Top Gear USA Features Spud Speedway; Climb to the Clouds This Week; Spud Speedway Opens

Episode 9

June 22, 2014

Top Gear USA, featuring Spud Speedway and Loring Commerce Center will air Tuesday June 24, 2014 at 9 pm on the History Channel. This past March during some of the coldest days this spring Danny Raymond of Caribou and I had the opportunity to be Production Assistants during the filming of the Top Gear USA show that will be aired Tuesday. Production Assistants simply means we were local “go fors”.
Originally I had mentioned that the episode would air July 1, 2014 yet for some reason that was changed. The show hosts are Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood, and Tanner Foust, I believe you will enjoy some of their antics as they and their dedicated camera operators, technical crew, and support personnel braved the elements to get the shots they wanted. I was impressed by their professionalism.
Speaking of Tanner Foust, he placed fifth in the Global Rallycross held Sunday in Washington, D.C. Mechanical issues on Saturday kept he and Andretti Autosports team-mate Scott Speed from participating in the qualifier events.
The Rallycross was won by Patrik Sandell in a Ford Fiesta ST. This was Sandell’s first win in the series.

Cullin Gillis finishes the assembly of the Last Ditch Racing Subaru engine. The Bangor -based team lead by owner/driver John Cassidy put their finishing touches on the team's 2002 Subaru Imprezza WRX this week in preparation for their race up Mt. Washington in the 2014 Edition of the "Climb to the Clouds" June 26-29.

Cullin Gillis finishes the assembly of the Last Ditch Racing Subaru engine. The Bangor -based team lead by owner/driver John Cassidy put their finishing touches on the team’s 2002 Subaru Imprezza WRX this week in preparation for their race up Mt. Washington in the 2014 Edition of the “Climb to the Clouds” June 26-29.

Bangor’s Cassidy Rally Team Does Final Preparation for 2014 “Climb to the Clouds” race up Mt. Washington

With only four days remaining before Last Ditch Racing rally team from Bangor pits their skills in preparation of a top quality and safe race car against the elements of an unforgiving mountain. Driver Joh Cassidy along with co-driver Dave Getchell of Camden have one goal in mind, to improve upon their best time set during their last foray up the mountain in 2011.
Engine builder, Cullin Gillis, has their powerplant rebuilt and freshened to give the team the reliability necessary in the hillclimb. One run only engines are not the optimum set up for the rally/hillclimb since as many as four runs will be made.
For information go to the “Climb to the Clouds 2014″ website. I hope to see you there. Look for the guy with a vest and Racer.com hat.

Spud Speedway Season Opens

Stock car fans in the Northern Maine and Western New Brunswick area came out in good number for the first race of the 50th Anniversary “From Door to Door Since’64″ season. Good car counts and several close races gave fans something to look forward to for the season.
The season will feature a four-day “Motorsports Fair” July 10-13, 2014 with a Bomber Car race Thursday, Monster Truck show Friday with six trucks, Outlaw 100 North vs South race Saturday, and a Car Show honoring the 50 years of the Mustang along with a Battle of the Bands Sunday. Smokey’s Greatest Shows will be at the track every evening as well as Laser Tag. Check the tracks website for details.

One of My Favorite Sprint Cup Drivers Wins Sonoma

I had the pleasure to meet Carl Edwards before he was the big name Sprint Cup driver he is today. Carl was driving for Roush in the so-called Craftsman Truck Series at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana a suburb of Indianapolis.
My good friend, Pastor Mick Saunders from Rushville, Indiana introduced me to Carl at the track. While staying at Pastor Mick’s home in Rushville, I noticed a blue Fiesta in the driveway which he called “Carl’s car”. It turns out that when young Carl needed a place to spend the night while in the area, Mick provided him accommodations at his home and transportation, a blue Ford Fiesta.
For the first time in his Sprint Cup career, Carl won on a road course taking the Toyota/Save Mart 350 over five time Sonoma winner Jeff Gordon. This practically ensures the Columbia, Missouri native a spot in the 2014 Chase to the Sprint Cup.

Chuck and His Ford Fiesta ST

The Ford Racing ST Academy "Skid Car" at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Presque Isle's Chuck Graettinger was part of the ST owners group to learn car control utilizing the Ford Focus.

The Ford Racing ST Academy “Skid Car” at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Presque Isle’s Chuck Graettinger was part of the ST owners group to learn car control utilizing the Ford Focus.

Presque Isle's Chuck Graettinger with his 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. He recently returned from Ford Racing's ST Owner's Group Octane Academy at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah

Presque Isle’s Chuck Graettinger with his 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. He recently returned from Ford Racing’s ST Owner’s Group OOctane Academy at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah

My former neighbor, Chuck Graettinger, was finishing mowing his property next door when I was driving home from church. I decided to stop and tell him I had rescued his mailbox in mid-winter after the snowplow had clobbered it. I noticed his new 2014 Ford Fiesta ST with the turbo 197 horsepower and six speed transmission, after all what gearhead wouldn’t. He thought he had the only 2014 Fiesta ST in Northern Maine.
Chuck shared with me that he had just returned from a two-day Ford Racing ST Academy for Fiesta ST owners at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah near Salt Lake City. Upon arrival Graettinger’s group got a tour of Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing’s immaculate new shop in Park City, Utah.
The next day began early as the group got classroom instruction followed by time in the Ford Focus “skid-car” which allowed the students to learn car control in skid situations.
The group accessed a 2.2 mile portion of the Utah track where they learned the proper technique for driving a Fiesta ST on a road course.
They were then taught how to power brake, do forward and reverse 180′s and 90′s into a parking spot at speed. The students then went for laps around the full track with their instructor driving to show how the professionals practice car control. An exhausted Graettinger had no trouble sleeping that night after a fun-filled motorsports/car control day. Hopefully Chuck will race his car in the 2014 Cumberland Motor Club’s Autocross at Loring August 9th & 10, 2014 on the former Air Force base’s huge runway and taxiways.

HTF Motorsports results

The HTF Motorsports/Hale Tree Farms racing kart placed second in the season opener at Spud Speedway’s kart track Saturday evening. I seemed to be able to hold off the second place kart in heat race one where I started on the pole. In the feature I drew the outside pole position and was unable to mount any serious charge to the first place kart driven by Caribou’s Mario Picard. Oh well.

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.