Auto racing: Craven, Park highlight Expo

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Maine native Ricky Craven and multi-divisional NASCAR winner Steve Park return to their northeastern roots this weekend, greeting fans during the 25th annual Northeast Motorsports Expo & Trade Show at the Augusta Civic Center.

Craven, a native of Newburg and current NASCAR analyst with ESPN, will be at the show Friday evening, while Park will be on hand both Friday night and Saturday. Craven’s NASCAR career took off after winning the 1991 TD Bank 250.

Park has won races in all three of NASCAR’s big three national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck), and competed in five different divisions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during his career. A native of Long Island, Park was the first driver hired by the late Dale Earnhardt to drive for his newly-formed DEI organization.

Along with appearances by these popular drivers, this year’s show offers some special recognition to over two dozen individuals in the sport. With backing from  Heluva Good cheese products, promoter Steve Perry has put together the “Heluva Good 25,” a list to be announced Friday night of the top 25 contributors to auto racing in the northeast during the show’s 25 years of existence.

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“This is something I think will be pretty special for our 25th anniversary show,” Perry said. “It was the fans themselves who chose these drivers and personalities. We also asked media members to rank them according to their on and off-track contributions. We’ll announce the 25 names starting at 7 p.m., and I think it will create a memorable evening fans won’t want to miss.”

In addition to two NASCAR stars and the Heluva Good 25 announcement, the 2013 show will offer race fans a chance to chat with local drivers in a relaxed atmosphere.

At the track, drivers are focused on their cars and strategy, but during an off-season show they can sit and talk. For more than two decades, Maine race fans have seized this great opportunity to get acquainted.

The show runs Friday from 5-10 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and concludes Sunday with a session from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission to the event is $9 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $5 for children ages 6-12. Three-day passes for adults will be available Friday night for $20. An adult ticket stub from Friday night or Saturday will provide a $3 discount for admission on Sunday.

For more details on the show, go to www.northeastmotorsports.net.

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