18 Days to the Climb to the Clouds for Bangor Team and More Motorsports News

A look at a ruined turbocharger on the Last Ditch Motorsports Rally car. This power maker will need replacement before the team sees action later this month at the "Climb to the Clouds" Hill-climb at Mt. Washington.

A look at a ruined turbocharger on the Last Ditch Motorsports Rally car. This power maker will need replacement before the team sees action later this month at the “Climb to the Clouds” Hill-climb at Mt. Washington.

You may not expect a photo of an exhaust system to be featured in a blog. However, I wanted it inserted to show the casual observer the importance of not overlooking any part of a rally car as it is prepared for events such as the Climb to the Clouds event later this month. The Bangor -based team hopes to eliminate any problems with the exhaust as they get ready to race up the 7 plus mile road to the top of Mt. Washington.

You may not expect a photo of an exhaust system to be featured in a blog. However, I wanted it inserted to show the casual observer the importance of not overlooking any part of a rally car as it is prepared for events such as the Climb to the Clouds event later this month. The Bangor -based team hopes to eliminate any problems with the exhaust as they get ready to race up the 7 plus mile road to the top of Mt. Washington.

Episode 8
June 8, 2014
With eighteen days to go before the beginning of the 2014 edition od the Climb to the Clouds Rally America race at Mt. Washington, Bangor’s John Cassidy and team are getting light. That’s right, light. The race up Mt. Washington requires a light race car according to Cassidy so they are putting their Subaru WRX on a diet losing any non essential items since lightness is speed. In addition, “T4″ as the car is affectionally known, is having it’s suspension rebuilt including updates on last years set up.
The exhaust system, which is often overlooked as a performance item to the casual observer, is being rewelded and mounted securely to the car. With a turbocharged race car the exhaust system is where power is maximized thus the Last Ditch Racing team wants it done right.
The 2007,’08, ’09, and ’11 Rally America Eastern Region Open Class Champion’s efforts at Mt. Washington along with the other 74 competitors will be seen on NBC Sports on August 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm.
Cassidy sums up his plans this way, “We realize that we will not set the hill record, but we’ll be looking to improve on our previous time. We’ll be doing some tuning with the ECU to try and eek a little more power out of the car while retaining reliability. As a privateer team without any significant financial partners, fielding a competitive car is a continuous challenge. We can only field the quick car we do because of the talented team members and the skills they bring to the team.”
Joining Cassidy in the Climb to the Clouds will be 1999 Hillclimb record-holder Tim O’Neil who will be fielding for the first time in the 104 year history of the race an electric race car. The all electric racer, EVSR #02, is built by Entropy Racing, Sacramento, Pennslyvania. It is a mid-engine oops mid-motor racer built similar to the SCCA Club Racer design. The battery powered racer has proven fast in on-track testing over the last year and adds another element of interest to the race.

Spud Speedway’s Pit Stop Challenge
Spud Speedway kicks off its 50th Anniversary Celebration this week on Thursday evening in downtown Caribou as part of the Caribou Chamber of Commerce’s “Thursday’s On Sweden Street” series. A stock car parade through town will be followed by a car show at the Post Office, kid’s pedal car races, Radio Controlled (RC) Monster Truck demonstration, racing kart race, and the highlight of the evening the Pit Stop Challenge.
Teams of five will compete in three divisions, municipal teams, local business teams, and public open teams for $250 for their team or favorite charity. Teams will consist of two tire changers, two tire carriers, and a jack person. The fastest team to change 4 tires will win their division. Only 10 teams per division will be allowed to compete due to time restraints.
In other Spud Speedway news, rookie Kaydie Craig from Ashland became the first to practice at the Caribou track in this historic 50th year event. She had a private practice session late last month to test her new Fast Four racer before opening day on June 21st.
Spud held open practice on Saturday June 7th allowing racers to set up their cars and test new ideas and in some cases new cars. The event drew the attention of longtime Spud Speedway fan Ronnie Cummins now living in Georgia. Cummins recalled some of his favorite moments at the Caribou track from the mid 70′s when the youngster not even 10 years old at the time, watched his racing heroes battle every week.
Cummins remembered with great clarity the names and numbers of several who raced in that decade including Maine Motorsports Hall of Famers Chink Maynard and Bobby Alexander. Others included Dick Wheeler, “the Racing Farmer” Tom Hale, Mark Jones, New Brunswick’s Gerald Craig and Hal O’Neal, Johnny Albair and and Adam Albert. Cummins was home visiting his Mom who has stage 4 cancer and asked for prayer for her as she convalesces in an Easton Care Facility.

National Motorsports News
For the first time since 2004 NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt,Junior has a multiple win season. Earnhardt’s second win of 2014 was at the Pocono 400 in Pocono, Pennsylvania. In 2004 Earnhardt won 6 races. He now is third in points behind leader Jeff Gordon and second place Matt Kenseth.
The closest F! Grand Prix to Maine is the Canadian Grand Prix held to our west in Montreal. This years race was won by first-time winner Red Bulls’ Daniel Ricciardo 24 from Australia. Points leader Nico Rosberg driving for Mercedes was second to extend his points lead. Four-time World Champion and Red Bull team-mate of Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel was on the podium for the first time this year placing third.
I have heard from locals who attended the Canadian Grand Prix in the past that it is quite an experience to attend. Maybe one of you who experienced the race in Montreal will email me and let me know your thoughts.
In Indy Car, Ed Carpenter from Indianapolis, took the race in Texas. This is Carpenter’s third win in his career. What makes this win unique is that he is the only owner/driver in the series.
And since I mentioned rally earlier with the Cassidy team, I thought folks would like to know the former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Scott Speed took his second win in the Global RallyCross X Games at Austin, Texas at the Course of the Americas (COTA) Raceway. The Andretti RallyCross driver nudged out Vermont Motorsports driver Bucky Lasek who finished second.
I have been to the Vermont Sports Car raceshop in Colchester, Vermont and witnessed the immaculate preparation that team puts into prepping its RallyCross racers and Rally cars. The neat part was that a large number of the staff were New England natives. I look forward to seeing them and others later this month in New Hampshire.

Top Gear USA at Spud Speedway and Loring to Air
In a final note the episode of Top Gear USA filmed at Spud Speedway and Loring Commerce Center in March of this year will be airing July 1st at 9 pm on the History Channel. As a Production Assistant (PA) I can tell you that the show will feature some unique scenes from Northern Maine. You who are familiar with the area may even recognize some of the film locations.

Let’s Go Racing!

Tom Hale
Soli Deo Gloria

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

For the past 14 years, Tom has written freelance for the Bangor Daily sports covering motorsports in Maine.