Latest gear, hot cars on display at Racers Expo
The event, not geared to fans, offers racers and vendors a chance to get together
By PETER C.T. ELSWORTH JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — About 1,400 racers and track professionals turned out for the third annual Racers Expo at the Royal Plaza Hotel last weekend, according to organizer Bobby Seymour.
The Expo, which is not geared for race fans, was established three years ago by former racing champs Seymour and John Mikitarian as a forum for “vendors, racers, racing bodies and tracks.”
“You’re so busy at the track …, this is a chance to step back and see all the new pieces and equipment,” Seymour said, adding, “We keep it free for racers and cheap for vendors.”
The show fills the void left by the closing in 2009 of the Racearama and the subsequent Speedway Expo in West Springfield, Mass. The only other regional forum for racers and vendors is the October swap meet at Thompson Raceway Park in Thompson, Conn.
Racer Susan Lescynski, 30, drove down from Richmond, N.H., with her father/mechanic Hank (“I do the fixin’!”). She said she has been racing Mini Sprints for 14 years, winning the 500cc series championship in 2000 and 2001. She now competes in the 600cc series.
“We came to see old faces and new stuff,” she said.
Seymour’s safety equipment company, The Race Depot of Marlborough, was displaying such items as overalls, helmets and shoes, while his racing school, The First Turn, was represented by a Midget parked on the carpet in the hotel foyer.
Nick Teto, publisher and editor of yankeeracer.com, said he always does a double take when he sees race cars parked on the carpet inside the hotel.
Indeed, the “Royal Ballroom” featured additional Midgets, a Legends car and Dana Hard’s 1,700 horsepower 1948 Fiat Topolino-based dragster, among about 40 vendors. There were 61 vendors overall.
Hard said he runs the dragster (210 mph in 6.40 seconds) to promote his racing engine
company, Camco Racing Engines of Weymouth, Mass.
“If it goes fast and turns left, we got the parts,” said Ken Barry, president of Spafco, a Preston, Conn.-based supplier of race chassis and parts that also builds modified racers from scratch.
Warwick-based Duraflex had a meeting room full of fiberglass car panels.
“We’ve been coming since the beginning,” said president Carl Gustafson Jr., adding that his team brought up “a lot of pre-orders from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire.”
Rachel Leclerc said The First Turn racing school caters to older men for whom driving a race car is on their bucket list, as well as “young guns” eager to get into racing.
Indeed, a number of very young guns were busy buying equipment.
Sean Fleming, 11, was trying on racing gloves at Mikitarian’s equipment company, Triple M Motorsports of Northborough, Mass.
“We’re just getting into Quarter Midgets,” said his father, Tim, who said he has worked on crews on NASCAR’s Whelen Modified Tour. “Every time we go to the Cape, I can’t get him off the go-karts.”
Seekonk Speedway track operations manager Ed St. Germain said the Legends series of 5/8 scale replicas of 1930s Chevys, Dodges and Fords would be debut racing at Seekonk this year.
“They’re one of the most exciting cars out there,” he said.
St. Germain also pointed out Sir Lap A Lot, the track’s new raccoon mascot that was making the rounds of the expo.
Also present was the North East Motor Sports Museum, which is expected to be built next to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in late 2014 or early 2015.
“We’ve been talking about it for years,” said President Dick Berggren. “We were worried about the history of auto racing in New England leaving us” as older racers pass away and their estates are sold off. www.nemsmuseum.com www.spafco.com www.triplem-motorsports.com www.theracedepot.comwww.theracersexpo.com www.yankeeracer.com firstname.lastname@example.org