EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 7, 2013

El Camino owners thrill region's race fans

Auto Scene
Jeffrey Zygmont

---- — Owners of 33 classic El Caminos from throughout New England gathered at the Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H., for the track’s 5th annual El Camino night on June 14. Parade laps and a burn-out contest on the NASCAR speedway were part of a weekend of activities sponsored by local members of the National El Camino Owners Association (NECOA).

Other activities included a group coastal drive from Cape Ann to Newburyport, a tour of the renowned Paul Russell auto restoration facility in Essex, and attendance at the popular Skip’s Hamburgers Saturday cruise night in Merrimac.

But the Friday evening El Camino Night at Lee USA Speedway remained the high point of the weekend. Track owner Red McDonald hosted the group, inviting NECOA members to perform for race fans before the start of the night’s feature races, allowing the NASCAR drivers additional time to prepare for competitive races after their qualifying heats.

For the second consecutive year, cheering race fans chose Aj DiRocco of Pelham, N.H., as winner of the El Camino tire-smoking contest. As an encore, DiRocco performed a departing burn-out that delighted spectators by blowing out his vehicle’s rear tires and creating enough smoke to keep mosquitoes away from the track for the remainder of the evening, according to some reports.

As members of NECOA, local participants in the event are among the 23,000 El Camino owners and enthusiasts from across America who gather online at the website www.elcaminocentral.com. The El Camino is a sporty and unique, half-car/half-truck vehicle produced by General Motors from 1959 through 1987.

Gasoline prices dip lower again

Regional pump prices dropped moderately last week for the second consecutive week, according to state-by-state price averaging by the auto club AAA.

The U.S. national average also fell last week, marking the third straight week in which the coast-to-coast average gas price decreased, the auto club reported.

In Massachusetts, the average price for self-service regular gasoline was $3.510 on Wednesday, down 2.5 cents from the prior Wednesday’s $3.535, according to AAA. But on the same day last year, the Bay State average of $3.412 was 9.8 cents lower than Wednesday’s level.

AAA reported a New Hampshire state-wide average of $3.457 on Wednesday, a drop of 2.3 cents from the $3.480 recorded seven days earlier. On the same day of 2012, the Granite State average of $3.364 was 9.3 cents below Wednesday’s figure.

Nationally, AAA’s coast-to-coast average for self-service regular gas moved to $3.477 on Wednesday, 6.4 cents lower than the $3.541 recorded seven days earlier. Wednesday’s U.S. average was 14.8 cents higher than national average one year earlier, which the auto club put at $3.329.