Episode #3 May 4, 2014
Sometimes our neighbors to our north and west are not recognized for their contributions to the motorsports scene in Maine. I was thinking about this after a workshop put on for stock car racers last week in Presque Isle by Spud Speedway owner Troy Haney.
Of the 40 plus participants several were from neighboring New Brunswick. One in particular traveled from the Fredericton, New Brunswick area to take part in the workshop led by Hall of Famer Bobby Alexander.
I decided to question Spud Speedway owner Troy Haney and, Russell Bugbee, Superintendent of Truck and Tractor Pulling at the Northern Maine Fair about the importance of Canadian participants and spectators at their venues.
Bugbee said, “They are important enough that we went to great lengths to make sure that pullers were allowed to cross into the US without having to spend money to cross.”
He contacted legislators, Homeland Security and Border Patrol officials to make sure that Canadian pullers could cross securely and expediently without hassles. This helped to make it less complicated to bring their pulling tractors and trucks to pulls in Northern Maine.
Bugbee estimated that Canadian tractors make up approximately 60% of Stock, Super Farm Tractors and ProStock tractor entries. He guesstimated that as many as 50 % of the spectators were from Canada. Using National Tractor Pulling Association (NTPA) figures he interpolated that each dollar spent at the entrance gate meant $7 to the local economy.
There are seven truck and tractor pulls north of Lincoln, Maine in 2014.
Owner of Spud Speedway, Troy Haney, estimated that 15% of his racers are from New Brunswick. That figures has risen over the last few years due to border crossing clarifications and in the location of the Caribou track. About 35 % of the spectators are from Canada thus making them a critical part of maintaining the viability of the Northern Maine stock car racing facility.
Over the 50 year history of the track Canadian racers have made a huge impact on the success of the track. Participation at the track by a new generation of racers from New Brunswick in the summer of 2014 may help to ensure the importance of the Canadian racers to the track in to the future.
New Denmark, New Brunswick’s Glenn Rasmussen; who currently races an Outlaw Sportsman at the track and the 2013 Spud 100 winner, is helping his son Ian with a entry level Northern Lights 4 cylinder race car. The younger Rasmussen(13) will be a freshman at Tobique Valley High School. Ian is an avid hockey player and athlete in the province. If his father does not sell his Sportsman racer he will likely race as well at Spud Speedway.
Ryan Messer from Harvey, New Brunswick, with the help of his father Rob, will be stepping up to the Atlantic Modified Tour after racing Bandeleros for the last four years. The youngster will be making two appearances at Spud Speedway as part of the track’s 50th Anniversary summer racing schedule. The 13 year old will be racing at Petty International Raceway, Speedway Miramichi, Shediac Center for Speed, and Speedway 660 all located in New Brunswick in addition to Spud Speedway.
The Atlantic Series is based on International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) rules with tube chassis and 305 Chevy engines backed by an automatic transmission. The Messer race car features a handmade modified style body.
Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault raced in Maine for the past two weekends on the PASS North Tour. On April 27th he placed sixth and just this past weekend placed third in the 150 Southern Maine Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep 150 at Beech Ridge in Scarborough. Theriault has been the primary chassis set up person for his super late model this season showing the growth that the 20 year old has experienced as a racer over the past several years.
Preparation for his debut in the Spyoptics.com JR Motorsports #5 Nationwide Chevy at Iowa Speedway on May 18 has included seat fittings and at track mentorship with the team. Behind the scene groundwork fills the schedule of the driver in addition to the PASS race responsibilities.
Fort Fairfield’s Kurt Thibeau never made it into the PASS race at Beech Ridge having run into tough luck with starting spots in qualifying heats and wrecking out of the consolation race through no fault of his own. The Hamke chassis will need major repairs before racing again. Thibeau will be making up his mind which chassis to use in preparation for races in the near future.
Racing Skills Update
Yours truly had a chance to polish my kart racing skills again last Friday evening at Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough, Maine. I was with a group of guys from my church who were in town for an Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference. I put in almost 85 race laps at speed.
Let’s Go Racing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Episode #3 May 4, 2014