A marriage made in... well, I'm not really sure

OK, so chalk this one up under the heading of "Partnerships I Never Saw Coming."

The American-Candian Tour announced this week that Torco Race Fuels is now the official fuel supplier of ACT Late Model racing. That means the roaring brand of fuel better known for its association with those drag racers in the nitromethane crowd will now be powering up the choked-off, barely-breathing, sealed up tighter than a biohazard waste receptacle outside the hospital emergency room, crate engines of ACT machines.

I don't get it. Maybe the fine folks over in the ACT marketing department (yes, you know who you are, you Montreal Canadiens-loving lunatics) figured this was the best way to dispel the myth that these Late Models have no horses under the hood.

There it is in black and white, however. Torco is expected to "pony" up for both championship and point standing awards.

“Our relationship with Torco will address major issues involving the technical inspection of our race cars," said ACT president Tom Curley, "and the full support we are receiving from (Torco and RT Raceparts) will help to maintain the integrity of the fuel required in our rule book."


Ironing out my TV blues

Funny how this whole thing works sometimes, isn't it.

After months of dodging Steve Perry — thanks to some not-so-flattering things I've written about his involvement in PASS Super Late Model racing — I hear he's looking for me. I go into cold sweats, wake up in the middle of the night convinced there's someone knocking, hide out in alleyways and dark closets. It can't be good.

And then I get the e-mail I've been dreading, from Perry himself. I cringe as I open it. I'm thinking: lawsuit.

Turns out, the big guy isn't so bad after all. He wants me to co-host his local cable television show "Mainely Motorsports" this week. He's heading to Florida this week for some NHL hockey (I know, not the first place you think of when you think ice hockey) and auto racing, and he wants me to co-host the show with usual cohort Marco Thomas.

And I say, what the heck, I'm in.

I've got to level with you here. I stick to the opinion that most people who have never met me don't like me — they think I'm obnoxious, smart-mouthed and arrogant. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, right? Isn't that what Meatloaf told us? But I also think that when people get to know me, they generally like me. I don't take things too seriously, and I like to laugh and poke fun.

Just ask Ken Minott or Bill Ryan. They'll tell you.

Long story short, going on TV might be good for me. People can see me — you know, so they know who they're taking a punch at in the pit area some night at Unity Raceway. And, it's the real me — not this blog persona you've all come to love and loathe simultaneously.

One thing you should know before you tune in — yes, I'm really that bald. (It's a fashion choice, not male-pattern baldness...).

Reverse gear: 2007's Top 10

3. It's still the Oxford 250

After nearly a full calendar year of announcements, question marks, analysis, mud-slinging and just plain curiosity, the TD Banknorth 250 arrived in late July last summer and looked like, well, the Oxford 250.

Oxford Plains Speedway owner Bill Ryan announced in 2006 that the race would undergo a significant change (along with the track itself) as it handed over the prestigious event to the Late Model division. Much was made in the weeks and months leading up to the event regarding all the new drivers and teams who were readying to take their shot at the biggest race of the year. Some voiced excitement over a leveling of the playing field by going to the more cost-effective Late Models; some voiced extreme displeasure over allowing a longtime support division to run for the big prize.

As it worked out, however, the event was just another in the long line of 250s -- exactly what Ryan predicted it would be. Roger Brown of Lancaster, N.H., didn't win the most exciting 250 in history, nor did he win the worst race in Oxford's history.

There was pit strategy, lead changes, a late-race pass for the win that came with a small amount of controversy and a front fender serving as the margin of victory. Like in years past, qualifying didn't disappoint either -- nearly 100 cars (95) attempted to make the show, with 28 first-time qualifiers getting in. Some big names didn't make the show (Jeff Taylor, Patrick Laperle), while some upstarts did (Josh St. Clair, Jeff White).

The faces may have been new and the cars may have looked and sounded different, but the race itself was exactly what Maine race fans have come to expect.