While Americans take the time this week to celebrate the birth of the Nation, the competitors of the Pro All Stars Series North along with the race fans of Maine and New Brunswick will celebrate the rebirth of a race track on Tuesday night. Located in the border town of Caribou, Maine, the quarter-mile Spud Speedway will open its gates to full-size race cars for the first time since 2015.
Not only will the top drivers of PASS North be on hand, they will also have an added incentive of a guaranteed starting spot in either the Oxford 250 or PASS Commonwealth Classic going to the top-five finishers.
Spud Speedway owner Troy Haney is thrilled to have such a pivotal race serve as the first race back for PASS since their only appearance in 2010.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to put together a good collection of some of the best Super Late Model drivers in New England and New Brunswick, put them in one place for a huge 200-lap event,” Haney told Speed51.com.
After the last season of Stock Car racing in 2015, only the non-profit Northern Maine Karting Association has utilized the track. But it has kept the blood flowing at this old venue, which opened in the 1960’s.
Since announcing the PASS Aroostook Savings & Loan Firecracker 200 back in the spring, Haney and his volunteers have been hard at work, especially in recent weeks.
“The last three weeks we’ve had an incredible amount of work done. For the last two we’ve had eight to ten people here all the time. We replaced all the bleachers, fixing the fences, lights, sound system, landscaping, everything you can think of we’ve touched it up. We are doing our best to give everyone the best possible experience they can have when they get to Spud Speedway.”
The event is set to bring in drivers from across Northern New England and Maritime Canada; the driver putting in the most amount of miles just to get there is Wyatt Alexander. Despite being from Maine, the 18-year-old has made a home down south in North Carolina while attending UNC Charlotte, and he is looking forward to celebrating July 4 and the reopening of Spud with his family.
“It’s good to be back, especially the week of the Fourth of July, it’s going to be awesome. I raced at Spud in 2014 in the Legend Car, it’s a nice track. It’s really cool for my dad and grandfather, because this will be almost exactly 30 years since my grandfather last raced up here. My dad was 14 years old,” Alexander said.
After running his first PASS North event of 2018 last month at Speedway 95 in Bangor, ME, Alexander feels he has a car to compete with over 200 laps.
“I feel really good, we were a top-five car at Speedway 95 a couple of weeks ago, and there’s going to be a number of really great cars this week. We are fast, we just had some mechanical issues at Speedway 95, hopefully we can improve on that, as far as getting the car up to speed. We’ll see how it plays out, I think we have as good a shot as anybody.”
Other than winning, Alexander’s main goal of the night is to enjoy racing at the venerable facility, while also hoping that it will be the beginning of a great new tradition.
“It’s great to see because there is so much going on around that area, so it’s cool that they are having this event. I don’t know what the future holds, maybe there is a chance that this race could really spark something or PASS could come back next year. I know a lot has gone into the place, it’s great to see it pay off.”
The plans for Spud beyond this week are unclear, but Haney is also hoping that this will be an annual occurrence from here on.
“We want this to be the first of an annual event. It’s the only racing event around July 4 regionally that we know of. So we’re trying to make this our signature event. We may have one event this fall. Next year we’re looking to do a monthly schedule of events with a bunch of tours that come and go, like Legends, Wicked Good Vintage, or some kind of four-cylinder event, that way each event has its notoriety,” Haney explained.
Best of all, Spud is helping to give back to the community that has supported it for so many years, even before any race cars have turned a wheel.
“The most important part of this event is that not only have we got racing back in the county and the facility, but also taking the opportunity to raise money for Feed the County School Drive. We’ve already raised over $13,000 for 24 food pantries in Aroostook County.”
Follow Speed51.com tonight for coverage of the PASS Aroostook Savings & Loan Firecracker 200 from Spud Speedway.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Spud Speedway Facebook