Our trip farther north found us staying at the Wild Duck Campground in Scarborough, Maine, just a few miles from Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. That race concluded our visit to Maine and we then headed down I-95 to our next base of operations near Mystic, Connecticut, at the Mystic KOA Campground where we were soon to visit Stafford Motor Speedway.
We don't talk much about our campgrounds, but both of these deserve mention. Wild Duck is tucked away beside a salt marsh just 2.5 miles from the coast where there is a wide, sandy beach and where at this time of year our Yorkie could run free without her leash.
This is lobster country, big time, and there are numerous places to go to find whole lobsters or the popular lobster roll. We did both many times. And it's not like down south where lobster is $17 or more per pound, there it's $3.78 a pound, kind of like eating fried catfish in Florida.
The Mystic KOA was also a very nice campground off the beaten path, but close enough to Mystic to be able to get there in only a few minutes. I was hoping to visit with my friend and Whelen Modified Tour race team owner, Bob Garbarino, but he was on a rare leave of absence from the team in a motor home somewhere in Arizona.
We just had to eat a meal at Mystic Pizza, (remember the movie?) and visit the seaport museum located there where in the 1900s whaling ships docked and offloaded. On display was one of only two steam yachts still in existence from earlier times and we got a special invite to tour it.
The Cangarda is a 126-foot luxury steam yacht built in 1901 and restored to full glory in 2009. Being mechanically minded, it was of great interest seeing how the steam engine worked and was now computer controlled in its operation. The original coal-burning boiler has been replaced by cleaner burning, forced-draft oil-fired burners and that reminded me of our efforts with green racing. Just call this, green steam yachting.
Anyway, I digress. My trip to Beech Ridge was scheduled for the big weekend that hosted the P.A.S.S. North Series races and that three-day program concluded on Sunday. Having scheduled the races at Unity Raceway for Saturday night, I was only able to attend the feature races but that was plenty.
Heather DesRoachers, one of...
Heather DesRoachers, one of the SK Modified drivers at Stafford Motor Speedway, hands out candy and her autograph prior to the Fall Final Race event. The SK's ran in support of the big daddy class, the Whelen Modified Tour.
The IMCA-type of Modifieds...
The IMCA-type of Modifieds run at Beech Ridge, in contrast to the Tour- and SK-types of Modifieds we saw in other parts of the Northeast.
Decisions, decisions. One...
Decisions, decisions. One of the exciting things about today's racing is the wide selection of setups a team can choose from. This is what racers love to do, experiment. And the possibilities are endless. We too love to experiment and will be doing just that in the months to come.
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway
Beech Ridge is a 1/3-mile semi-banked asphalt track that hosts upwards of 75 race teams per week on the average and drew more than 104,000 spectators this year. The track was opened on May 30, 1949, as an oiled dirt track and was paved at the end of the 1986 season
The track draws from the large metropolitan area of Portland, Maine, and surrounding suburbs. Access is easy due to I-95 and I-295 being close by. And the location was rural enough not to draw unwanted complaints from neighbors. For added protection against unwanted disturbances, mufflers are required at this track.
Our weekend consisted of several classes in support of the feature P.A.S.S. (Pro All-Stars Series) race. As I was traversing the pits, I noticed a familiar car. Jay Fogleman, a longtime (I did not say old) racer from Durham, North Carolina, was here and trying to pad his points in the series. He normally runs the South portion of the series, but this race was open to all series competitors and since Jay was in the top three in points, it was worth the trip, although it did surprise me.
The feature race comprised 300 laps and it was interesting how the teams managed their tires and pit stops. It ended up being a very competitive race that was, as could be expected, won by the car that could run longer on a set of tires than the others. Consistency in setup was the key to success.
The track runs from early May til mid-September, which is longer than I had expected for being so far north. But in addition to the regular Saturday night "NASCAR Nights" show, the track also runs events on Thursday and Friday nights.
The Thursday show features Beetle Bug, Mad Bomber, Mighty Trucks, and Ladies League racing. The Friday night show is called Car Wars and is somewhat of a demolition derby. But all of this action maximizes the usefulness of the track and adds revenue beyond what a one night show would bring in. This is very smart management.
Tire rules save racers money...
Tire rules save racers money and keep things legal. Here the race tires for the P.A.S.S. race are sequestered and under the watchful eye of a track official. In a colder environment, tire treatments would have a greater effect on the performance of the tire and so extra vigilance is needed.
Note keeping, even in the...
Note keeping, even in the stock classes, is what separates the winners from the losers. Tire temperature and pressure data can help you evaluate your setup and allow decisions to be made that will improve both the grip and handling.
Beech Ridge had a very modern...
Beech Ridge had a very modern and organized safety crew. We like that and highlight these things whenever we get the chance. Some tracks are still deficient in the makeup of the safety crew and equipment. It's a recipe for trouble.