April 9, 2013

AUTO RACING NOTES: Making some changes

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Jere Humphrey promised changes at Unity Raceway when he agreed to lease the track from owner Ralph Nason last month.

The first one?

“We’re switching tires,” said Humphrey, a Washburn native who is leasing the track for about $35,000 a year. “We’re going back to American Racer tires, which many other tracks in the state use.”

Humphrey said he ordered 400 new tires for about $32,000. Unity previously sold Hoosier tires, but Humphrey wanted to stay consistent with what other tracks were using.

“If we’re going to attract cars to different venues, we figured this would be a good start,” Humphrey said. “This is our initial order and we’ll have to make another one at some point.”

Drivers will be allowed to purchase six tires on or before opening day, which is May 26. Drivers will then only be allowed to purchase one new tire each week throughout the season.

“We just want to keep the competition in balance,” Humphrey said. “This makes it easier for those who may only be able to afford one tire a week.”

Another change Humphrey implemented is the creation of a Sportsman Outlaw division, which he hopes will attract several drivers who have “older cars that are sitting in the woods that don’t have a class to run in.”

“There are very few rules for this class,” he said.

Humphrey added he’s lined up several sponsors and is gearing up for opening day. The track will host a cleanup day April 28.

“We haven’t been on the track yet because the last time I was there we had about a foot of snow on the ground,” Humphrey said. “But we’ll make some minor repairs to the track. We want to make a few more improvements but we also know we can’t do everything at once.

“It’s starting to shape up better than it was. We open later than everybody else, so there should be no problems. We’re excited to get going.”

• • •

Reid Lanpher is finally settling into his Late Model ride with JR Motorsports, and the results are starting to show.

The 14-year-old Lanpher finished third in the second half of the Dirty Dozen Cup Twin 100’s at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C., last weekend.

Lanpher, who is driving the No. 8 car owned by Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., started ninth before making his way up through the field to grab his first podium finish with the team.

“Awesome,” he said. “We’ve been really fast. We’ve made a lot of gains with the car. I’m really comfortable in the car now.”

Lanpher finished ninth in the first 100-lap feature.

Next up for Lanpher will be his Oxford Plains Speedway debut for the Pro All Stars Series North 150 on April 21.

Lanpher will drive his family’s Super Late Model car for the race. Tony Rici will set the car up while Andy Santerre will serve as crew chief.

“I’ve never raced at Oxford or a (Super Late Model) so it’s pretty exciting,” Lanpher said.

• • •

Defending TD Bank 250 champion Joey Polewarczyk, of Hudson, N.H., will drive in the American-Canadian Tour as well as the Pro All Stars Series this season.

Polewarczyk has a car for each class.

“We have an ACT car and we have a brand new PASS car that we put together,” Polewarczyk said. “We plan on running most of the big races. The ACT has a lot of weekends off and it doesn’t really conflict with PASS.”

Polewarczyk purchased a chassis for the PASS Super Late Model from Farmington native Jeff Taylor.

“We had a PASS car in 2011 but we needed a new chassis,” Polewarczyk said. “So we got that and we’ll be ready to go.”

The ACT opens Sunday with the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup at Lee Speedway in Lee, N.H. Polewarczyk won the Governor’s Cup in 2008.

“It’s been a long offseason,” Polewarczyk said. “We are ready for this weekend.”

Polewarczyk added he plans to return at Oxford Plains Speedway to defend his TD Bank 250 title.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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