCAR Whelen All American Series program. The highlighted division is certainly the SK Modifieds with drivers such as former NWMT champs Ted Christopher, Ryan Preece and Doug Colby racing in it.
Further south than that, the coastal town of Waterford, CT is the place Friday for a 50-lap Street Stock Open $1,000 to win race and Legends Cars races as well. That will be followed by the Speedbowl’s normal Saturday night NASCAR Whelen All American Series program with SK Modifieds as the lead division.
Things pick up right where they left off at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning when the ground-pounding Modifieds of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour pound the asphalt during qualifying for the Sunoco 100. NWMT teams will have a brief break in action before they return to the track at 1pm ET for the running of the Sunoco 100.
Every year you will hear fans around the short track racing community talking about the NWMT at New Hampshire as being one of the most thrilling races of the year. The race is known for featuring many lead changes and close, exciting finishes throughout the years. Expect things to be no different this year with the best of the North and South expected to compete.
The NWMT event at the “Magic Mile” will air on a tape-delayed format on FOX Sports 1. Veteran broadcasters Bob Dillner and Phil Parsons will have “The Call,” with Kaitlyn Vincie as a pit road reporter.
Once things cool down in the state of New Hampshire on Saturday, some of NASCAR’s most popular members of the media are expected to travel roughly 75 miles north to Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont for Media Appreciation night at the famous Vermont dirt track.
NASCAR on FOX Sports broadcaster and Speed51.com owner Bob Dillner will be joined by long-time NASCAR pit road reporter Dick Berggren, fellow NASCAR on FOX broadcaster Mike Joy and Mark Garrow from the Performance Racing Network for a meet and greet with fans.
In addition to the media members making the trip to Bear Ridge, longtime NASCAR competitor Ken Schrader will be competing at the track in a USAC Sprint Car owned by longtime Northeast car owner Bobby Seymour. Schrader will help bring the already high excitement level at Bear Ridge to another level with the USAC Sprint Cars, Sportsman Modifieds, and very popular Sportsman Coupes all in action on Saturday night.
If dirt is not your style on Saturday night, White Mountain Motorsports Park just an hour up the road from NHMS is one of the most majestic tracks in all of New England. The quarter-mile, high-banked, asphalt speedway will have Late Models, Strictly Stocks, Mini Stocks and more duking it out under the lights.
On Sunday, the exciting week of racing will come to a close in the Northeast after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
From Thunder Road on Thursday to The Magic Mile on Sunday, the racing action throughout the region is expected to be wild. Pack up the coolers, fill up the gas tank, and get ready to witness an exciting week of racing action in New England.
By Brandon Paul – Northeast Editor for Speed51.com – Photo Credit: Alan Ward & NHMS