July 27, 2014
WAR finishes second at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS)
Ellsworth’s Wyatt Alexander placed second at NHMS this weekend making this the best finishing position for the 14 year-old from Ellsworth. Alexander is campaigning the #96 ME Legends car in every race in the 2014 NELCAR series.
The NELCAR legends will be making their debut at Caribou’s Spud Speedway on August 16 at 7pm. The track is currently on a two week break in racing action while the Northern Maine Fair is going on and will resume regular racing August 9th. The Alexander family is no stranger to Spud Speedway with Bobby Alexander making it his home track during a large part of his twenty year career in stock car racing. The Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) team has also put in a practice session at the track to dial in their #96 ME Legends racer.
The NELCAR Legends promise some quick lap times and close racing when they hit the County for the only time this season. Maybe this will be where WAR gets their first feature win of 2014.
Musings about Indy
I had the privilege of covering the Brickyard 400 from 2001 to 2009 except a couple of years when I was unable to attend. After attending the race in 1999 with my brother Bob and brother-in-law Ray Johnson I vowed to never go back unless I could cover the race for some sort of media outlet. Sports editor Joe McLaughlin at the Bangor Daily News gave me that chance and I ran with it. My job was to do human interest stories about people who had jobs with race teams.
Over the years I uncovered some interesting folks who were on pit crews or worked as mechanics on the Sprint Cup cars. I also discovered several who made their living on the minor league series in NASCAR the Nationwide or Camping World Truck series. They raced the two nights prior to the Sprint Cup drivers at Lucas Oil Raceway(LOR) just a hop skip and a jump from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Clermont, Indiana.
It was the LOR that I first met Carl Edwards when he raced and won in the Roush #6 Truck. I met his Mom and Dad and heard the incredible story of his determination to garner a ride in NASCAR’s top division.
I was in the EJ Prescott Camping World Series (Craftsman Truck Series at the time) pits when they, with the assistance of Joe Gibbs Racing, gave an unknown kid from Virginia in a frumpy black driver’s suit a chance to race and strut his stuff. That unknown kid was Denny Hamlin.
I met Howland’s Dana Worthing who was a front tire changer on the Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield the year he made the Chase for Ray Evernham Racing. Worthing was there in subsequent years working for BAM Racing and Bill Davis Racing.
It would take hours to get out of the Speedway due to the large 200,000 plus crowds that were attending in the early to mid 2000’s. I would hang around after every Brickyard 400 to see what stories I might get post race.
My best post race moment was the year Kevin Harvick won in the #29 car. While doing donuts on the track the right rear tire exploded and shards of rubber ripped huge portions off the fender. I remember standing in a pool of water in the garage area after Harvick’s crew pushed the Chevy back to the garage area after Victory Lane celebrations had concluded. I wanted to take pictures when one of the crew members told me to get out of there. I never argued with him but wished I had snapped the picture anyway.
Which brings me to Carl Edwards. Edwards let it be known that he will not be back with Roush-Fenway Racing in 2015. “This was the right time for Roush-Fenway to talk about the plans for next year” Edwards said. “For me, the right time to talk about exactly what I am doing next year-its the same thing, there is a lot of moving parts and we’ll announce everything as soon as possible. Today is about racing.”
My guess is that “Cousin Carl” is headed for Joe Gibbs Racing next year. I have absolutely no inside information about Carl and Joe Gibbs Racing. My thoughts are that former team- mate Matt Kenseth has found a modicum of success at JGR which Edwards wants to dovetail into with such a move. We shall see soon.
Darrel Wallace Junior Wins
Darrel Wallace Jr. won what is arguably the most publicized race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck series, Tony Stewart’s Eldora Raceway in Rossburg, Ohio. Eldora is the only dirt track that any of NASCAR’s top three racing series visits. Wallace’s second Camping World Truck win on Wednesday definitely puts the youngster on the radar screen for those looking for racing talent. This was Wallace’s first race on dirt according to National Speed Sport News making the win even more exciting. The neat part of this story is the multiple times that Wallace has made appearances at the Andy Santerre Aroostook Mental Health (AMHC) Fundraiser Snowmobile ride held in the County every winter for the past ten or so years. Wallace has ridden snowmobiles in the County many times. It is good to see him succeed in NASCAR especially when he takes to time to support the efforts of Joe and Lorraine Chamberlain to organize the event.
Let’s Go Racing!
Soli Deo Gloria