AUGUSTA — NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup has ended.

Local tracks have shut their gates and closed for the winter.

Those still looking to get their racing fix, though, will have an opportunity to do so this weekend when the 28th Annual Northeast Motorsports Expo and Trade Show returns to the Augusta Civic Center. The three-day event will begin when the doors open to the general public Friday at 4:30 p.m. and will feature over 55 displays amongst other various events planned throughout the weekend.

“The auditorium is only as big as it is so we can only go with what we have but each year we attract new vendors, new exhibits, new fans and so we’re really excited,” Expo and Trade Show owner Steve Perry said by phone Thursday. “There seems to be a lot of buzz about it this year. People are excited. The weather obviously is cooperating so it’s making people think of race season a lot earlier than they normally would.”

Among the vendors who will be in attendance will be Team EJP Racing — a sponsor of Manchester’s Reid Lanpher — and Butler MacMaster, who sponsors Farmingdale’s Johnny Clark and Wayne Helliwell Jr. Those interested in the sport’s history will have options as well, with both the Maine Vintage Race Car Association and Owls Head Transportation Museum sponsoring booths.

All of the state’s racetracks will also be represented, according to Perry, as well as New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“For years this was where we came and got our schedule sorted out before the years of the Internet,” Perry said. “Every track in the state is represented with four to 10 race cars.”

In addition to the various displays, there are also a number of events — including a memorabilia auction — and guest speakers planned for the weekend. Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault, who competed in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series last season, will be in attendance on Saturday and Sunday.

“He’s got a whole entire state behind him that supports him and he loves to give back,” Perry said. “The last time I had him on the TV show (Mainely Motorsports TV) that’s what he said, that if at all possible for him he would be here in Augusta. He loves the fans, he loves the atmosphere of the entire event and he loves giving back.”

Shawn Waddell and Andrew Truchinskas will conduct a spotter seminar on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., while there will be a bump stop seminar Sunday at 10:30 a.m. hosted by Gary Crooks and Jason Enders.

Perry also mentioned that the pit stop competitions are generally a favorite amongst fans and competitors.

“The pit crew challenge brings a lot of excitement,” Perry said. “It allows the people that don’t get to do that every week a chance to try their hand at it.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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