Winning at WAR, Autocross, Travis Pastrana, and More

Episode 16

August 10, 2014

I will be hard pressed to include everything I want to tell you about today so I am going to use several photos to tell some stories for me. I wish I could share with you the dozens of story ideas running through my head right now but bear with me as I share a few.

14- year old Wyatt Alexander from Ellsworth, center wins his first NELCAR Legends feature at Star Speedway in New Hampshire. On left third place finisher Ivan Kaffel of Windham. On right Bob Weymouth of Topsham placed second.

14- year old Wyatt Alexander from Ellsworth, center wins his first NELCAR Legends feature at Star Speedway in New Hampshire. On left third place finisher Ivan Kaffel of Windham. On right Bob Weymouth of Topsham placed second.

Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) Wins First Feature

As predicted the 14-year-old sensation from Ellsworth with County connections won his first NELCAR Legends feature race at Star Speedway in New Hampshire Saturday evening. Well maybe I did not predict he would win this particular race but I did say he was going to win in 2014.
I was hoping he would win number one next Saturday night at Spud Speedway in Caribou, however, the County track presents him with opportunity to win #2.
Alexander jumped to an early lead on lap 11 from his sixth starting position. After a restart on lap 18 he fought it out with Matt Bourgoine until Bourgoine spun with two laps to go. The seasoned veteran Bob Weymouth of Topsham made sure that Alexander earned his first victory on the final green-white-checkered finish.
Alexander said, “I won’t forget my first win, but you may see me even more excited if we can pull it off at Spud”. He hopes to see all his Northern Maine friends next Saturday night.

Autocross at Loring Draws Great Number of Entries

Mark Chessick of Nashua, New Hampshire set fastest time of the automobile class as of my departure on Sunday afternoon. Chessick liked the challenging courses at Loring and will be back in 2015 to go fast again.

Mark Chessick of Nashua, New Hampshire set fastest time of the automobile class as of my departure on Sunday afternoon. Chessick liked the challenging courses at Loring and will be back in 2015 to go fast again.

According to officials of the Cumberland Motor Club their event at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine drew 104 entries on Sunday and nearly that many on Saturday making it the largest motorsports event so far in the County this year.
Good weather at the fifth annual event allowed competitors to get multiple runs at the high-speed yet technical temporary race courses utilizing both runways and taxiways. Both days featured unique cone defined routes which were designed by Stephen “Scruffy” Lefevre of Massachusetts. “Scruffy” compared the Northern Maine venue to that of an artist who is allowed to have a huge canvas on which to display their talent. Loring presented him with his large canvas with which he designed the two different courses used on Saturday and Sunday.

Luke Saindon formerly of Deer Isle now living and working in Boston gets my "most unusual" award for his Chevy V8 powered Porsche. The UMaine Orono Mechanical Engineering graduate began the conversion in 2010. Yearly refinements have made the car easier to drive as well as faster. Saindon was one of the men responsible for the reviving of the Formula SAE Race Car Team when he was at UMaine.

Luke Saindon formerly of Deer Isle now living in Boston gets my “most unique” award for his Chevy V8 powered Porsche. The UMaine Orono Mechanical Engineering grad began the conversion in 2010. Yearly refinements have made the car easier to drive as well as faster. Saindon was one of the men responsible for the reviving of the Formula SAE Race Car Team when he was at UMaine.

Jake Daniele of Pownal once again set fastest time at Loring with his Integra 125 cc Shifter Kart. When asked how he was going to improve his already fast time he said, "I messed up near the end. Smoothness is the key. I plan to do that portion better." Daniele has set fastest time the last three years of the Loring event.

Jake Daniele of Pownal once again set fastest time at Loring with his Integra 125 cc Shifter Kart. When asked how he was going to improve his already fast time he said, “I messed up near the end. Smoothness is the key. I plan to do that portion better.” Daniele has set fastest time the last three years of the Loring event.

Patrick Dooley of Gray campaigns a highly modified Scion with turbo power. The interior has only the bare necessities to make the car streetable. His license plate best describes the power available, “TROSTER”. How do you like your tires? Well done?

Patrick Dooley of Gray showing off the engine compartment of his highly modified Scion. His times in the Cumberland Motor Club's event at Loring landed him easily in the top ten of all competitors.

Patrick Dooley of Gray showing off the engine compartment of his highly modified Scion. His times in the Cumberland Motor Club’s event at Loring landed him easily in the top ten of all competitors.

My Visit to Vermont Sports Cars the Subaru USA Racing Team of Travis Pastrana and Others

Technicians at Vermont Sports Car have finished working on the Subaru Team USA Rally cars  for the day. In the foreground is the Travis Pastrana #199  and Rally America Champion David Higgins #75.

Technicians at Vermont Sports Car have finished working on the Subaru Team USA Rally cars for the day. In the foreground is the Travis Pastrana #199 and Rally America Champion David Higgins #75.

Probably the most famous of the Vermont Sports Car Rally team is Travis Pastrana who is a member of the two car Subaru USA team. His team-mate is David Higgins of the Isle of Man. Higgins placed first for the fourth year in a row and Pastrana second in the points race in the Open Class of Rally America’s Rally Championship.
The Global Rallycross team consists of Sverre Isachsen of Norway and Bucky Lasek. The team has somewhat limited experience with the Rallycross races which pit 600 hp all wheel drive cars against each other on a spectator friendly course.
I talked to several of the technicians at Vermont Sports Car. To a man each of them loved their job with what is arguably the best Rally and Rallycross team in the USA. Most of the 30 plus employees are native Vermonters which I found interesting. At Indianapolis when ever I have visited the many race shops in that area they seem to have a small percentage of their team members from Indiana.
I was able to view every department of Team Subaru USA except the engine building area which was kept hush, hush since every horsepower increase comes with great cost in time and money.

My tour guide Winston Hale (no relation, I think....) Vermont Sports Cars' Design Engineer/Sales Coordinator. Hale, 27, is a University of Vermont Mechanical Engineering graduate. He is responsible for a myriad of items including parts and component design as well as design of parts manuals, and more.

My tour guide Winston Hale (no relation, I think….) Vermont Sports Cars’ Design EngineerSales Coordinator. Hale, 27, is a University of Vermont Mechanical Engineering graduate. He is responsible for a myriad of items including parts and component design as well as design of parts manuals, and more.

Red Sox Groundskeeper and County Native Goes Racing

One of my former students and Class of 2000 Caribou High School graduate, Jason Griffeth formerly of Woodland and Caribou, now living in the Boston area was home for a short time while the Red Sox were out-of-town. Griffeth, who is a huge stock car racing fan, had a chance to actually drive in a couple of races at Spud Speedway this past Saturday night. Upon arrival at the track in the late afternoon he was asked if he would like to race the Hale Tree Farms/HTF Motorsports racing kart.
At first he was reluctant since he had never driven a race kart before, however, once we got him fitted to the cockpit he became more relaxed. He ran multiple practice laps and was only off the pace by about one-half second.
In the first heat race the normally bulletproof reliable kart of mine threw a chain and bent a sprocket. we rushed the kart to the pits thinking it was just a mangled gear. Upon further inspection we discovered the sprocket hub was bent which was the reason for the thrown chain.
Pit crew member Danny Raymond and I bolted on a new sprocket and with a few “well placed” hammer blows to the bent hub, Griffeth was sent on his way to run the feature race. He ran second to eventual race winner Tyler Raymond of Caribou until with one lap remaining the chain was thrown off again putting an end to Griffeth’s evening of racing.
Despite the disappointing early end of the race for the Red Sox Assistant Groundskeeper you could not wipe the grin off his face. He must have said thank you a dozen times for the opportunity afforded him! Time well spent.

Jason Griffeth on right is the Assistant Groundskeeper for the Boston Red Sox now making his home near Boston, Massachusetts.  Griffeth finished second to Caribou's Tyler Raymond in the Senior Champ Kart race at Spud Speedway. This was Griffeth's racing debut.

Jason Griffeth on right is the Assistant Groundskeeper for the Boston Red Sox now making his home near Boston, Massachusetts. Griffeth finished second to Caribou’s Tyler Raymond in the Senior Champ Kart race at Spud Speedway. This was Griffeth’s racing debut.

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.