A highly-touted maiden voyage on the Pro All Stars Series and American-Canadian Tour schedules has been swapped for a far more familiar trip.
PASS and ACT officials confirmed Wednesday that the Monadnock Speedway doubleheader scheduled for July 4 has been relocated to Oxford Plains Speedway. The new doubleheader has also been shifted one week to Sunday, July 11.
Monadnock, a quarter-mile oval in Winchester, N.H., was one of three southern New Hampshire bullrings slated for PASS-ACT doubleheaders leading into the summer months. May’s twin bill at Lee USA Speedway was to be followed by a June trip to Hudson Speedway and July’s Independence Day program. Both Hudson and Monadnock were new venues for the PASS Super Late Models. The ACT Late Model Tour visited each track once in the early 2000s.
But a change was foreshadowed not long after the Lee event, with PASS relisting the July 4 date as “TBD” on its schedule.
PASS already had a visit to Oxford planned for July 11. The date remained listed as “to be confirmed” on PASS’ website earlier this week, as Oxford’s own track schedule suggested a move to a Saturday-evening event in lieu of the track’s weekly program. The July event is one of six stops for PASS at the legendary oval.
ACT was only scheduled for a single visit to Oxford in 2021 after three trips last year. Wednesday’s announcement adds a second stop in the Pine Tree State for the Vermont-based Tour. The Tour returns in August as part of the Oxford 250 weekend.
Reasons for the schedule revision were not disclosed.
Businessman and former racer Norm Wrenn purchased Monadnock Speedway not long after taking the reins at Lee USA Speedway in 2018. Wrenn and Hudson Speedway owner Ben Bosowski also co-own Claremont Motorsports Park, with GSPSS president Mike Parks managing the track under a lease arrangement. All four tracks are part of the New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association, a cooperative cross-promotion effort.
While Monadnock was to be a new destination for PASS, the track has an extensive history with other touring organizations. Formerly a destination for NASCAR’s Busch North Series and Whelen Modified Tour, “Mad Dog” has been a frequent stop for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series and the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Both series have raced at Monadnock already this year, with second dates later this summer.
However, early May’s GSPSS event drew a remarkably short field, perhaps giving PASS organizers pause at the prospect of drawing a thin field of their own. Some of PASS’ longer road trips in recent years have not drawn deep fields. Meanwhile, home races at Oxford regularly attract at least thirty entries. With only one of PASS’ six full-time racers towing from south of Portland, perhaps the holiday weekend road trip seemed less likely to pack the pits.
Curiously, Wednesday’s release indicates that ACT remains open to a later-season race at Monadnock, if a suitable date can be found.
The net effect of the Monadnock relocation on both the PASS and ACT schedules should be minimal. For PASS, a race is eliminated from a fairly aggressive schedule, giving teams an extra week off leading into a very busy July. For ACT, the unknown of Monadnock is swapped for a more familiar Oxford, meaning teams can draw from their notebooks to prepare.
The new doubleheader does, however, reinforce a scheduling conflict against the GSPSS’ annual Gate City Classic at Hudson Speedway. With a post time of 4:00pm, the PASS-ACT double will run head-to-head against the GSPSS event. And for any drivers who may have opted for the GSPSS event at Hudson, the presence of the ACT Tour in Maine could force their hands as to which track to favor.
With only so many race weekends available for big shows, some conflicts are inevitable. At the same time, an opportunity to avoid a direct conflict seemed readily at hand.
After a year of pandemic-enforced schedule shifts, fans and teams alike are accustomed to the necessary changes that arise. But after a year of pandemic-enforced schedule monotony, particularly for PASS, fans and teams alike had great hopes for trips to novel destinations. A track that has not hosted PASS or ACT extensively at some time in the past, after all, is a rarity in 2021.
Perhaps PASS, ACT and Monadnock Speedway will be able to revisit the possibility of a visit to “Mad Dog” in 2022.