Maine and New Hampshire will be the focal point of three types of racing this week when land speed racers converge on Loring July 13-16, New Hampshire Motors Speedway hosts four major races in Loudon and the New England Forest Rally headquarters at Sunday River Resort in Bethel.
It’s one of those weekends where you have to make a choice of venue and live with it. I chose Loring since it is only minutes away.
Only one land speed event is planned for 2022 at the site of the former Loring Air Force base in Limestone, the Loring Timing Association Maine Event. The races will feature Canadian competitors for the first time in three years. Gilles Chaisson will be shooting for 275 mph on his new bike. Pam and Gary Beineke from Massachusetts will be returning with their 71 Superbird funny car and seeking the elusive 300-mph mark.
Ron Keselowski will be returning to the Loring event without his brother Bob, who passed away Dec. 21, 2021, from cancer. Ron’s brother was once fractions of a second from holding the fastest car speed ever at Loring.
The current record holder, Jason White, of Northwood, New Hampshire, will be back at Loring with his Dad, Fran. They will not be racing Fran’s VW Beetle, simply hanging out. Jason was an integral part of Dan Parker’s recent Guinness World Record set at Spaceport USA on March 31, 2022, at 211 mph. The catch you ask? Parker is blind and drove while White sat in the passenger seat ready to assist should that need arise.
Racing at Loring will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the New England Forest Rally this week at Sunday River Resort in Bethel, one team from central Maine will be defending their 2021 Open AWD Regional title, Rez-Racing from Indian Island. Brothers Nate and Robert Sockalexis will be racing their 1995 Subaru Impreza. The car left the factory as a front-wheel drive and has since been converted to all-wheel drive.
Bangor’s Last Ditch Racing team — consisting of John Cassidy driving and his son John Cassidy co-driving — will be a threat in Open AWD Regional class. Robert Sockalexis mentioned that he got his start in rally racing working on the service crew for Cassidy.
Sockalexis said, “I attended EMCC Auto Tech program in 2005 with the sole purpose of giving myself a leg up in Motorsport. Never once worked as a tech in the industry. I pride myself in being able to tackle most jobs in my little garage, aside from mounting tires, alignments and other specialized equipment jobs.”
“Our race car is powered by 2.0L turbo Subaru with 6 speed STI transmission, roughly 240 horsepower at the wheels. I bought the race-prepared engine block from Last Ditch Racing, and built the engine from there and I also built basically everything but the roll-caged chassis myself here in my garage.”
Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway features the Dirt Duels on the flat track followed by a doubleheader Saturday with Xfinity Crayon 200 at 2:30 p.m. followed by the America 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at 6 p.m. NASCAR Cup drivers will compete in the Ambetter 301 Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.
Derek Griffith of Hudson, New Hampshire, will be competing in the Xfinity race driving the Sam Hunt Racing Toyota. This will be Griffith’s third Xfinity Series start this season.
“I know the Xfinity Series car is going to race a ton differently than a Late Model, but I love Loudon,” Griffith said. “Hopefully that and my experience there falls into my favor. I just want to have a good showing. I have to do my job the best I possibly can. I’ve got a couple of starts in the car with this team, so now I know how things work. I know what I need to bring to the table.”
Griffith, you may recall, was the winner of the PASS Aroostook Savings & Loan Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway in July 2018.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly noted what year the 211 mph record was set in.