Bob Guptill, promoter and owner of the North East Mini Stock Tour, is celebrating the series’ tenth anniversary in 2018. A decade strong, the North East Mini Stock Tour continues to grow each and every year. With dozens of competitors from Maine all the way down to New York, the mission of the Tour is, “To provide cheap, fun racing and develop driving skills for moving up”. In a day and age where racing has become so costly, it’s a breath of fresh air seeing drivers be able to get their foot in the door without having to dive deep into their pockets. The NEMST is also a good experience for young drivers that haven’t competed on a touring level.
There are set age limits for the series, which is a common standard in racing. If a new driver has prior approved racing experience, they are eligible to compete at 14 years old. If they have no prior experience, the age limit is 16 years old. The familiarity of the cars on the track to the fans is something that makes the touring series so unique, says Bob Guptill. “4-Cylinder’s are one of the last production-style divisions remaining. By using cars that fans see on the road, a special bond is built between fans and drivers”, he says. Guptill was a driver himself before he founded the North East Mini Stock Tour.
The inspiration for the NEMST was the 4-Cylinder Nationals event that was held at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2007 and 2008. “I competed in those events and I was a part of a large group of people in the pit area that were looking to be able to compete at different tracks,” he says. The NEMST has a very diverse schedule, with events taking place in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and even Connecticut. The 2018 North East Mini Stock Tour season will begin at PASS 300 weekend on April 28th at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. The season continues on through early October, concluding with the World Series of Racing in Thompson, Connecticut on October 12th and 13th. There were some additions made to the schedule this season, with the NEMST making stops at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and Oxford Plains Speedway, two of the premium short tracks in Southern Maine.
Bob is excited to venture out with the North East Mini Stock Tour in hosting these three events at OPS/BRMS. “The Maine races come together with the help of Tom Mayberry. Tom has been a long-time supporter of the NEMST, hosting events since the 2010 season,” he says. Being the tenth anniversary season, there are so many big weekends coming up for the series. The series will be competing on PASS 300 weekend, Oxford 250 weekend, the weekend of the Milk Bowl and more. “These are the largest events in the region and no other series visits them all,” he says, eluding to the fact that the NEMST stands out among other traditional touring series’.
Arguably, the series’ most talked about event is the New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This year’s event is taking place the weekend of June 23rd. The Valenti Modified Series and the Granite State Pro Stocks will also be competing at the track that weekend. It all started in 2012, where the series was invited to race the road course. In 2014, they were bumped up to racing on the one-mile oval. The series’ involvement with the track has only grown since then. “In 2017, my family and myself decided to rent the facility for a large-scale short track event. From that, that’s where the New England Short Track Showdown was born,” Bob explains. Although the series has grown substantially over the years, Bob still sees room for growth in future.
As the series owner and promoter, Bob Guptill only has high hopes for the touring series. “I hope to expand on our growth over the past few seasons and push forward to our next decade in competition. I hope that all promoters and track owners can work together and build racing as a whole. If we work together, we can bring new and old fans together and create new bonds across all platforms of Motorsports,” he says. Although racing is one competitor against another, fans, owners and drivers alike must come together and show their support to keep series like the NEMST going strong. With ten years of memories in tow, a few cross Bob’s mind as being his favorites.
Guptill finds the best memories to be seeing drivers succeed doing what they love. His favorite memories include seeing Roger Ducharme getting his first win at Unity in 2010 and Emerson Cayer capturing his third championship this past season. He notes the 2017 season as being one of his favorites, saying, “This was by far the most emotional year of racing we have had. There were a number of cars that could win at every single race.” With the competition being so strong and even keeled, it’s hard not to want to attend a NEMST event. Behind every successful, competitive series comes a team of people working hard to make it all come together. The North East Mini Stock tour is no different.
When forming the series, Bob Guptill looked to another event promoter for wisdom. This promoter was Dave Brannon, who hosts the Strictly Shootout at Wiscasset Speedway every season. “Dave Brannon was my backbone. He helped me and taught me how to be fair, stern, and to push myself and the teams’ brains to the next level,” Bob says. He also lends thanks to the series announcer (and fellow writer!) Mike Twist. “Mike has done countless hours of PR, travel and build-up to make the tour what it is,” he says. He also thanks race director Doug Robbie and tour secretary Moriah Barcomb for their countless hours of hard work. The tour also runs on volunteers. Bob lists Beth Mctaggert, Jordan Harnish, Mike Harnish, Mike Griggs, Bryon Callen, Bill Callen and Bryan Ande, to name a few.
With a decade of memories and hard work under his belt, Bob Guptill is ready to take things to the next level in the series’ second decade of competition. With a wonderful team of supporters and competitors behind him, the NEMST is only bound for more excellence for years to come.
Learn more about the North East Mini Stock Tour here: