July 26, 2015
Aroostook County’s Huge Motorsports Weekend
Central Aroostook County was host to several motorsports events including a car show at the Northern Maine Fair, truck and tractor pulls at the Fair, and the 7th Annual Loring Timing Association “Maine Event” at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.
First the LTA event. According to event directors there were over 90 registered for the speed trials at Loring. Despite threatening weather 71 of the registrants showed. Racers were treated to a day and a half of cool air which allowed them to make big horsepower.
The fastest motorcycle driver was Cherry Valley, Illinois’ Ryan Ostergard who broke the 250 mile per hour (mph) mark with his run of 253 mph. Ostergard is also a record holder at the Ohio Mile in Wilmington, Ohio with a run of 243.77 mph.
I found a story that I want to share with you about motorcycle driver Brevon Scott pictured above. I stopped by their rental U-Haul trailer as they were loading the bike Saturday afternoon.
I asked Scott how he did and he showed me his timing slip and replied “233.76 mph”.
I asked him where he and his crew were from and he said, ” Cayman Islands”.
He must have noticed my jaw drop as I processed the facts that they were a long way from home and I was not sure where the Cayman Islands are located. After looking it up I found that the Islands were south of Cuba! They really were far from home!
Why in the world were they 1900 miles from home in Limestone, Maine?
Brevon replied, “I used to drag race on the island, however, the strip closed. I grew up racing on dirt, stunt bikes, and controlled runs. I heard about land speed racing and since there was no place nearby I headed to the Texas Mile.”
“My Suzuki Hayabusa is kept at Blais Cycle in Dania, Florida near Miami. After I ran at Texas I heard that Loring is where the best track for land speed is. So I said ‘Alright let’s go to Maine'”.
The five of them flew to Miami, picked up the Suzuki, put it on their rented U-Haul trailer, and drove to Loring. All of them were quite cold as the daytime high at Loring on Saturday reached only into the low 60’s.
I asked Scott’s wife Laura what she thought of our weather? She said, “I have three layers of clothes on and I still am cold. It never gets this cold back home!”
What I thought that was unique about this rookie driver besides having the skill to go 233 mph is that he owns a motorcycle shop in his town and all the guys he brought with him were customers and not mechanics.
Both Solomon and Bruce were customers and seven year old Jerome was a neighbor kid who hangs around Scott’s shop, DB Moto. One day Scott asked the seven year old if he wanted to go to Maine to watch him race and Jerome said, “Sure”. This was his first trip outside the Cayman Islands. Talk about cultural shock.
Another neat story was the adventures of my friend Lionel Theriault Junior known as “Junior” to most people. Junior has told me some of his exploits from his younger days which often included high speeds. I am not sure if everything he has shared has been the gospel truth, however, I knew he liked speed.
One day at his Presque Isle John Deere store we were talking and the subject of speed came up, as it often does. He asked me if I had seen his new vehicle which I had not. He said come take a look and we stepped outside the door to look at his Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. The “truck” features Brembo brake calipers on huge discs, a 6.4 Hemi producing 470 horsepower, and an 8-speed transmission.
He said he had run it at the fall of 2014 Loring event and wasn’t satisfied with his speed. Over the winter he had his chief mechanic Eric at the Presque Isle dealership install a supercharger.
The SRT needed to run on a dyno to be tuned, however, there are no dyno shops in Maine who do 4 wheel drive pulls and the closest one in Haverhill, Massachusetts was booked three weeks in advance. Thus in Theriault’s estimation he was down about 50 horsepower.
Despite the horsepower deficit he was able to run 158.11 mph. Car & Driver magazine was able to wring 157 miles per hour in their test of a stock SRT. I suspect he will be back with a tuned SRT this fall. The grin on his face was worth the price of admission.
Shortly after her Grandfather, Lionel Theriault Junior went 158 in his Grand Cherokee, Caribou native Grace Theriault went on her own high speed run. The 11 year old, daughter of Renee Theriault of Presque Isle and Shane Theriault of Caribou rode with 71 Wing Cars owner Pam Beineke of Massachusetts in her Richard Petty Blue #43 1969 Dodge Daytona. The car is capable of 200 plus miles per hour, however, on demonstration runs she holds the speed down to 140 mph.
When I interviewed Grace shortly after her 143 mph demonstration ride in the #43 Dodge Daytona she still had an ear-to-ear grin.
“It was kinda scary,” said Grace. “It was exciting. I thought oh my Lord I’m going 140!”
“Everything was a blur going by. I kept a straight forward focus. Pam wanted to go fast but I was there”
“Someday I would like to drive. I want to get ahead of Carl (Theriault the fastest at the LTA’s Fall 2014 event).”
Fastest car at the event was the McClain-Jinkens-McClain “the Barker” driven by Bob Jinkins of New Jersey. The dragster streamliner went 224 mph.
Truck and Tractor Pulls at Northern Maine Fair
Nearly 4,000 spectators took advantage of the break in the rain by attending the Northern Maine Fair’s Truck and Tractor Pulls Saturday evening. A near record crowd saw a wide range of trucks and tractors from stock to modified try their skills on the pulling track.
I have been following the stories of two rookie drivers as they plied their skills and know-how in truck pulling. Dylan Conroy entered the stock four wheel drive class and Tony Robbins the 2 wheel drive modified class. Both had respectable runs; Conroy 190.17 feet and Robbins 299.12 feet. Both finished their season in Northern Maine with the desire to “find something more” for 2016. Dylan stated, “I am happy. I broke no parts and am able to drive my truck home”.
Northern Maine Fair Car Show
The Fair’s Car Show featured a seven vehicle Duke’s of Hazzard display including the genuine car actually used in the show. This car is valued at over $120,000 according to one of the show organizer’s Joe Chamberlain of Woodland.
“It is only one of 17 that is left from the show,” said Chamberlain. ” All the others went to the crusher”
The show featured 95 total entries including motorcycles, snowmobiles, “Rat Rods”, hot rods, restored cars and trucks mostly from the immediate area.
Swanson Continues to Dominate at Lucas Oil Raceway
Up until the race on Thursday evening Tanner Swanson of Kingsburg, California had led 384 of the last 385 laps at Lucas Oil Raceway over the last four years winning three of four. The one lap he did not lead was the 2013 event where David Byrne slipped by on lap 100 to take the win.
This year Tanner did not lead all the laps as older brother Kody lead the majority of laps until lap 66 when Tanner passed him for the lead which he did not relinquish. Both Kody and Sprint Cup’s Ryan Newman badgered Tanner for the lead but could not get it done.
Tanner had this to say about the race,”God has given me an incredible opportunity to drive for a great race team and we have been able to keep our noses down and stick to our gameplan and that has been working well for us”
“I really like IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park now called Lucas Oil Raceway) but I like champ cars even more. I have been very fortunate to have the recent success there and it’s been even more fun being able to share it with my brother.”
As you may or may not know I am keeping my eye on rookie Pro-Stock driver Wyatt Alexander of Ellsworth. His crew chief and grandfather Bobby Alexander has County roots so I thought you and I could follow their exploits as they battle for the win at Wiscasset Speedway as well as other select events including attempting to qualify for the Oxford 250 in August.
Crew Chief Bobby had this to say about this weeks race at Wiscasset, “The 96 was fast last night. Finished 3rd in heat race, started outside pole in feature. Led the field by 1/2 track and pulling away when race redflagged. On restart outside car jumped the start, Wyatt broke the R/R hub drive flange resulting in having drive only at L/R.”
“Went quickly to the rear and pitted. Thought at first it was a broken axle but found that the hub had broken. Got Wyatt back into the car while I changed out the drive flange with a spare.”
“We were several laps down when we went back on the track as race was again red-flagged with 4 to go. Started at rear. Wyatt came on the radio with ‘ watch this guys, I still have some tricks that they haven’t seen’. Wyatt then put on a driving display, running the outside to cross the line in 3rd. Have not seen the official results but due to all the carnage, 8 cars finished of 16 that started, I would guess we were 6th or 7th.”
“We will have the repairs made, stronger, better, faster, and be at Oxford Plains on Saturday night for their 50 lap Super Late Model race.
Northern Maine Street Stock 100 On For August 2, 2015
Billed as one of the largest Street Stock races held at Spud Speedway in Caribou, the Northern Maine Street Stock 100 will run August 2, 2015. Races will begin at 1:30 pm.
A total purse of $5000 will feature a $1500 first prize. Several competitors are making the trip to try to claim a portion of the prize money in the race which will also serve as an Ikey Dorr Memorial qualifier.
Originally scheduled for July 26 track officials made the call early Sunday morning to postpone the race to August 2nd.
Let’s Go Racing!
Soli Deo Gloria