April 20, 2019

Drivers like new racing series

The Pro All Stars Series may be in its infancy, but the pro stock drivers involved in the first-year series have been impressed with it so far. They also feel the series has a bright future.

“Tom [series founder and director Tom Mayberry of Naples] was a driver. He was one of us last year. He knows what we want,” said Turner’s Ben Rowe, who won the now-defunct International Pro Stock Challenge and the Northeast Pro Stock series points championships last year. “Everything seems to be going good. There’s a good group of guys in tech [ensuring the cars are legal] and they seem to be clamping down.”

Detroit’s Adam Friend agreed.

“Tom has done a heckuva job,” said Friend. “We had 34 cars at Speedway 95 [last Saturday]. Some went home [because they didn’t qualify]. All we’ve wanted the last four years was a [good] tour. He has a lot of support. We’ve had good crowds. There’s talk about going to Thompson [International Speedway in Connecticut] at the end of the year as well as Star [Speedway, N.H.] and going back to Lee [USA, N.H.].

“If you can get into those places, you’re going to have a successful tour. You’ll get 30-50 drivers who will want to run at those places,” added Friend, who is among the points leaders.

Louie Mechalides of Tyngsboro, Mass. said, “It’s a decent deal. There’s a lot of travel involved but it’s a lot of fun. You get to see a lot of different racetracks.”

Dave Gorveatt of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island said the tour has been “excellent and seems to be well-organized.”

Mayberry said it appears as though the tour will expand from 12 to 15 races next year. The tracks range from Connecticut to Nova Scotia and Quebec.

So what will it take for Mayberry to sustain the series and foster its growth?

“We’re going to need enough backing so we can get good sponsors,” said Shaw. “It costs a lot of money to do something like this. If the tour can get a big corporate sponsor, the cars will get more sponsorship. Tom Curley proved that with the ACT [American-Canadian Tour]. If you prove yourself to a big company, they’ll want to invest in other aspects [of the tour].”

Friend concurred.

“When Tom leases a track, it’s hit or miss. He could lose eight grand or he could make eight grand.

“If somebody came in and gave us $5,000-$8,000 for each race to earn a title sponsor, that would be a pretty cheap deal for them,” said Friend.

The consensus among the drivers is that they would like to run a different track every weekend although they wouldn’t mind running at the same track twice a season.

“If you go to the same track three or four times a year, it gets kind kind of old,” said Rowe.

Friend said “We have 12 races this year and I’d like to go to 12 different tracks. It’s important for a tour to avoid going to the same track three or four times a year. This is all about how teams adjust to each and every track.”

Jim McGinnis of Detroit said the biggest problem he has observed over the years is “there are always two tours. There isn’t enough equipment for it.”

NEPSA has a five-race series this season but tour director Gary Smith, who races on both circuits, said he would certainly be willing to look into merging with PASS.

Payment starts Mechalides career

PASS driver Louie Mechalides got into stock car racing in a different kind of way.

“I build a lot of race car engines,” began Mechalides, whose business is LCM Racing Engines in his hometown of Tyngsboro, Mass.

“I started drag racing when I got out of school and I ended up with a street stock car as partial payment for an engine,” said the 30-year-old Mechalides. “I put it together and ran it. Every year, I’ve stepped up a class or two.”

He and Gorveatt are two of the drivers who have the furthest to travel.

But both said it is well worth it.

“We don’t have anything down our way at this level right now,” said Gorveatt, who even drives the camper after racing all day.

“I don’t lay down so well when somebody else is driving,” said Gorveatt.

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