Summer Kart Series at Spud Speedway

Episode 42

February 8, 2015

Kart racers from across the County meet at Haney Building Specialties to prepare for the 2015 Spud Speedway  Summer Karting Series. Kart racing will be the only racing taking place at the Caribou track this year. Hale photo

Kart racers from across the County meet at Haney Building Specialties to prepare for the 2015 Spud Speedway Summer Karting Series. Kart racing will be the only racing taking place at the Caribou track this year. Hale photo

The one-third mile oval track at Spud Speedway will be silent this summer with no scheduled stock car races. In its stead will be the 2015 Spud Speedway Summer Karting Series consisting of 12 races commencing June 13, 2015.

Kart racers and potential kart racers gathered at Haney Building Specialties in Caribou Saturday morning to ask questions, make suggestions, and hear from Spud Speedway owner, Troy Haney.

Haney announced that kart races would begin in June and continue until a season closing date in early September. Races will be on Saturdays with pit gates opening at 10:30 am and races starting at noon. The same three divisions; Kids Karts, Junior Champ karts, and Senior Champ karts will be featured at each race date.

Details such as entry fees, specific race days, and staffing were not released at the time of the meeting. Kart racers will not be part of a bigger overall show thus allowing more individualized instruction time for young racers just getting into the sport. This will also allow more races of longer duration for the kart racers.

Specific rules and discussion points were brought up at the meeting so that Haney would be able to update the 2015 rulebook which he will post on the Spud Speedway website. The Caribou track utilizes the same rules package as Nate Anderson’s Thundering Valley Raceway (TVR) in St. Albans. This allows racers to run either track without major changes to the kart.

Topics discussed were the merits of a gear change in the Senior Champ karts, what is pump gas, does there need to be a points race with a championship, is there an alternative to Thundering Valley sealing of the engines, and can Dunlop race tires be purchased locally rather than from just TVR? Much discussion followed each item with final results to be announced after research is completed by Haney.

Local RC club Director Marcel Bosse offered to computerize the scoring of each event. If his preliminary trials work this spring, each race as well as practice session will be electronically timed with results made available to competitors in real-time. Such information will be useful for points tabulation and kart set up for the 1/6 mile oval .

The meeting concluded with remarks from Haney in regards to actions of participants and others at the Summer Series events.”We will have 12 races this summer starting with our first race on Saturday, June 13th,” said Haney. “We will have a minimum of 3 races for each class every weekend. We will open for open practice as soon as the grounds are dry enough hopefully sometime in May.”

“We invested a lot of time and money to build a kart track and many people have bought karts to race. I enjoy seeing the kids smile when they get to race So we will make sure that this continues to grow and everyone has a great time racing. The best way to enjoy kart racing is by getting involved.”

My friend and 2015 USAC Silver Crown Champion, Kody Swanson and his wife Jordan at Daytona International Speedway

My friend and 2014 USAC Silver Crown Champion, Kody Swanson and his wife Jordan at Daytona International Speedway

Former FFA member and supporter Kody Swanson gets his ARCA Certification at Daytona 

One of the perks of my former job as Agriculture Instructor/FFA Advisor was meeting the best of the best in the career field of agriculture. I met this Kingsburg, California native after he was cited by Chris Economaki’s National Speed Sport News August 10, 2005 as a “Rising Star”. As I was reading the article I saw that he was the Kingsburg FFA Chapter President,  was a 4.0 student at Kingsburg and was interested  in attending  Cal Poly.

I did a little digging and was able to contact the youngster. I would meet him at the USAC races held at Indianapolis Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway) just before the Brickyard 400. I met with Swanson and his Dad, Mike at IRP. I  took loads of photos as he raced in both the USAC Midgets and Silver Crown races that day.

Our friendship continued through the years. After Swanson moved to Indy and married his wife Jordan he would meet my FFA members either at the National FFA Convention, give shop tours of 9Racing, or get us exclusive access to a “slippery kart track” just outside Indy. Swanson knew the owner who despite having closed for the season would open the track for us to pit our skills against Kody and his brother Tanner.

Swanson was the 2010 USAC Rookie of the Year in the Silver Crown Series and went on to become the 2014  Champion of that series.

I was pleasantly surprised to see in Swanson’s recent post on Facebook that he was in Daytona to obtain his ARCA certification. This basically says that experts have watched him handle a stock car at high-speed and have determined he has the skills needed to muscle stock cars at the 2 1/2 mile oval.

Andy Hillenburg Racing #10 driven by that was utilized by Kody Swanson to get his ARCA certification at Daytona.

Andy Hillenburg Racing #10 driven by Ed Pompa that was utilized by Kody Swanson to get his ARCA certification at Daytona.

According to Swanson’s Facebook post, “On January 16th, 2015 – I got an awesome opportunity from Andy Hillenburg and Fast Track Racing to turn some laps at the ARCA Racing test at Daytona, and apply for my competitors license. It was ARCA’s final test before their Lucas Oil 200 weekend kicks off on February 12th, and Fast Track Racing driver Ed Pompa gave up his seat for me to make a few laps in the Double H Ranch #10 to earn my ARCA certification and make a few awesome memories with my wife and parents. I am so thankful that ARCA allowed me to test with their series, and thankful for everyone that played a role in such a neat opportunity for me. Wishing the best of luck to Ed and the Fast Track Racing boys in the Lucas Oil 200!”

Swanson will not be in the ARCA race, however, he will be doing some Florida dirt track sprint car races as he continues to hone his dirt track driving style in defense of his National Title.

The ARCA race kicks off Speedweeks 2015 next Saturday February 14. The ARCA race is  followed by NASCAR’s Sprint Unlimited that same evening. Who is excited about that?

This is the finalized version of the rig that Washburn's Steve Doody will be utilizing this year to help Joe Gibbs Racing promote two of its sponsors, DeWalt Tools and Stanley Tools. The other side of the trailer has the DeWalt logo.

This is the finalized version of the rig that Washburn’s Steve Doody will be utilizing this year to help Joe Gibbs Racing promote two of it’s sponsors, DeWalt Tools and Stanley Tools. The other side of the trailer has the DeWalt logo.

It’s Official

The season has begun for Joe Gibbs Racing's Steve Doody

The season has begun for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Steve Doody

 

And Now My Predictions

I know you have been waiting with bated breath to find out who this author’s picks are for the Daytona 500. I will not disappoint you and will in fact also predict the 2015 Sprint Cup Champion.

My pick to win the 500 is Carl Edwards with team-mate Matt Kenseth another possibility. Of course a reinvigorated Tony Stewart may sneak in a win, however, he seems to wait for the warm summer breezes before he starts clicking off wins. One must not overlook Junior or Jimmy but Gibbs will in this 500 prevail. Feel free to comment who your pick will be.

The move from Roush-Fenway was a great move for Matt Kenseth which immediately resulted in several wins and top ten finishes. It is my belief that same type of situation will occur with Carl Edwards who is my pick for the 2015 Sprint Cup Champion.

Looking forward to seeing some racing at least on the TV. I hope that somewhere along the 2015 season we can meet and share some stories about racing or life.

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.