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Sale of Canaan tracks on schedule

August 14. 2013 8:33PM

CANAAN FAIR SPEEDWAYS — a 1/3-mile asphalt track and an adjacent 1/4-mile clay oval on the Canaan Fairgrounds just off Route 118 — are under deposit to a prospective buyer who may or may not continue to use the properties for stock car racing.

Owners Chick and Sandy Henry acknowledged several weeks ago that money had hit the table, partly to address concerns that the plug would be pulled mid-season. Prior to the Subway Fresh Fit 150 Late Model race Sunday, General Manager Dick Therrien said the sale — to an unidentified buyer — is likely to go forward, but it is still in the evaluation stage and the 2013 schedule will be completed.

Therrien, however, who has put in a laudable effort at making a go of it, is planning to relocate in Maine to work with Pro All-Star Series (PASS) president Tom Mayberry, who purchased Oxford Plains Speedway last fall. Therrien first began collaborating with Mayberry as the manager of Riverside Speedway in Groveton.

“It’s been a great challenge,” Therrien said of his time at Canaan, which included, two years ago, the worst flooding the town had experienced in over 30 years, as well as a tornado. “The Henrys are the most wonderful people I’ve ever worked for in my life.”

A new roof was installed over the old fairgrounds grandstand on the dirt track front stretch this year and many rebuilds and improvements of the grounds on the asphalt side have occurred. Canaan Dirt seemingly fared better economically, with a steadier following and more reliable car counts than the asphalt side, which has more competition from other pavement tracks. “Adding an asphalt Modified division this year has been a plus,” Therrien maintains.

Maybe so, but a look at the weekly results and the point standings confirms that the pits haven’t been brimming with cars on the asphalt side, although the same can be said of many short tracks in the Northeast and beyond.

Sunday’s $5,000-to-win Late Model 150 was the makeup of an earlier rainout, which resulted in several no-shows from the original entry list. ACT had a rare weekend off and some teams had made other plans before the make-up date was finalized. Joey Polewarczyk Jr. spent his weekend exchanging marriage vows with Brittany Theriault, whose brother Austin drives for Brad Keselowski Racing.

The several hundred fans who braved blue skies and bright sunshine Sunday (Canaan, like many local tracks, has been assaulted by wet weather this year) were treated to an excellent race. Wayne Helliwell Jr. won it in the EKeys4cars No. 27. Runner-up Aaron Fellows was on Helliwell like nail polish right to the end with Guy Caron a few feet away in third. The three cars made like three football players in a phone booth for well over half the race with minimal contact.

Caron’s A&G Logging No. 8 — red with lime green numbers — held the point much of the race. He was running out of grip, but was still ahead, with Helliwell clawing at his spoiler, when a caution with 10 laps to go did him in. Helliwell got the jump on him on the outside on the second attempt at restarting lap 140. Fellows, in the New England Outdoor Furnace/LaValley Building Supply No. 29, worked underneath Caron on the same lap for second. Luke Hinkley of Claremont was fourth. Glenn Luce of Turner, Maine, was fifth. Regular season point leader Scott McMichael of Newbury was 10th.

In victory lane it was announced that Helliwell’s win had earned him a qualified spot in Riverside Speedway’s “Fall Brawl” Saturday, Oct. 19.

The ISMA Supermodified Ollie Silva Memorial 75 at Lee was rained out last Friday and no makeup date has been agreed upon. It would be a shame if Mother Nature wins out on that one. The next night, ISMA, the Valenti Modifieds and the NEMA Midgets raced before a sizeable crowd at Waterford Speedbowl. Jon McKennedy started on the pole and drove to his first 2013 in the ISMA race for owner Paul Dunigan Jr. Ben Seitz passed Mike Ordway Jr., who was filling in for the injured Eddie Witkum Jr., late in the race to claim second.Keith Rocco of Wallingford, Conn., a.k.a. “Kid Roc,” won the Valenti 100. Rowan Pennink put on one of his customary late-race rallies to finish second. Chris Pasteryak was third. The Series moves to Seekonk Speedway Saturday.

Star Speedway hosts the Granite State Pro-Stock Series Saturday. Matt Frahm, of Salem, a two-time winner this season, won at Star a year ago. Jeremy Davis, of Tamworth, is the point leader.

The Classic Lites, a.k.a. Dwarf Cars, raced at Monadnock Saturday and Shaun Waites of Raymond came away with his first win of the season. The Classic Lites are on Friday night’s card at Lee USA. Julia Raymond of Winchester also broke into the win column at Monadnock in a Mini Stock.