Drivers need to spend time interacting with fans

Episode 63
July 14, 2015

Wyatt Alexander at Wiscasset Speedway Fan Appreciation night. Photo courtesy Wyatt Alexander Racing

Wyatt Alexander signing autographs for a young admirer at Wiscasset Speedway Fan Appreciation Night. Photo courtesy Wyatt Alexander Racing

Important Job For Drivers!

One of the most important task; or as I prefer to call it, opportunity, is for a driver to put on their clean uniform and a big smile as fans flood onto the racing surface during a Fan Appreciation Day. An opportunity because one never knows when that youngster that is looking up to you now may be a future racer, or you may be the only person that paid any attention to them that day.

I remember standing behind the fence and looking at Chink Maynard, Ernie Levesque, Dick Wheeler, Max Ury, and others as I was growing up. I often thought about being in a position to do what they seemed so natural at doing, racing a stock car.

Little did I know that someday my horizons would not only include Spud Speedway but several famous tracks and personalities that this little guy from Grimes Road would have a chance to rub elbows with.

I say all this to remind drivers to take time to interact with the fans as Wyatt is shown to be doing in this photo. Be outgoing and seek out that shy kid. You will create a memory that will stay with them for a long time.

Since I talked about Wyatt I thought it would be appropriate to mention how he did at his home track, Wiscasset Speedway, on Friday evening. Wyatt’s Facebook post said,” Busy night here at Wiscasset! The heat and the feature were not the best for Wyatt tonight. Heat finish was 5th and Feature was 8th I believe. However the fan appreciation night was awesome and we thank the many fans who came by to meet Wyatt!”

I strongly urge all race drivers to take the time and greet the fans in the most pleasant way you can with an eye to the future.

Shawn Martin's #94 after getting clobbered at Oxford Plains Speedway a few weeks ago. Photo courtesy Shawn Martin

Shawn Martin’s #94 after getting clobbered at Oxford Plains Speedway a few weeks ago. Photo courtesy Shawn Martin

Time Off With Family and Race Car Repair

It appears that the time with family and repairing his #94 Super Late Model has paid off for Frenchville native Shawn Martin. Martin suffered a hurt race car several weeks ago in action at Oxford Plains Speedway. He was also suffering from poor finishes uncharacteristic of this two-time track champion.

Without talking to him directly it appears he is back into his groove when he finished third in a close race at the Oxford track on July 3rd. He was passed in the closing laps by Scott Robbins who placed second. T.J. Brackett became the first multiple feature race winner this season. Go County Man!

 

 

Damian Theriault with the Checkered Flag at Thundering Valley. Photo courtesy Janet Bosse

Damian Theriault with the Checkered Flag at Thundering Valley. Photo courtesy Janet Bosse

Damian Heads South Again!

I hate to sound like a broken record, however, I want folks to know when County folks have success at southern race tracks. Damian Theriault of Caribou along with Junior Champ Kart driver Bryan Searles of Presque Isle made the trek to Thundering Valley Raceway in St. Albans Saturday.

Theriault placed first in his heat race, second in his first feature, and first in the second feature. In feature number one he was spun into a 360 and motored on to place second. Side note Theriault also placed first in the Senior Champ Kart race on Sunday at Spud Speedway.

Bryan Searles of Presque Isle on left finished third in his two feature races at Thundering Valley. Photo courtesy Janet Bosse

Bryan Searles of Presque Isle on left finished third in his two feature races at Thundering Valley. Photo courtesy Janet Bosse

Bryan Searles made his second trip to the 1/5 mile oval in St. Albans this time for the first time in the Junior Champ kart division. Searles placed first in his heat and third in both feature races. I can relate to his third place finishes because I finished third again at Spud Speedway. I have placed third in every race this season.

Billy Amaral's Death-Proof Camaro in action at last year's Loring Timing Association Speed Trials. Photo courtesy Loring Timing Association

Billy Amaral’s Death-Proof Camaro in action at last year’s Loring Timing Association Speed Trials. Photo courtesy Loring Timing Association

Fastest Race in Maine Next Weekend

Loring Timing Association (LTA) will be hosting the Loring Speed Trials once again this summer. The event has featured some of the fastest two and four wheeled vehicles on the planet. No other event in the New England area will match the sheer speed obtained by some of the most unique and innovative machines seen anywhere.

Whether it is motorcycles, cars, trucks, streamliners, or electric vehicles the one and one-half mile track has been the place to test a builder’s abilities and a driver’s courage. The track has been named by many as one of the best surfaces to obtain excellent results due to it’s exceptional grippy surface, track width, and run-off area.

LTA official Jesse Michaud had this to say about those who may be attending the July 19-21st event, “On motorcycles Scott Davis has a newly built turbo charged ZX12 that he is looking to run 250 with. There looks to be three of Kawasaki’s new H2R’s coming. Jody Perewitz is also looking to debut her new bike which is a APS class bike with a Pro Charged Twin Cam Harley motor @ 120 C.I. She is looking to run 215 mph on the new bike.”

“For cars I am not sure as I don’t get as much info on them. To the best of my knowledge the “Death Proof” Camaro of Billy Amaral is coming. That car won the Hot Rod Magazine Top Speed Shootout in Ohio this year with a speed of 221 (I think).”

Event Director Tim Kelly said, “We are expecting four Kawasaki H2 and H2R motorcycles. These are very special limited production bikes that had to be pre-ordered. They are $50,000 apiece and it will probably be the biggest gathering of them since the factory. 220 and 300 hp out of the box.

“Cars, we are expecting a couple of Shelby Super Snakes and some Vettes. We did have a Camaro ZL1 this spring that said he was returning. May see a Nissan GTR or two. The usual smattering of belly tankers. The Dodge Daytona that looks like the one from Cars that all of the kids want a picture of.”

“We also have a 260 and 300 mph bike coming up from Connecticut.”

The tentative schedule is:

Thursday :

Sunrise – pits open

Noon- tech and registration opens.

5:30- driver/track orientation meeting

Friday:

Sunrise – pits open
8:00 – registration-tech opens
Noon- possible second driver/track orientation meeting
1:00- racing starts

Saturday:

8:00 – Racing, tech and registration

Sunday

8:00 – 2:30 ? racing tech and registration

All times are subject to change based on competitor and volunteer
availability. The races will be streaming live on www.landracing.com

Last Ditch Racing owned and driven by Bangor's John Cassidy with co-driver Dave Getchell of Camden pictured at 2014 Mount Washington Hillclimb. The Bangor team will contest the 2015 New England Forest Rally in Newry, Maine beginning Friday July 19th. HTF Motorsports photo.

Last Ditch Racing Subaru WRX STI owned and driven by Bangor’s John Cassidy with co-driver Dave Getchell of Camden pictured at 2014 Mount Washington Hillclimb. The Bangor team will contest the 2015 New England Forest Rally in Newry, Maine beginning Friday July 17th. HTF Motorsports photo.

New England Forest Rally Next Weekend

Some of the biggest names in rally racing will be competing at the 25th New England Forest Rally July 17-18, 2015. They include Vermont Sports Cars Subarus for David Higgins and Travis Pastrana, Ford’s Ken Block, Ramana Lagemann, and Lucy Block; Maine’s Chris Duplessis in a Subaru BRZ, and Bangor’s John Cassidy in his Subaru WRX STI.

The long list of quality racers may give Subaru’s David Higgins a real test. Higgins has won all 2015 Rally events. Ken Block, New England Forest Rally two time champ and star of the Ken Block Gymkhana videos, promises to make Higgins work hard to win this event.

The spectator’s guide for the event may be found at: http://newenglandforestrally.com/2015-spectators-guide/

 

Car show organizer, Adam McCory's Subaru WRX, is just one example of the type of cars he and others are hoping to attract to the City of Caribou "Thursday Night on Sweden Street" Photo courtesy Adan McCory

Car show organizer, Adam McCrory’s Subaru WRX, is just one example of the type of cars he and others are hoping to attract to the City of Caribou “Thursday Night on Sweden Street” Photo courtesy Adam McCrory

Sometimes…

There are times when I do things that have what I believe are God ordained moments. Last week I had one of those events. I saw a nice looking Subaru pull into the Rite Aid parking lot as I was leaving Clukey Auto Parts in Caribou. I pulled next to the Subaru and waited for the driver to get out.

Keep in mind I did not know the owner/driver Adam McCrory. When he got out I said, “Did you hear about the WRX recall?”

He said no he had not to which I replied, “I am the designated investigator for Subaru and must drive your WRX for a week to see if it is okay.”

Adam laughed and we talked about his car for awhile. During the conversation I found out that he was trying to organize a car show to be held in the Post Office parking lot during one of the very popular “Thursday Night on Sweden Street” events.

In his own words this is what Adam had to say, ” The car show is going to be celebrating Dog Days of Summer July 30. The band Muddy Rukus from Portland will be playing. Monica’s Scandinavian Imports, Soderberg Construction Company, Sitel, and City of Caribou are sponsors.”

“The event starts at 6pm until 9pm at the Caribou Post Office on Sweden Street. If anyone is bringing their cars we want them to show up a little earlier. There will be the usual vendors as well.”

“Lydia’s (Kieffer)  goal for these Sweden Street events is to bring the community together and my goal is to bring the car community together. We have a great older generation with older cars around here and I want a younger generation to get involved.”

“I see the quote ‘raise your children with a car addiction that way they won’t have the money for a drug addiction’. That’s one of the reasons why I want this car show to have a good turnout so it can become an annual thing. I want to inspire kids that you can make a car a part of your personality and use your imagination and become part of a car community that all share the same interests and passion.”

“My friend Brandon Doughty and I had the idea and I took the chance to apply it. He is rounding up a little meet at NMCC to get some of the locals aware of the car show. We want all kinds of cars, muscle, classic, tuners, euros exotics, everything and anything. My inspiration came from growing up with my grandfather having a reputation for his work on cars. That’s what got me into it.”

Contact McCrory via Facebook or through the Caribou Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Michael Patsis on left, Marla O'Guin center, and Amanda Joy Patsis on right. Photo courtesy Tom Patsis

Tom Michael Patsis on left, Marla O’Guin center, and Amanda Joy Patsis on right. Photo courtesy Tom Patsis

NHRA Drag Racing Tidbit

My friend Tom Michael Patsis originally from Ellsworth, Maine now living near Brownsburg, Indiana,along with his wife Amanda made the trip to the Lucas Oil Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Illinois.

Tom is a fabricator for Don Schumacher Racing and owner of Cold Hard Art. Amanda is the marketing and shipping manager at Cold Hard Art. While at the drag race they stopped by the Spencer Massey Top Fuel dragster  pits to say hello to Clutch Assistant Marla O’Guin formerly of New Lenox, Illinois.

Marla is a 2009 High Performance Technology program graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio. I believe she is one of the very few female clutch specialists.

Motorsports Hall of Famer from Presque Isle Has A Scary Moment

2014 Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Chink Maynard was a passenger in a small plane that experienced engine troubles after taking off from the Houlton International Airport. More information may be found here: http://bangordailynews.com/2015/07/11/news/aroostook/plane-makes-emergency-landing-on-i-95-near-houlton/?ref=topStories2

Let’s Go Racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria

 

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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.