What a great experience to visit a new track with the potential of being added to the NEMS lineup in 2012. On July 16th, 2011, 4 competitors from NEMS including Drew, myself, Terry Reil, and Spencer Allen made the trip to Boondocks Raceway in Skowhegan, ME for what we called a NEMS Exhibition race. We were joined by two East Coast Mini Sprint competitors Todd Perry in a 1000cc sprint car and Paul Rose in a 1200cc sprint car.
The reception from track officials and other local drivers and fans was phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for more excitement in the air. In the heat, Drew started second row inside while I started behind him in the third row inside.
Not knowing the track, we continued to run some hot laps to get a feel for things. When ready, we regrouped in starting position and took the green. While Perry and Reil battled it out for the lead, there was another battle going on for the 3nd place spot between Drew, Allen, and myself, with Rose right on our heals. After a few laps I managed to prevail for the 3rd place position. Drew finished right behind me.
The track was an interesting shape. Not like any of the other tracks we run. It was a “D” shape but with unique features. Turn one swooped into a narrow turn 2. Not a good place to pass if you didn’t want to end up in a tracktor tire marking the inside of the turn, or risk running into the wall. It reminded me of the slot cars I had as a child. If your familiar, it reminded me of the narrowing slot track that when both slot cars where side by side, one would be bumped off the rails. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, it’s just the best way I can describe it.
Turn three and four were a bit different. The track was much wider here and this made for great opportunity to pass. While turn three was a bit abrupt, not to mention slick, it made it hard for cars to stay low and block a low side pass. Turn four then lead to the fast, front stretch, arched side of the “D”. The front stretch had one notable feature that we were told was to be removed the next day. There was a bit of ledge, or rock, protruding above the surface of the track. Now, I’ve never jumped a mini sprint before, nor have I ever thought of doing so. The rock was not that easy to see, and most of the time, it was very close to the line we were running. I definitely got air more than once over that rock. It was pretty cool!
For the Feature, Drew and I started the second row, Drew to the inside. Paul Rose starting on the pole was off to an early lead leaving Spencer Allen fending off the rest of us to battle for second. It was Todd Perry who would get around me to battle Allen and take 2nd. But then Perry, undergoing mechanical issues, didn’t keep 2nd for long as Allen and I took the position back and battled between us to secure second. I managed to slip by Allen in turn four only to look ahead to the straight away lead that Paul Rose had in his 1200cc car.
I figured that was about the best I would do. My 600cc was not going to be a match for the 1200cc already ahead by a straight away. Then within 2-3 laps, I was shocked as I caught Rose on the back stretch. What I didn’t consider was that with the tight corners, the power to weight of the 600cc cars had an advantage coming off the corners. Within a couple more laps, I managed to maneuver my way past Rose for the lead.
Then after a few more laps, there was a cloud of dust on the front stretch. So much that it forced Rose and I to slow to almost a stop. I could only see a few feet off the front of my car. The caution came out and as we rounded the back stretch I saw someone motioning that we were calling it quits. I figured because it was getting too dusty to see. I saw Allen and Rose exit the track and slowed up to let Reil and my brother pass. At this point I thought the race was over and I had won. I wanted to take the flag for a ride around the track. So you could imagine my surprise when the green flag came back. (lol) The three of us, Reil, Drew and I finished up the remaining laps in the dust and finishing in that order.
After we came off the track we were greeted by an unexpected crowed of excited fans and competitors of all ages. The kids had a blast as we gave them the opportunity to sit in the cars. It turned out to be a very exciting day. Drew and I both agreed, we would be more than willing to come back again next year. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.