AUGUSTA — Each year Stephen Perry faces a variety of challenges when preparing to put on the Northeast Motorsports Expo at the Augusta Civic Center.

His biggest?

“Trying to keep things different,” said Perry, the show’s organizer and Mainely Motorsports founder. “You don’t want to have the same thing every year. You want to give people something different. You want to change things up.”

The 26th annual Northeast Motorsports Expo opens Friday at the Augusta Civic Center. The three-day show, which Perry hopes will draw more than 4,000 people, will feature hundreds of vendors and exhibits from a variety of motor sports.This is the fifth time Perry has been in charge of the Motorsports Expo.

The weekend marks the fifth motorsports expo for Perry, and it could very well be his biggest. It will certainly have plenty to offer.

“We’re seeing a lot of different groups coming out now,” Perry said. “It’s not just auto racing. We have mud truck organizations and tractor pull guys. The show has always been known as a motorsports one, and there have been times when it got away from that.

“Circle track racing is obviously still a really big attraction, but we wanted a lot of different groups to come out. We’ll have engine builders and companies involved with that stuff out as well.”

The show opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday. A variety of exhibits and seminars dot the schedule throughout the weekend. One of the most popular is the Pit Crew Challenge, which returns for its second year. Teams of four compete against the clock and each other for cash prizes. The winning team will receive $500 plus some Sunoco racing fuel.

“We’ll have 50 to 60 teams compete throughout the weekend,” Perry said. “It’s one of the biggest events of the show.”

The fastest 16 teams to change a set of tires will compete for the purse.

“The whole package, with the fuel, is over $1,000,” Perry said.

Spotter and sponsorship seminars are also being offered this weekend.

“We’ve changed things around a bit,” Perry said. “We changed the floor plan and added a few vendors. We can only get so big but we try to get creative.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640[email protected]Twitter: @billstewartkj