AUGUSTA — More than 70 race vehicles will be crammed into the Augusta Civic Center this weekend, including one that isn’t even completed yet.

One of the highlights of the 31st annual Northeast Motorsports Expo, which runs Friday evening through Sunday, will be the introduction of a new “Dream Ride” project. Crew members from several area auto racing teams will build a brand new Super Late Model from the ground up during the show.

That car will then compete in nine races during the upcoming season as a fundraising effort for the Hometown Foundation and the Special Olympics.

“I hooked up with Special Olympics and the Hometown Foundation last year at Wiscasset Speedway,” said Steve Perry of Windham, now in his 10th year as owner and promoter of the Motorsports Expo. “We’re taking it to the next level this year. We’re taking the race cars and will race nine races throughout Maine and New Hampshire, and we’re going to use the opportunity to raise money for Hometown Foundation.”

There are three separate sponsorship opportunities for each of the nine races in the “Dream Ride” program, with Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsor levels to keep in line with the Olympic theme. The cars themselves will be run by Jacob Dore of Sanford as a self-funded team with any sponsorship money going to Hometown Foundation to be distributed to Special Olympics.

“If you were to become a Gold sponsor and write the check for $2,000 for that race, every cent of that goes to Hometown Foundation,” Perry said. “This isn’t something where we’re taking some of it for the race team and some of it for Special Olympics. All of it is going to them.”

The Super Late Model being built at the show this weekend, with help from Dore’s own team, Reid Lanpher Racing, Oxford Plains Speedway champion Gabe Brown and others, will compete in races at Wiscasset Speedway, Star Speedway and Lee USA Speedway this summer. A tour-type Modified will also race in several events as part of the nine-race slate, including the Tri-Track Modified Series race at Oxford Plains the night before the Oxford 250 in August.

Of course, that won’t be the lone attraction at the Northeast Motorsports Expo. For the 10th consecutive year, the Gardiner-based company Everett J. Prescott will serve as the title sponsor.

Tracks and tours from across the region will be well-represented, Perry said. Upcoming 2019 schedules will be available for all, and a number of Maine-based race teams use the weekend to debut new paint schemes and interact with fans.

In an age where the world has gone increasingly digital, the Expo continues to draw motorsports enthusiasts.

“This is probably the biggest show I’ve had yet, in terms of space-wise and cramming everything into it,” Perry said. “In today’s day and age, where everything is so social media driven, it is a little surprising. But I also think that one of things that sets this show apart from any other show out there is its being the traditional first show of the year kick-off.

“Everybody has some fun with it.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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