With the recent extended period of arctic cold still fresh on the mind here in central Maine, race fans are starting to dream about the 2018 short track season and hoping to bask in some warm spring sun.
They’ll all have an opportunity to gather this coming weekend in the state capitol, as the 30th annual Northeast Motorsports Expo and Trade Show kicks off at the Augusta Civic Center.
“We’ll have a lot to see and do for fans who need a little racing fix,” show promoter Steve Perry said. “For three decades now, several tracks, touring series and local racers have put a big effort into being ready for this show. They see the value of having a presence here, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Perry, now in his ninth year as promoter, is continuing an annual tradition created by show founder Tim Attaya, showcasing several different kinds of racing.
“For example, Team EJP, of Gardiner, has supported this show every year since it started. Peter Prescott stands by us, just as New England Racing Fuel and several others do,” Perry said.
“Between the nice displays, new paint schemes, our annual Pit Stop Challenge and a chance just to see everybody again, the show has a lot to offer. It’s a rich tradition I’m proud to maintain. We focus on local short tracks and local racers.”
Perry, who took over the show from Attaya in 2010, is the host of “Mainely Motorsports,” a local television show which showcases Maine auto racing. He also promotes a show in southern Maine, slated this year at the Portland Expo on Feb. 23-24.
Prescott will have a special guest on hand in his display area. Jeff Stumb is the director of “The Great Race,” a special cross-country driving event for classic car enthusiasts. Stumb will have information about the 2018 edition, which runs from Buffalo, New York, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and passes through Maine.
Among the tracks and tours committed to display at this year’s show are Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Oxford Plains Speedway, Wiscasset Speedway, Speedway 95, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) and the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour (ACT).
The ACT Late Models will return to Oxford Plains Speedway in 2018 on two occasions (May 20 and Aug. 26, as part of Oxford 250 weekend). ACT begins a new era this year with former racer and Thunder Road International Speedbowl (Barre, Vermont) owner Cris Michaud at the helm.
A few local drivers planning to display their cars include Jimmy Childs of Leeds (Wiscasset Speedway booth); Kyle Hewins, also of Leeds (AMSOIL booth); and veteran Dan Mckeage (Beech Ridge Motor Speedway display).
Other local racers planning to attend include Joey Doyon (Speedway 95 display), Puzzled Racing (Star Speedway display) and Wiscasset’s 2017 New England 4-Cyl. Pro Champion Max Rowe (in the Mainely Awards booth).
Among the news items to come from this year’s show is the announcement of a first annual Mainely Motorsports Night for the Portland Sea Dogs on June 22. The blending of these two summer sports will raise funds for the Special Olympics.
The Maine Vintage Race Car Association (MVRCA), the folks who run the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame, will again have a presence at the show. The MVRCA also maintains the Mobile Museum, which will be open to tours inside the Civic Center. The group will also have a few restored race cars.
Tickets for the Northeast Motorsports Expo and Trade Show are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children ages 6 to 12.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The show continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and concludes Sunday from 10 a.m. to to 3 p.m.