Fishing and auto racing collide on frozen lake

Talk about living the good life. I mean, does it get any better for a combination outdoors/auto racing writer than this?

I can file two stories from the same place and count it as, like, 4 days of work. Wow. Where do I sign up?

Former NASCAR driver still revered around these parts, Ricky Craven, is joining with the Moosehead Chamber of Commerce to host the 1st annual Moosehead Lake Togue Ice Fishing Derby on Jan. 26-27.

The derby, designed to help Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife clean some of the lake trout (togue) out of Moosehead, will raise money for local and national charities. There are cash prizes for the 3 biggest togue caught, and all anglers bringing in smaller fish will be given raffle tickets toward several prizes.

For more info on the derby, visit www.mooseheadlake.org or RickyCraven.com.


Godfather leaves happy... or, at the very least, cold

Apparently I'm doing a well enough job here in northern New England. Confirmed early this morning, The Godfather returned to his balmy Connecticut bungalow satisfied that the Connecticut Motorsports Media Mafia is firmly entrenched here in Maine.

Or something like that.

It was not an uneventful weekend for The Godfather, although I did learn that in some places, apparently, single digit temperatures in the middle of the night constitute "cold." Not that the esteemed Mr. Courchesne and I were out carousing in the middle of the night. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

As my wife will attest to, I was home by the reasonable hour of 4 a.m. each night this weekend. (What? That's not reasonable?)

We did manage to get some actual work done, however. Here's what we learned over the weekend (and by "we" I mean "I," because Courchesne was so cold he couldn't write anything down after his tape recorder froze up on him...):

* 4-time PASS North champ Ben Rowe is going to enter some ASA races with his Richard Moody Racing team, though the exact number of events is TBD. Rowe said they'd at least like to hit Bristol, Milwaukee and Indianapolis. Bonus for RMR: An ASA car is legal in both PASS Super Late Model Series, so it's not an expense that will be wasted.

* As I've suggested all along, it looks like the PASS North Series will have someone other than Speed 51 handling it's PR duties. Word out of Augusta was that Norm Desjardins would be doing the press releases, etc., and some combination of photog Norm Marx and his wife, Fran, would be involved, too. PASS owner/president Tom Mayberry has also offered Marco Thomas the job on a couple of occasions already this off-season.

But what would an award-winning motorsports journalist know, anyway? As reader "Kristen" pointed out in a recent comment on the blog, maybe someday I'll be a "good motorsports journalist," just like my friend Mike Twist (her words, folks, not mine...)

* USAC's coming to Maine. It's Ford Focus midget series will be at Wiscasset Raceway in May. Of course, giving the ambitious slate new owner Doug White has put together there, it's easier to say what WON'T be happening at the track than what will be. I'm not sure, but I think they're going to race Sprint Cup Series haulers there in a 25-lap feature in November. Those haulers have to have 1998 or 1999 bodies on them, though...

* Caught up with the most recent ACT winner, the same guy who also just happens to be a 3-time Oxford Plains Late Model champion. All Travis Adams will promise is that he's going to be at the season-opener in April at Oxford. He's having a second baby boy in May, and is putting his focus into the one thing he's yet to do at the track -- win the 250.

Fair enough.

And, as I told Adams on Saturday, stop after the second child. Beyond that, they start to out-number you...

Trust me.


Failure, as they say, is not an option. At least not in Doug White's mind.

The Wiscasset Raceway owner is set to begin his first full season at the facility after purchasing the track last summer. Honored this weekend as the state's Promoter of the Year by the Northeast Motorsports Expo, held at the Augusta Civic Center, White is hoping to spring Wiscasset forward by reaching back into the past.

Read the complete story in today's Kennebec Journal.

Reverse gear: 2007's Top 10

5. Busch involved in scandal at All-Star Speedway

At All-Star Speedway in June, we saw the dangerous side of including NASCAR's star power in racing at the local level.

Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch drove a car owned by Steve Perry in the All-Star 200 the night before the Cup race in Loudon, and Busch throttled his way through the field. Problem was, he did so twice to win -- the second time after illegally changing tires on the car.

PASS North Series rules prohibit cars from making tire changes during feature events, unless it's to repair a flat tire. Busch pitted and reports from All-Star indicated that his crew intentionally punctured tires after the stop to make them appear to have been flattened during the race.

Controversy swirled after the checkered flag as teams started to receive word of what had happened.

Two central issues were at the core of the calamity.

First, Busch was not immediately stripped of the win -- that didn't come until the next day. Fans had to sit through a faulty victory lane celebration, one that only served to take a stab at PASS's credibility. Having Cup drivers compete in local events is good for everybody -- promoters, teams and fans. Having Cup drivers whip the locals only hurts the industry and certainly doesn't make short-track drivers look very good.

The other issue came in the form of a conflict of interest. Perry, now the owner of the television show Mainely Motorsports, was working as a marketing director for PASS at the time. Whether or not his car and driver were treated with favoritism was irrelevant. All it took was the appearance of that kind of favoritism to injure the PASS reputation.

Would Busch have been at All-Star without Perry's involvement? Probably not, especially considering their relationship during Perry's involvement with SP2 Motorsports, which fielded Oxford 250 rides for Busch in past seasons. But Perry should have either arranged for a seat for Busch is some other owner's car, or he should have cut ties with PASS at some point prior to the event.

Perry's heart may have been in the right place -- helping local short track racing and the Super Late Model division in particular -- but the execution of the entire All-Star night left a bad taste in the mouths of teams and fans alike.


6. Car of Tomorrow
7. Clark-Chapman rifts
8. Return of the outlaws
9. DEI signs with Andy Santerre Motorsports
10. Ben Rowe's 4th PASS North Series title