Mickey Green, right, and his father Mitch Green, scratch their heads together during an ACT Late Model Tour practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire in 2013. Mickey Green bought Crazy Horse Racing from his father last year and is beginning to feel the effects of a delayed start to the 2019 season./Kennebec Journal file photo by Travis Barrett

Like all other sports both locally and nationally, auto racing in New England has begun feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While chassis builders in the state haven’t slowed to a standstill just yet, there are real fears than other six weeks could begin to seriously hamper the business of making race cars turn laps around tracks in Maine and New Hampshire.

“At the end of May, if we’re not back to racing, I’m going to start getting nervous,” said Mickey Green of South Paris, co-owner of Crazy Horse Racing.

Crazy Horse is one of several chassis builders in the state. While Green said there is still plenty of work to do as he and his employees are putting the finishing touches on new cars ordered during the offseason, he’s not that far away from worrying about staying busy.

If local tracks and tours aren’t competing, it means there’s none of the week-to-week work of making repairs, fine-tuning setups and general upkeep of his customers’ cars which serves as the lifeblood of a chassis builder during the season.

“I can get by a month or two without a pay check. I’ll find a way to make that work,” Green said. “What I’m worried about is that I’ve got six guys here that count on me. Those guys are my concern.”

Green also said that while he may be worried about his own side of the racing business, he understands that the impacts of no racing — for however long — will be felt by more than just those who build the cars.

In Maine, the racing season is short — typically barely five months long — and there is only so much time to make the model work.

“People aren’t at the point where they’re worried about it just yet, but by the end of April it will hit,” Green said. “With racing, it’s a three-way deal. The racers are bummed because they’ve got money invested in these race cars and they want to race them. Then there’s us, we make our living off it and we’re going to get hit hard.

“And then you’ve got the promoters. That’s not a lucrative business to begin with, and they need every penny they can make.”

Because of that, Green forecasts a fairly condensed summer racing schedule if things can get back to normal.

“I think tracks and tours are going to try and get every race in that they can,” he said. “You look at Bobby Webber (at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire), and he’s already talking about maybe trying to add some weekday shows to get enough races in. But it’s scary times for everybody, and unfortunately in the racing business we’re not building life-saving equipment out here.”

There is a silver lining that Green is hitching his hopes to, however.

“I think local racing has a better chance of getting started before big-time sports at the national level,” Green said.

• • •

It’s only mid-April and central Maine was dusted by a significant snowstorm last Friday, but the first dominoes at the local level have begun falling.

PASS North points leader DJ Shaw held the lead at 100 laps in a race last season. Jake Johnson is in second and former 250 winner Scott Robbins in third. Brewster Burns photo

The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) and American-Canadian Tour (ACT) announced early last week that the season-opening doubleheader for the two biggest tours in northern New England — at the region’s biggest venue — has been postponed. The event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway slated for April 18 has been moved to a tentative new date of May 9.

The state of New Hampshire currently has a stay-at-home order in place through May 4.

“These are unprecedented times for everyone involved,” PASS owner and president Tom Mayberry said in a statement. “We will continue to abide by all state and federal orders and respond to any changes accordingly. We’re thankful to the folks at NHMS for working with us to find a new date and to local tracks for being willing to accommodate the change.”

• • •

Pittston native Ben Ashline climbs out of his car and celebrates after winning the Boss Hogg 150 last season at Wiscasset Speedway in Wiscasset. Kennebec Journal photo by Travis Barrett

Wiscasset Speedway’s planned season opener on April 25 has been postponed indefinitely.

“The schedule beyond that will be adjusted as needed, pending any further directive from the state and federal government,” according to Ken Minott, the track’s spokesperson.

Wiscasset Speedway was set to open for practice sessions last Saturday, April 11, and on April 18. … Like Wiscasset, Oxford Plains Speedway was set to open on April 25. No official announcement has been made by the track regarding the date, though a “wait and see approach” is the message posted on its website.


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