The New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is an event that is designed to turn short track racers from the region into stars. While competing on the biggest racing stage of New England will do just that, the most popular star of the race weekend might very well be a racer who won't be turning a single competitive lap this year.
That's quite alright though. The Grand Marshall for the 2019 Showdown is a homestate driver who has run thousands of very competitive laps in his career at NHMS and at tracks up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Hudson, New Hampshire native Dave Dion has been named as the Grand Marshall for this year's race. He will travel north from his current home in Florida to be honored in this role.
There are plenty of statistics that could be used in reference to Dion. He's a member of the Northeast Auto Racing Hall of Fame, he has won the Oxford 250 on three occasions, he is the 1996 NASCAR Busch North Series champion, he won the 1975 Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) and he has won 20 career races each in both NASCAR North and American-Canadian Tour competition. His career was chronicled in his autobiography "Life Wide Open,” which he teamed up with motorsports broadcaster Dave Moody to produce.
Yet what Dion is celebrated for the most is his goodwill towards race fans, good nature with his fellow competitors and the ability to tell a great story. Meeting fans and competitors at the Showdown will be a great opportunity for Dion to share a few of those stories.
"What's going on at Loudon (for the Showdown) is great," Dion said. "I love that I can be a part of it. I like the history, educating people and telling the stories. When you are racing, it's all about you. You don't have time for that. You have to be selfish because you are there to win."
Since his retirement in the late 1990's, Dion has only attended three races. Having him at the Showdown will be a real treat for fans, and something that he also looks forward to personally.
"When you get away, you've got to get away completely," Dion said. "I'm really looking forward to this though. I'm going to make it a little vacation, spend some time with family and really enjoy it.
"I've only gone to two or three races total (since retiring). I don't go to races now. But for this one, I have a purpose. I'm not just going to be hanging around. From when I was two or three years old, I've been a racing fan. I guess I've never stopped being a fan, so I'm looking forward to doing this. It is even in my home state!"
Having the cornerstones of New England short track, the PASS Super Late Models, VMRS Modifieds, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super Stocks and Weekly Modifieds make up the Showdown slate is something else that Dion is a fan of.
"This is blue collar racing," Dion stated. "I love seeing these divisions get the opportunity to race at Loudon. I'm a short track racer and I love this."
More details of Dion's role for the Short Track Showdown will be released in the coming weeks.
The third annual New England Short Track Showdown will take place on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23. Discounted tickets and pit passes are available online. Be sure to visit NorthEastMiniStockTour.com and the New England Short Track Showdown Facebook page to keep updated with the latest announcements.
The New England Short Track Showdown is an event made up of six races that showcase New England asphalt short track racing. Super Late Models compete with the Pro All Star Series, Tour-type Modifieds compete with the Valenti Modified Racing Series, Street Stocks race with the Street Stock Showdown Series and Mini Stocks race with the North East Mini Stock Tour. There are also open competition races for the Weekly Modifieds and Super Street Stocks.
Sponsorship and marketing packages for the New England Short Track Showdown are also available to companies of all sizes and can be tailored to you’re the needs and budget of your company. For more information, please contact Bob Guptill at 207-577-2681.
-New England Short Track Showdown Press Release
-Photo credit: Dion Brothers Racing Facebook