New England Race Tracks Hit Hard By Irene
Despite Damage Tracks Will Race Again This Weekend
By Mike Twist
Hurricane Irene might have weakened to a tropical storm by the time that it hit New England, but that did not keep it from causing massive damage to parts of the region. Roads and homes were washed away, helicopters were needed to rescue people from remote and flooded areas and sadly, lives were lost from Florida up to Northern New England.
The racing community was not immune to the devastation. New Hampshire’s Canaan Fair Speedway and White Mountain Motorsports Park were the two hardest hit tracks in the New England region, although both facilities plan to be in action this coming weekend.
Several campers that were set up at White Mountain for the racing season were actually washed down the Pemigewasset River by raging floodwaters. Much of the parking lot was washed away as well. Track workers were back at work early this week filling in the damaged areas with new gravel. Racing is still scheduled to take place this Saturday night at White Mountain and the PASS North Super Late Model race that was postponed from Saturday night has been rescheduled for September 11th.
Canaan Fair Speedway was almost completely underwater after the weekend of flooding. Several large boulders were also washed out into the pit area of the facility. Fences were toppled and large ruts were left behind in the parking areas. There was also damage to the technical inspection building in the Canaan pit area.
Earlier this week, track workers from both Canaan Fair Speedway and the adjacent dirt track pumped out excess water from the track areas. Volunteers started work at 8:30am on Wednesday to repair damage to the facilities. Track officials are planning to hold this weekend’s races, which includes a Sprint Car of New England show on the dirt scheduled for Friday night on the dirt track, although fans may have to be shuttled into the track from makeshift parking areas.
Waterford Speedbowl (CT) had its power come back on earlier this week, but much of the area around it is still dealing with power outage. A drive through Southeastern Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon showed that there are still massive power outages in the area and that many businesses – from gas stations to fast food restaurants are closed. Those businesses that are open are packed.
Wednesday night’s scheduled races at Waterford are still on and the track has posted a thank you message to the line crews that restored power to the facility.
Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) reports little damage to the track and its grounds from the storm. This weekend’s Labor Day Classic ACT race is still on schedule and a report on the track’s website indicates that most major routes to the track have either been reopened or are expected to be passable in time for this weekend’s races.
Riverside Speedway (NH) is a track that is no stranger to storm damage. The picturesque facility in Northern New Hampshire sits on the banks of the Connecticut River and flooding has struck the track before. This time though, the track was spared any damage from the storm. Racing is on a break there this weekend due to the nearby Lancaster (NH) Fair and the next scheduled event at that facility will be September 10th. Ironically, the track added a few new fall dates to their schedule this week to make up for races that were rained out earlier in the season.
Canaan Fair Speedway was a fishing pond over the weekend, but will be back in action this weekend. (Canaan Fair Speedway Photos)