More Future Motorsports Stars?

Episode 61

June 28, 2015

Bryan Searles of Presque Isle in the red kart on the right narrowly defeated Caswell's Brayden Thibodeau in racing action at Spud Speedway Sunday afternoon. This was one of the closest finishes in kart racing at the Caribou track. Photo courtesy Lynn Martin

Bryan Searles of Presque Isle in the red kart on the right narrowly defeated Caswell’s Brayden Thibodeau in racing action at Spud Speedway Sunday afternoon. This was one of the closest finishes in kart racing at the Caribou track. Photo courtesy Lynn Martin

Youngsters Developing at Spud Speedway

In what had to be the closest race finish at Spud Speedway since opening the newly constructed kart track three years ago, nine-year old Bryan Searles held on to hold off hard charging Brayden Thibodeau in the Junior Champ Kart feature race. Searles led the whole race, however, Thibodeau cut into his lead by fractions of a second every lap until he drew alongside Searles at the start/finish line.

Finishing in the third spot was rookie Noah Coventry of Van Buren.

Parker Bosse of Limestone battled with fellow Kids Karts driver Gage Theriault for the top spot at Spud Speedway Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy Lynn Martin

Parker Bosse of Limestone battled with fellow Kids Karts driver Gage Theriault for the top spot at Spud Speedway Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy Lynn Martin

In the Kids Karts the top two spots were held by Limestone residents Parker Bosse and Gage Theriault. These youngsters put on a good race. Newcomer Avery Lloyd of New Denmark, New Brunswick rounded out the top three.

Caribou's Tyler Raymond #77 battled with Damian Theriault, also from Caribou, in the # 53 for top honors in the Senior Champ Kart feature at Spud Speedway Sunday afternoon before rain put a halt to further racing. Photo courtesy Lynn Martin

Caribou’s Tyler Raymond #77 battled with Damian Theriault #53, also from Caribou, for top honors in the Senior Champ Kart feature at Spud Speedway Sunday afternoon. Raymond won the feature with Theriault second, and yours truly rounding out the top three. Rain put a halt to further racing. Photo courtesy Lynn Martin

After graduating two weeks ago Tyler Raymond of Caribou resumed his winning ways in the Senior Champ Kart class at Spud Speedway. Points champion for the last two years, Raymond showed that he can wheel his United Insurance Ultramaxx kart, setting fastest lap times by nearly one-half second over Theriault his closest competitor.

Damian Theriault showed he was no slouch, however, when he and his family went to Thundering Valley Raceway in St. Albans on Saturday. Theriault won his heat race, won his first feature race, and despite spinning late in the second feature came back to place second. He led most of the second feature until his worn out right rear tire caused him to spin out.

I say all this to make a point. There will be several youngsters coming up through the ranks with years of karting experience before they are even old enough to get in a stock car. Heck most of them cannot even reach the pedals in a car. Could one of them be the next Austin Theriault or Rickie Craven? Hmmmm.

As for me in the Aroostook Limousines/Stag Brands Alpha Vegetable #10, all I can say is it needs lots of work. I am about one full second behind race winner Tyler Raymond and one-half second behind second place Damian Theriault.

Watching them pull away at the green flag is soooo frustrating when you know your set up is not going to allow you to run anywhere near the leaders. Back to the drawing board for the next race Friday evening.

Frustrating Evening for WAR

If you follow UpNorth Motorsports you know I have been keeping an eye on the Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) Pro-Stock team from Ellsworth. Their connection with the County is strong and the story is one that interests me. I even took a road trip to spend a couple of days at their shop prepping the #96 for the season earlier this spring.

The team races at Wiscasset as well as in some PASS races this season with driver sixteen year-old Wyatt Alexander son of Jen and Brett Alexander. Crew Chief is Bobby Alexander, who is from Mars Hill now living in Ellsworth, thus the connection. This is truly a family effort.

Last Saturday evening it seemed that some of the hard work was beginning to pay off in the feature as Wyatt led most of the race which had several yellows, a couple of red flags, and saw only 8 of the 18 starters finish.

I asked Bobby Alexander to sum up the evening since I was at a loss on how to report the results. This is what he said, “The 96 was the dominant car, holding off all challengers until a curfew mandated yellow/checkers end to the race. Finish to be determined.”

I will let you know when something official is reported.

Graham Rahal wins the MAVTV 500 at Fontana Speedway in California. Photo courtesy Honda Racing

Graham Rahal wins the MAVTV 500 at Fontana Speedway in California. Photo courtesy Honda Racing

80 Lead Changes at IndyCar Fontana Race!

When I read that there were 80, yes 80 lead changes at the IndyCar MAVTV 500 today that caught my attention. These were just changes at the start finish line not those in the corners of the high-speed Auto Club Speedway. At times it was reported that the cars were running four wide and a few times five wide.

The most laps were led by  Penske Racing’s Will Power, who led 62 laps yet never made it to the end having been caught up in an incident with Takuma Sato on lap 241. Helio Castroneves led 43 laps before bumping Ryan Briscoe on lap 135 spinning backward into the wall making enough contact to take Castroneves out of the race and sending Briscoe in for a new wing.

A terrifying last lap flip by Ryan Briscoe caused the race to end under the yellow flag. Briscoe was unhurt in the incident.

The victory was Honda’s first since July of 2014 and Rahal’s first since 2008 when he won his very first IndyCar race at St.Petersburg. Rahal is engaged to Funny Car driver, Courtney Force of drag racing’s famous John Force family.

I am sure the folks at Honda are breathing a sigh of relief since their super speedway aero kit did get some vindication as a result of Rahal’s first and Marco Andretti’s third place finish. Chevy’s finished second with Tony Kanaan, fourth with Juan Pablo Montoya, and fifth with rookie sensation Sage Karam.

Kyle Busch Wins on Road Course at Sonoma

After suffering a broken right leg and left foot on February 21st in the Xfinity race at Daytona Busch missed 11 races. He needed to capture a win and place at least 30th in the points to make it to the Chase. Busch got the required win and currently is 37th, 136 points behind thirtieth place Cole Whitt with eleven more races to go before the Chase begins.

The Sonoma race also is the first time the Busch brothers finished one-two in a Sprint Cup race. Brother Kurt was only .542 seconds behind at the finish. Kurt was proud of his brother Kyle’s remarkable progress this season.

He had this to say courtesy Chevy Racing, “I was trying to think if we’ve ever finished one-two, and we did it today. That’s a pretty special moment. I’ve got over 500 starts. I know he’s over 300. Can you imagine 800 starts between the two of us, we almost have 30 wins each, and that’s the first time we’ve ever finished one-two. I now I wish I would have gotten up there and moved him. (laughter)”

I must also say that after suffering a serious Achilles tear in November and having to work hard to get back to walking somewhat normal, I can only imagine how hard Kyle needed to work. Then to win on a road course with multiple shifts and brake applications every lap he must be a tough guy. He certainly moved up in my respect for his accomplishments.

Back to work on the #10 Senior Champ Kart to get ready for Friday’s races at Spud Speedway. Hope to see you there and maybe you will be one of the winner’s of free passes to Maine Indoor Karting that I will be giving away that night.

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.