Requiem For A Racetrack? Time will tell….

Episode 20
September 7, 2014

Spud Speedway in spring of 2007 after sitting idle for several years, prior to ownership by Greg Veinote of Newburgh. Photo shows the main spectator entrance to the Caribou track.

Spud Speedway in spring of 2007 after sitting idle for several years, prior to ownership by Greg Veinote of Newburgh. Photo shows the main spectator entrance to the Caribou track.

Spud Speedway to change direction in 2015
I wanted to show the condition of the Caribou track after several years of neglect from 2000 until purchased in 2007 by Newburgh’s Greg Veinote. The track underwent massive renovation over the next seven years first by Veinote then by present track owner Troy Haney when he purchased the track in 2009.
In a prepared statement last week, Haney said he would be backing away from the same commitment he had made to run the track since 2009. I am presenting his statement which I do not normally do, however, I believe it is important for race fans to see the actual content first hand since rumors and mis-statements often surround such dramatic announcements.
“The race scheduled for September 7th will be canceled due to several factors. Based on the limited car count available and the frustration amongst many of the racers we feel it is in the best interest of all parties involved to take one additional week to prepare their cars as well as allowing some much needed cooling off time. We always want to promote a safe and enjoyable environment for all to enjoy.

We will also look to have a great show scheduled for everyone on Saturday, September 13th at 2pm. It will be our final event of the season and the final event at Spud Speedway that will be under my management. Fall Brawl will include fan appreciation events, a full card of racing in all divisions along with the Atlantic Open Wheel Tour, Tuff Truck side by side racing, a Bomber race, and a Demo Derby to finish the day off. More details will come in the following days to outline the overall event.

The status of a 2015 season is unknown at this time. This has been a very difficult decision for me personally, but one that needed to be made for me and my family. In the summer of 2009 the Speedway was slated to close once again, I decided to purchase the track with one goal in mind, to keep the track open so everyone here in the County and New Brunswick had a place to race and enjoy the great sport it can be. Keeping racing alive in the area is still our first priority and we will continue to support the venue going forward. Over the past five years we have worked tirelessly to improve the facility and bring multiple types of entertainment to the area. We have brought concerts of all types, traveling tour races, monster truck shows, and most recently a full-blown fair. Unfortunately we have not had enough local support to make any of these events successful from a dollars and cents point of view. We have personally invested 40-50 thousand dollars per year out of our pocket to keep the facility going, which is just not sustainable for any business. Going forward we will look to offer the track out for lease at a very affordable lease for someone else to try a new approach, if no individual shows any interest we will offer it to the racers to develop a Racer Club type of approach where the racers can work together to manage their own events at a very affordable cost. Beyond that we are open to any other suggestions that make sense. In any event we will continue to keep the Race Kart track open for people to enjoy in the upcoming season as we believe this is a big part of the future of racing as a whole. We may also consider the possibility of a few big events throughout the year just to keep the track open and functioning in some type of capacity.

I would like to thank everyone that has supported us during our time operating the speedway and hope everyone understands our situation. We want to thank our sponsors, racers, fans, staff, and all of the folks that put their own hard work and effort in keeping the track alive. None of what we have accomplished would have been possible without everyone’s support. We hope that someone will step forward to continue a 50 year tradition of racing at Spud Speedway and racers will get behind them to support their efforts. We will not look to sell the property and again as stated before, we will look to support the facility going forward to continue the tradition. I hope to see lots of people at our last event to show support for the racers and interest in racing as a whole.”

Track Owner, Troy Haney

As you can tell the stress of running a racetrack in Northern Maine is tremendous. I commend Troy for his efforts and look forward to what the future holds for the Caribou track. I wish I could give you some insight as to what type of management team will step up to the plate if any. At the present time I see no such thing happening.
I worked this year as a groundskeeper and spent many hours and a bunch of Troy’s money on preparation of the facility not only for racing but a monster truck show and motorsports fair. As hard as the grounds crew worked we could not come close to the committment of time and resources that Troy put into the venture.

With a ferris wheel and bright lights and racing action at Spud Speedway one almost could compare the atmosphere to Le Mans or the 24 Hours of Daytona.

With a ferris wheel and bright lights and racing action at Spud Speedway one almost could compare the atmosphere to LeMans or the 24 Hours of Daytona.

The season finale is Saturday September 13th with racing beginning at 2pm. I will have more to say about the 2015 season, racers, fans, and state of stock car racing in the County in a future episode. I will not give my opinion until after the season is over.

Austin Theriault on left the third place finisher, winner Travis Benjamin, and on the right Ben Rowe complete the podium sweep of racers from Maine at Speedway 660's season ending Re-Max 250

Austin Theriault on left the third place finisher, winner Travis Benjamin, and on the right Ben Rowe complete the podium sweep of racers from Maine at Speedway 660’s season ending Re-Max 250

Austin Theriault begins a big month with a third at Speedway 660

Getting his start at Spud Speedway, Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault has a big month ahead of him. The race at Speedway 660 was scheduled to run on August 31st but incessant rain forced the race to be held on Labor Day, thus beginning a Theriault’s month of show me racing.
Theriault led several laps at the New Brunswick, Canada track until later in the race a spark plug wire came loose causing him to run on seven cylinders yet still maintaining a podium finish.
Theriault’s third race for JR Motorsports takes place this month at Kentucky Speedway in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300. The Nationwide Series race will give Theriault a chance to compete without the Sprint Cup drivers since they will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Theriault will also compete in two PASS races. On the 14th at the PASS 400 at Beech Ridge Speedway and on the 27th at the PASS Championships race at Oxford Plains Speedway.
I suspect that this month’s races will help determine in part what Theriault will do in 2015. I wish him the best of luck and am sure he will represent his fans and family well.

My friend Kody Swanson on the right with his wife Jordan celebrate in Victory Lane at the USAC "Tony Bettenhausen 100" in Springfield, Illinois. Photo by Patrick Davis

My friend Kody Swanson on the right with his wife Jordan celebrate in Victory Lane at the USAC “Tony Bettenhausen 100” in Springfield, Illinois. Photo by Patrick Davis

Swanson Dominates the USAC Silver Crown race at Illinois State Fairgrounds
One of my friends, Kody Swanson now living in Zionsville, Indiana won the “Tony Bettenhausen 100” at the one mile clay track in Springfield, Illinois. Swanson not only won the pole but led every lap of the race beating runner-up Tracy Hines by one-half lap. This victory maintained Swanson’s point lead over Hines in the National USAC Silver Crown series. The finale for the series will be later this month.
Swanson was among sixteen finishers of the 24 who started the race. He bounced back from a thirteenth place finish in last weeks “Ted Horn 100” held in DuQuoin, Illinois.

Let’s Go Racing!

Tom Hale
Soli Deo Gloria

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing.