It’s hard to believe it, but the Northeast racing season is just one month away.

 

Mother Nature cooperated for much of the winter and that’s great news for race tracks like Lee USA Speedway (NH) who as recently as last year have been forced to postpone their season opener.  There should be no worries about that this year with temperatures already in the 50s and 60s and no snow in the forecast.

 

graphic 51 tv rattler 2016The opening weekend of short track racing in the Northeast offers race fans a lot this year.  Two great events will be hosted in two different areas of the region.

 

Lee USA Speedway will host the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup, the season opener for the American Canadian Tour, on Sunday, April 10.  That race is one that is easy to get excited for if you’re a racing fan.  The side-by-side racing demonstrated by the ACT Late Models will be on full display throughout the race, and it seems as though there’s always an exciting finish to that race.

 

Further south in Connecticut the annual Icebreaker event, which serves as the season opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Pro All Stars Series, will be held at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

 

Both events are great options for diehard short track racing fans and provide an excellent kick-off to what should be an exciting season in the Northeast.

 

Moltz Going Full-Time ACT

 

Dillon Moltz celebrates a Granite State Pro Stock Series win at Thompson in 2015. (Speed51.com photo)

Dillon Moltz celebrates a Granite State Pro Stock Series win at Thompson in 2015. (Speed51.com photo)

Following four strong runs on the American-Canadian Tour in 2015, Connecticut native Dillon Moltz plans to race the full ACT schedule this upcoming season.  Moltz will pilot the RB Performance No. 5 owned by Mark Brackett and maintained by former racer Ricky Rolfe.

 

Moltz recently told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that he and his team built up a lot of confidence with the ACT car one year ago.  He recorded finishes of second (Oxford Plains), sixth (Devil’s Bowl) and 13th (Beech Ridge) in addition to contending for the win at Thompson before being involved in an incident with Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.

 

The goal for Moltz, the 2014 Granite State Pro Stock Series champion, is to compete for a championship in their first full season on the tour.

 

Mystic Missile Plans Still Unknown

In the weeks leading up to the Icebreaker at Thompson, many race fans will be waiting to hear what the future has in store for the famed Mystic Missile No. 4 Modified.  Todd Szegedy, who drove the car for team owner Bob Garbarino last year, shocked many when he announced he was stepping away from racing full-time.

 

Since Szegedy made his announcement, many rumors have been swirling around the Modified community including a false report that Jimmy Blewett would be driving the car.  Garbarino recently told Speed51.com that the team is working on putting plans together and hopes to be at the Icebreaker.

 

Conflicting Date Gets in the Way of Eddie Mac’s Plans

Eddie MacDonald celebrates one of his four ACT Invitational wins at New Hampshire. Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen photo)

Eddie MacDonald celebrates one of his four ACT Invitational wins at New Hampshire. Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen photo)

Eddie MacDonald had hopes of running full-time on the American-Canadian Tour in 2016, but a conflicting date with his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule may prevent that from happening.

 

The conflicting date is Saturday, July 16.  The American-Canadian Tour is schedule to race at Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts that day, which also happens to be the same day as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

 

In recent years the K&N East race has always been held during Friday’s “Pole Day,” but the race was moved to Saturday this year to create a tripleheader with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Xfinity Series.

 

Labbe to Run Select Late Model Races

A full slate of NASCAR Pinty’s Series events will keep Alex Labbe busy in 2016, but that won’t prevent him from still competing in select ACT and Serie ACT events.  Labbe recently told Speed51.com that he’ll be behind the wheel of the Louis Larue-owned No. 48QC Late Model for roughly nine races this season.

 

Labbe will kick off his season at the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway.

 

New Race Director for Granite State Pro Stock Series

Mike Green, a veteran race official, will take over race directing duties for the Granite State Pro Stock Series this upcoming season.  Green takes over the spot from Bryon Callen, who stepped away from the position after a year and a half at the helm.

 

Series owner Mike Parks told Speed51.com that he’s hoping that Green brings stability at the race director position as the series begins its fifth year of competition. Former GSPSS race directors include Josh Vanada, Cynthia Tebbetts and Jennifer Ready.

 

Friesen Running Full Super DIRTcar Series Schedule

Stewart Friesen will be tough to beat on the Super DIRTcar Series in 2016. (Speed51.com photo)

Stewart Friesen will be tough to beat on the Super DIRTcar Series in 2016. (Speed51.com photo)

Four-time Syracuse 200 winner Stewart Friesen will chase his first Super DIRTcar Series championship this upcoming season.  The Ontario native told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that a handful of sponsors have stepped up to allow him to run the full schedule in 2016.

 

Friesen kicked off his season at Volusia Speedway Park (FL) in February with three top-five finishes in four starts at the DIRTcar Nationals.  He’ll look to continue that momentum when the Super DIRTcar Series visits Fulton Speedway (NY) on April 30.

 

 

Craig Lutz, Matt Swanson Chasing Rookie of the Year

A pair of Modified competitors will step up to full-time competition on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2016.  Craig Lutz and Matt Swanson, who tested the waters as part-time competitors in 2015, are expected to both contend for Rookie of the Year Honors.

 

Lutz, a native of Miller Place, New York, made his first of four career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts in 2014.

 

Swanson, a 16-year-old from Acton, Massachusetts, made five appearances on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2015 including a career-best finish of sixth in the Fall Final 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).

 

Devil’s Bowl Adds New Youth Division for 2016

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is ready to welcome the next generation of stock car drivers to the track, with the inaugural season of the “Bandit” youth racing division in 2016. The division will offer a structured introduction to real racing competition with safety courses, a driving school, and a series of races for aspiring drivers age 10-15. Training and events will be held on both the half-mile Asphalt Track and the 3/10-mile Dirt Track at Devil’s Bowl.

 

DT100 Raises Over $44,000 for Make-A-Wish

Racers from all over the country made their way to Maine Indoor Karting on February 27 for the 8th Annual DT100.  While the racing on the track was entertaining for those in attendance, the main purpose of the event was to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation and that is exactly what the racers did.

 

Event organizer David Thomas, Jr. recently announced that the fundraising record was shattered with a whopping $44,154.00 being raised.  That amount helped bring the group’s eight-year net fundraising total to over $200,000.

 

-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51

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Northern Exposure: Racing Season is Only One Month Away