September 12, 2021
Sad day for stock car racing in Maine
This morning, Spud Speedway owner Troy Haney sent me a Facebook message asking if I heard about Beech Ridge closing? I thought that could not be true. The track seemed to be doing well.
He sent me this link from RACE DAY CT written by Shawn Courchesne reporting that, “Andy Cusack (Beech Ridge owner) addressed competitors and fans at the track Saturday night following feature events and announced that he has signed a contract to sell the property to a developer.”
“Cusack told those on hand that the timetable for movement on the contract is still unclear. He left open the possibility that the track could operate in 2022 if issues should arise with the sales agreement or developmental timetable.”
The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I have not been to a regular season race for many years. My daughter and family attend the track for “Days of Destruction”, “Car Wars” and the monster truck shows and had great reports about those shows.
On my honeymoon in July 1976, my wife and I went to a regular season race which got rained out. I drove her car to the maintenance gate and told the guy that we were from the County and were sad that no racing would be going on that evening. I asked if I might take my wife’s car out on the dirt track and make a couple laps.
The guy was from the County and said I could make two slow laps and behave. In the pouring rain we took those couple laps at very reasonable speed. I stopped and thanked the maintenance man and promised that we would return the next night for the makeup date.
The next day I got to see Dr. Dick Berggren race his modified. As I recall, he did not have a successful race. I was thrilled to see the guy who wrote for Stock Car Racing Magazine which I read each month.
Until just a few years ago, my wife kept the tattered “Do It In the Dirt” bright orange t-shirt I bought for her. Wish I had that shirt now as a collector’s item.
Some racer reactions
Rusty Poland, Windham, started racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2000 when he was 15 in the Sports Series Division until moving up to Pro Series. He was tied with Bangor’s Gary Smith going into the final round this season in Pro Series. A bad result put him in third place for the season. (Gary Smith was crowned champion 2021).
Poland reflected on the sale of the track saying, “Beech Ridge wasn’t just a racetrack, it was safe place for us adrenaline junkies. It’s where families came together and created a bigger family. It was run flawlessly and run with pride and determination.”
“The drivers were fierce competitors under their helmets and inside the racecars but some of the nicest people and best of friends outside the cars. Beech Ridge has raised some of the most amazing talents in New England.”
“I’ve never seen more heart and soul put into a place by so many different people in different positions. I will never understand why it has to end this way. And why there weren’t more options laid out for our racing community to come together to keep the ship a float but I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to strap on a helmet with those men and women on a Saturday night under the lights.”
“My grandfather, Chummy Brown has been at Beech Ridge since day one,” said Poland. “He helped work on and owned some race cars. He helped a few drivers that made it to the Hall of Fame such as Dick Wolstenhulme, Glen Cusack, Jerry Sevey, and Pete Peterson.”
“Truly still in shock and heartbroken, ” lamented Pastore. “I have spent my whole life there growing up with my family and making all my friends along with meeting my wife at the track. I will miss that place more then I know how to put into words right now!”
“I raced full time in the Pro Series and every once in a while, I would bring my Sport Series car and run both classes, as I did last night. I ended up winning them both something that has not been done since mid-80s other than this year. I have been racing at Beech Ridge since 1991 in go-karts at the age of 8 years old. Then started in year 2000 in the Limited Sportsman Series on Saturday nights at The Ridge.”
Mike Fowler gave some background about his ownership of a race car and the experiences at Beech Ridge saying, “Me and my friend Travis Caruso both live in Gorham and own a SLM that Joe Pastore drives for us, Mike Rowe drove for us for 3 years before this season.”
“Our driver, Joe Pastore, has a Sport Series car that we also house in our shop.”
“When I was younger my Dad owned many championship cars at Beech Ridge with Mike Johnson, Mike Maietta, my late Brother Jason Fowler and Mike Rowe, I believe my dad (Dick Fowler) has 12 championships as a car owner there.”
“[Beech Ridge} is a place me and my family called home for me 30+ years and my parents for 50+ years. We have made so many great memories there and lifelong friends. Our family was highly successful and respected.”
“I’m saddened by the sale of the track to an out-of-state developer, I would have loved to see it be sold to someone that wanted to keep it a track, as I know first-hand there were a few that wanted to.”
I know Lindsey Walker through her relationship with Wyatt Alexander and met her when Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) was at Spud speedway competing in the PASS/ Aroostook Savings & Loan Firecracker 200. Her father, Dan Walker, and his wife Sue have been a big part of the goings on at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (BRMS).
In her own words she said, “For those that know me, I only give credit where credit is due. The only reason I know 90% of you on Facebook is because this guy (her Dad, Dan Walker) invested his entire heart, soul and time into a place we all call home.”
“Yes, this meant missing other important things that happened in our lives but it also gave me a place I knew I could always go to find him and find him in a mostly good mood. I would sit in the office with him while he typed up weekly racing blogs, sleep on the floor of the announcer’s booth, ride around on golf carts, put stakes in the ground, and map out the camping lots with him”
“We did it all. Dad. Your dedication to Beech Ridge, your friends and your racing family is something that has never been questioned. I know now something that has been so involved in who we are as people is being ripped out from under us”
“I love you and respect your passion for everything you do. Thanks for being an active member of not only the racing community but BRMS. I’ll forever be grateful that you used to drag me to that track for hours when I was a little kid.”
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway has two more events on the calendar this final season, September 17, Round 3 of Days of Destruction and the Thunder & Wildcat Divisions Showdown September 23rd.
Big Woods Grass Drags are back
After a one-year absence, the Ashland Big Woods Grass Drags are back with test and tune on Friday September 17 and race day on Saturday September 18, 2021. General admission on Saturday is $10. A pit pass will cost $10 more. Entry fees are $20 per class.
The track is 500 feet long with a 100-foot class starting area. Runoff at end of the track is an additional 1,000 feet.
Races are slated to start at 10:00 am Saturday. Test and tune for racers will be Friday September 17 from 12 noon until 4 pm.
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)