EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 2, 2013

El Camino owners and admirers celebrate at race track

Auto Scene
Jeffrey Zygmont

---- — The 5th annual El Camino Night at Lee USA Speedway is scheduled for Friday, June 14, at the racetrack, located on Route 125 in Lee, N.H.

New England members of the National El Camino Owners Association (NECOA) are sponsoring the event, which begins with a lawn display of participating El Caminos as they gather when the speedway gates open at 4 p.m. Before the evening’s scheduled races begin around 7 p.m., track manager Bob Watson will introduce owners and identify their El Camino models as they drive parade laps around the oval NASCAR track. Owners will compete in a burn-out contest, with race fans choosing a trophy-winning driver who makes the most exciting display of smoking tires and marking the pavement.

Participants are private El Camino owners from throughout New England. The El Camino is a sporty, half car-half truck built by General Motors and sold by its Chevrolet unit between 1959 and 1987.

Last year, 27 cars gathered for the El Camino Night at Lee. This year the sponsors expect more cars to take part, according to John Harris, a North Andover resident who is an organizer of the event. As of late May, El Camino owners from New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine had registered, said Harris, who is a past national director of NECOA.

After Friday evening’s race, the group will gather for a Saturday morning breakfast, followed by a coastal cruise from Newburyport through Rockport and Gloucester. The group plans a private tour of a local auto facility, and will finish Saturday at Skip’s Hamburgers in Merrimac, the host of popular cruise nights every second Saturday.

NECOA is an Internet-based auto club with more than 23,000 registered members across the United States, with chapters in Holland and Australia. This year the club celebrates the 10th anniversary of the merger of NECOA with El Camino Central, a celebrated enthusiasts website. New England members plan a late summer event at Sturbridge Village, in conjunction with the New England Chevelle and El Camino Association, headquartered in Shrewsbury.

Attendance at El Camino Night at Lee USA Speedway is open to any owner of a Chevrolet El Camino or one of its GM sister models, the GMC Sprint and Caballero. More information can be found on the club’s website, at www.elcaminocentral.com.

Pump prices hold steady

Gasoline prices saw little movement last week, with the average price for self-service regular gas holding steady after increasing for the prior three weeks across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, according to the auto club AAA.

But in an encouraging sign, the U.S. coast-to-coast average performed a U-turn, registering a solid decline after four consecutive weeks in which the national average rose, AAA reported.

As of Wednesday, the overall U.S. average for self-service regular gas stood at $3.621per gallon. That was 3.9 cents lower than the prior Wednesday’s figure of $3.660, the auto club found.

In Massachusetts, Wednesday’s average for self-service regular reached $3.546 per gallon, just 0.1-cent higher than the $3.545 recorded by AAA seven days earlier. Wednesday’s average was 12.3 cents lower than the Bay State average on the same day last year, which the group put at $3.669.

The New Hampshire state-wide average moved to $3.484 on Wednesday, an 0.1-cent decline from the prior Wednesday’s $3.485, AAA reported. On the same day of 2012, the Granite State average of $3.645 was 16.1 cents higher than Wednesday’s level.

Wednesday’s national average of $3.621 was 1.5 cents below the $3.636 recorded by AAA one year earlier.