Scott McDaniel (14) drives behind Kate Re (10), with Kelly Moore (47) a row back during a PASS 150 qualifying heat race at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., on Sunday. Oriana Lovell photo

Tom Mayberry’s Pro All Stars Series tour finally started its season last weekend.

Now his track, Oxford Plains Speedway, will at least have cars on the track, even if there will be no checkered flags handed out at the end of the day. 

The PASS Super Late Models, Mods and Honey Badger Street Stocks all took to the track at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, this past Sunday for the first racing action of the season. The NELCAR Legends tour also competed in the opener. Oxford Plains will be holding a practice day for all of its weekly divisions this Sunday, but the grandstands will remain closed. 

Livermore native Scott McDaniel took part in Sunday’s PASS 150 Super Late Model feature, finishing 27th out of 30 starters in a race won by Vermont driver Nick Sweet. 

“The goal for me was to bring the car back in one piece, which we did. I had been to White Mountain in a modified but not a SLM,” McDaniel said. “We use a lot more brake there, and we weren’t prepared for that and lost the brakes. And the car was bottoming out badly.” 

McDaniel added that “some people definitely had some rust to shake off in that first race.” 

There were no fans at the track, and McDaniel said they were missed.

“You don’t notice them, but it still changes the atmosphere, like while you’re getting ready to get started,” he said. 

In last Sunday’s other action, Tyler King won the Mods feature, Zach Bowie topped the Street Stocks leaderboard and Luke LeBrun was victorious in the NELCAR race. 

Curtis Gerry, front, stays ahead of Bobby Therrien (5) and Evan Hallstrom (1), with Scott McDaniel following behind during the PASS 150 race at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., on Sunday. Oriana Lovell photo

The PASS tour will be making a second trip to White Mountain on June 21, with SLMs, Mods and Street Stocks all in action. 

According to the PASS website, the Super Late Models will run another 150-lap feature, with potential for a 40-lap B-feature, while the Mods will go for 60 laps and the Street Stocks for 50. 

The PASS Facebook page states that fans are welcome to attend, thanks to new re-opening guidelines in New Hampshire. 

Those guidelines state that the track can operate at 50% capacity. Race teams are limited to 10 people or less, and spectators must also be in groups of no more than 10 people. 

McDaniel said he is happy that fans will be back in the stands because it “brings back some normalcy.” 

He’s also looking forward to taking on White Mountain Motorsports Park again, now that he has gained some knowledge of the track in a Super Late Model car. 

He’s more familiar with Oxford Plains, which is his home track. 

“I’m really chomping at the bit to get back to Oxford,” McDaniel said. “There’s just a comfort level there.”   

PRACTICE ON THE PLAINS 

As much as McDaniel is eagerly awaiting the return of racing to Oxford Plains, he said he won’t be taking part in the first practice session of the season this weekend, instead focusing on the following weekend’s PASS race.

Curtis Gerry, the defending Super Late Model track champion at Oxford, also isn’t bringing his car to the practice, according to team manager Jason Thompson. Gerry’s car suffered a blown engine in last Sunday’s PASS race and the team is working on getting it ready for the next race at White Mountain. 

Brandon Varney sits in victory lane at Oxford Plains Speedway after winning an Outlaw division race on June 29. Oriana Lovell photo

The practice day is open to both the Oxford Championship (Saturdays) and Acceleration (Wednesdays) weekly series, so there should be plenty of drivers participating, according to Wednesday night Outlaws competitor Brandon Varney of Auburn, who expects to take part in Sunday’s practice.

“It’s been a long time coming. I’ll Just be happy to be on the track with my friends doing what we love,” Varney said. 

Varney, last year’s Outlaws championship runner-up, expects drivers to keep a level head despite having to wait extra long to get out on the track.

“I don’t think aggression will play much of a role because people do know it is just practice, and for a good amount of people it will be a lot about seat time and getting consistent and used to the car,” he said. “It is a good day to see where you stand with other competitors, though.” 

LOOKING FOR AN OPENING 

For the past few weeks, the Oxford Plains Speedway website and Facebook page have been updating fans about races being canceled and the unclear status of season’s schedule.

The latest update said: “We have been working with local and state representatives and had high hopes that we had a shot at getting approval to race. While state and local representatives have been great to work with, we are still unable to get our plan to safely operate the speedway approved.” 

State House minority leader Kathleen Dillingham, who represents Oxford, said she has been working with the track’s ownership — which couldn’t be reached for comment — to try and get the track opened. 

“I shared information about the track and their proposal for opening with the administration, and asked that (Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather) Johnson have direct conversations with the owners. I am told those conversations have happened,” Dillingham said. “I am continually in touch with the governor’s office checking for updates, and I am in hopes an agreement on an opening plan can be reached as soon as possible to allow for the track to get up and running.” 

Dillingham said the track’s size (with seating for 14,000 fans, according to the Oxford Plains website) allows for crowds over the current 50-person limit to physically distance. She said the track’s ownership has “offered to provide masks, create markings for people when standing in line to enter the track. … They are willing to work with any of the departments within the administration to meet safety guidelines, even going so far to run the races without fans present, like NASCAR has done.” 

She said the no-fans concession was made “over two weeks ago,” but as far as she knows no final decision has been made by the state. 

“As with most businesses, the longer they have to wait for guidance and permission from this administration to once again conduct business, the more long-term damage they incur as well as damage to the surrounding economy,” Dillingham said. 

Commissioner Johnson was asked about the opening of race tracks during a news conference Tuesday. 

“A couple of different speedways have sent in information about their grandstand spaces and infield spaces and others. I think obviously we want to support as much expansion as quickly as possible,” Johnson said. “Sports as a category and professional sports is a category on the docket, it just has been pushed out. 

“We’ve been looking at things like traffic flows, number of people — there’s just a discussion about gatherings to figure out is there a way and what would that way be. … Likely each speedway would need a specific set … protocols and traffic flows and those types of things. I think there are some concerning points around the number of people, fans that would normally go to a speedway and the activity that normally happens there. (Department of Transportation Commissioner Bruce) Van Note, has offered to kind of help us look at that in partnership with the public health team, so we expect to have more feedback on that coming shortly.” 


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