New Hampshire track gets vote of confidence

Any talk of Bruton Smith and the swapping of race dates, naturally, gets New England race fans worried.

Not so fast, kiddos -- New Hampshire Motor Speedway remains out of this week's conversation. While Smith was talking about swapping a couple of NASCAR Cup Series weekends on the schedule involving a facility he owns, he wasn't talking about taking one of NHMS's races and moving out to his Las Vegas track.

Given that the Cuppers are in Vegas this weekend, it seemed as good a time as any for Smith to float date changes. He did -- though he's proposing swapping his October race at Atlanta with the Labor Day weekend race at California Speedway.

In a story by David Poole of the Charlotte Observer, Smith said he firmly believes Vegas has earned the right to a 2nd Cup race each year. He also said, and it should come as music to New Englanders' ears, that he's somewhat loathe to the idea of doing so at New Hampshire's expense.

"Maybe they will feel sorry for us some day," Smith said in Poole's story. "You realize that NASCAR has never, ever, never given me a date. They’ve given a lot of other people dates. ...It’s just an oversight. I am sure they meant to."

California's attendance has been embarrassing for a track that took an instutition off the slate -- the Southern 500 -- and the SoCal crowd hasn't exactly gobbled up NASCAR the way officials thought it would. That's great news for New Hampshire in the long run -- even though Speedway Motorsports Inc. (Smith's company) doesn't own California specifically, any track like NHMS that routinely sells out 2 races a year remains a boon for NASCAR in general.


Steve Perry still a one-man show

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- During my recent appearance on the television show, Mainely Motorsports, Steve Perry jokingly asked me what he needed to do to make No. 1 on a yearly top-10 list of mine.

He may be well on his way to doing it already.

Perry acknowledged on Friday night that he is, indeed, running what used to be called Richmond Raceway. Running into Perry at the Speedway EXPO, he told me that he has been handed the reigns of the go-kart facility and that it is being called Richmond Karting Speedway now. But he didn't stop there.

Perry, of Windham, also said that he has purchased a brand new Super Late Model and that he will field a car for Chris Kennison in the PASS North Series races at Wiscasset Raceway and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway this season. He entertained the idea of completing the full PASS slate by employing another driver for the races the Oxford native Kennison won't run, but Perry said that he won't be doing that.

In other news from Friday night...

* Derek Mingo, flagman at Wiscasset Raceway, said that the open competition Street Stock event at the track on the first weekend of October will be run by the track, not by PASS. It will not be a PASS Sportsman division event, though it will be run with serious rules input from PASS president Tom Mayberry.

* Word is (though unconfirmed) there are almost 30 Late Model teams that have informed Wiscasset that they are thinking about competing weekly there. one of those Late Model teams belongs to Perry, who has joined with Darren Ripley. Ripley will pilot the car that Mike Rowe finished second to D.J. Shaw in during last year's Coastal 200.

The kicker? The engine in Ripley's car is the one that powered Shaw to that 200 win.

* Derek Ramstrom's only got a learner's permit. Crazy, huh?

The 16-year-old driver from West Boylston, Mass., is entering his 3rd season in PASS North Series competition and he'll once again run the entire schedule in his family-owned No. 35. He's also going to do a handful of PASS South races.

* For those of you following the exploits of the Connecticut Motorsports Media Mafia, the Springsteen show was solid. It wasn't a blow-you-off-your feet kind of performance, as the Boss is starting to show some age. But, what the show lacked in fluidity and escapades it more than made up for in rarities.

Some of the highlights -- "Backstreets," "Kitty's Back," "The River," "Janey Don't You Lose Heart" and "Reason to Believe."

And I've decided that "Long Way Home" is the best song on the new "Magic" album.

* Now, it's time to educate the masses on how to get their names mentioned in this here space. Start by not throwing punches when you see me in public....

* And, finally, are you Bradley Stills?


Andy Santerre signs Sellers for No. 44

Former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Peyton Sellers is going to fill the vacant seat at Andy Santerre Motorsports this season.

ASM announced on Wednesday that Casella Waste Systems would sponsor Sellers in the No. 44 Chevrolets that Sean Caisse drove in each of the last 2 seasons, the same cars Santerre drove to 4 straight Camping World East Series titles.

Curious that the press release making the announcement would champion Sellers as the "top returning" series driver, which he is, at least in theory. Joey Logano is out of work while he waits to make his Nationwide Series debut at Dover, Del., this spring, and Caisse, who finished 2nd, is still looking for work after a Germain Racing truck deal fell through over the winter.

Sellers spent the last 2 seasons in the East Series, though the Santerre seat is by far his best chance to showcase his talents after driving for a family-owned team last season. The 2005 national champion from Danville, Va., was winless with 4 top-5 finishes in 13 races last season.

ASM will also field the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing development driver Austin Dillon, Childress' grandson.

E Street Band named official band of the C3M

When The Godfather beckons with an assignment, you can't simply ignore it. When you're the consigliere for the Connecticut Motorsports Media Mafia, you have to go where The Godfather tells you.

It's kind of a part of the gig. A big part.

So, Thursday night, I'm heading to Hartford. Seems the big guy's got an extra ticket for the Bruce Springsteen show at that place where they used to play National Hockey League hockey, and I'm going to be attending. You know, like The Godfather's invited guest.

It's only the beginning.

From there it's off to the Speedway EXPO in Springfield, Mass., where on Saturday morning The Godfather and I are going to regal scores of interested racers and teams with tales of how to get their tales told in the newspaper. And in magazines. And on the internet (well, actually, that last one's an easy one -- they've just got to shell out for it. oops, sorry, couldn't resist...). Then on Sunday, they hand out the Speedy awards, where Godfather and I are finalists for the same media award.

Naturally, I can't win. If I did, wouldn't he then have to 'off' me?

So, while I'l be "Working on the Highway" all weekend in the place I affectionately refer to as the "Badlands," it won't be all for naught. It'll be like being at a "County Fair" and when it's done, I'll be back in Maine, a little "Further On Up The Road."

Hey, I know it wasn't my best effort, but it was worth a shot....

You know, I got to thinking...

- After going to Daytona, I realized that New Hampshire Motor Speedway fans know nothing about what it means for a facility to be "fan friendly."

- NASCAR really botched it bad at California last weekend. Wet tracks, wet conditions are a recipe for disaster -- as much now as ever.

- What do Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth have in common? Not one of them has a personality. Heck, Jimmie Johnson seems downright loosey-goosey compared to Kahne, et al...