Some Good Thoughts About Racing People

Episode #69 August 23, 2015

Garett Achorn Junior of Washburn on left with Tom Hale (moi) This week's trophy recipient. Photo courtesy Chelsey Rossignol

Garett Achorn Junior of Washburn on left with Tom Hale (moi). Garett was this week’s trophy recipient. Photo courtesy Chelsey Rossignol Garett’s mom.

Why I Like Racing (Some Positive Thoughts) Please do not take this the wrong way. I am not into self aggrandizement! I do love to give any trophies I win to youngsters. Believe it or not I can remember when I was young. If anyone older paid attention to me in a positive manner I remembered it. Every one of you have moments in time when you were young that an older adult noticed you and may have given you words of encouragement. I remember coaches who supplied me with the desire to work hard at baseball skills because they saw in me a spark, that with a little fanning might grow. I suspect Russell Currier when he transformed from a teenager who liked to spend time on the couch to an Olympic competitor was given words which led him to seek a goal that as a young boy growing up in Stockholm, Maine he may never have dreamed. Bob Sprague, a coach, teacher, and fellow Stockholm resident , I suspect may have had a part in Russell career. Bob is like that. He is an encourager. One of the reason’s I spend time following the careers of Austin Theriault, Wyatt Alexander, Spencer Morse, Kody and Tanner Swanson is that they are driven to do their best while representing others like their families and business partners. They have been encouraged as young men to seek lofty goals. Part of the problem we have in the County is the lack of perceived opportunities. This may be a County thing or may be a generational thing. I do not know. What I do know is that realistic goal setting and desire can lead to fewer run ins with the law, drug problems, and alcohol abuse. These kids with lofty goals do not have the time or money to pursue trouble. Yes I know trouble will come to them, however, I pray that their desire to succeed will not erode and crumble when trouble comes a calling. So Garett may this possession of a simple Spud Speedway trophy ignite within you a desire to pursue excellence whether it is in racing, sports, Bible quiz, or school studies. I always include a close walk with Christ helps to cement the deal as well. Lead on young man!

Kody Swanson center with his wife Jordan to his right celebrate winning the Tony Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds last saturday evening. Kody and Jordan are surrounded by the DePalma Motorsports-Radio Hospital #63 Maxim /Hampshire crew. Photo courtesy Rich Forman/1 Vision Graphics

Kody Swanson center with his wife Jordan to his right celebrate winning the Tony Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds last saturday evening. Kody and Jordan are surrounded by the DePalma Motorsports-Radio Hospital #63 Maxim /Hampshire crew. Photo courtesy Rich Forman/1 Vision Graphics

Speaking of Kody Swanson… Look at that! My friend Kody Swanson does it again by winning the USAC Silver Crown’s 54th Annual Tony Bettenhausen 100. Swanson won the race last year on his route to his first USAC Championship. This was his third win in 2015 and 11th in Silver Crown landing him 8th in career wins. This series is the same that A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, and in more recent times Ryan Newman competed in as they pursued their careers in motorsports. Swanson had the fastest qualifying time but had to start 16th after receiving a push start. He took the lead and held it on lap 58 on the one-mile dirt track. The margin of victory over second place Levi Jones was 3.124 seconds. Swanson was quoted in the USAC Racing report, “Driving for a team like this with a crew chief like Bob Hampshire, I get to hear a lot of Jack Hewitt stories and what they were able to do back in the day. Today felt a little like that, coming from so far back and still being able to get it done. I’ve never thought of myself in regard to being with a group like the guys who have gone back-to-back in this race, or even the group of guys on the all-time win list, but it’s been so much fun and we’re just gonna enjoy this ride,” Swanson said. “My team never gives up, and even when a freak thing sets us back, they battle and do everything they can. And when we know we’re starting that far back, there’s no doubt in us. I was teammates with Brian Tyler, and my predecessor in this car Jack Hewitt, could come from way back and win it. I’m nowhere near their caliber, but this car was good enough to get it done from back there. I told them that it was our turn to put on a show, and I knew we could do it. It’s so cool what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a great series with events like this one. I had to be patient with those front two cars, and when it came time to go, we went,” Swanson said. Shane Cottle  finished in the third spot followed by Jerry Coons Junior in fourth. Coons trails Swanson by 79 points with 361 to 440. It’s the 42nd Annual Oxford 250 Time I have not been to the Oxford 250 since 1983. I am excited to be able to be there on Sunday the 30th representing the Bangor Daily News team as a blogger. I will not be publishing UpNorth Motorsports until Monday August 31 since I will be traveling back to the County late Sunday evening and my home/office internet will not be repaired until Monday (I hope). I have told others my prediction of Mike Rowe winning his fourth Oxford 250. Maybe that is because I have an affinity for fellow drivers in their 60’s. With over 60 drivers registered we are guaranteed to have a top-notch field of entries when the green flag is thrown sometime around 5:30 Sunday afternoon for the start of the AIM Recycling USA Oxford 250 Presented by Kenny U Pull. Wow that’s a mouthful! I will be following the attempts by rookies Spencer Morse in his Oxford Hills Middle School Aspire #0 and Wyatt Alexander in the K & B Auto # 96. I have been following their exploits from early spring. Both had good weekends with Morse finishing 8th at Oxford in the regular series on Saturday. Alexander finished third in a three-way battle for the win at Wiscasset. It would be exciting to see them qualify in this tough field. I will be there to give you some inside scoops about their racing success and failures. Others I will be keeping my eye on will be Shawn Martin who is a County native originally from Frenchville now living in Auburn. Shawn placed fourth at Oxford last Saturday. Could he be peaking at the right time? Another is Joey Polewarczyk who won the ACT Can-Am 150 at the Circuit Riverside last Saturday evening. The 2012 winner of the 250 is married to the former Brittany Theriault, Austin Theriault’s sister. Thus another County ‘connection”. Oxford Plains will also feature racing Friday evening at 7 pm, “NAPA Night” with nine divisions of races. Saturday races start at 6 pm and include the Valenti Modified Series, Wicked Good Vintage racers, North east Mini Stock Tour and more. If you see me at the 250 give me a shout. It promises to be an action packed weekend of motorsports.

Andretti Autosports Justin Wilson in coma. Photo courtesy Honda Racing

Andretti Autosports Justin Wilson in coma. Photo courtesy Honda Racing

Wilson in Coma After Incident at IndyCar ABC Supply 500 Pocono Race The latest information that I have at time of publishing is that Andretti Autosports’ Justin Wilson of Sheffield, England is in a coma and according to race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is “unconscious and unresponsive”. Wilson suffered the severe head injury when Sage Karam belted the turn one wall with 21 laps to go. Wilson appeared to hit what some think was the nosecone of Karam’s car. Wilson smashed into the inside wall and was immediately attended to by safety officials. He was airlifted to nearby medical facilities. Please pray for him. Before I close this week’s blog I want to thank Gerry Humphrey/Last Chance Motorsports for helping me get ready for the Senior Champ Kart feature. Another example of good sportsmanship. Oh by the way you guessed it I finished third again! See you at Oxford Plains Speedway next weekend. 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.