Maine Racers Warm It Up at Daytona International Speedway

Episode 195

January 15, 2017

Maine Racers at ARCA Test at Daytona

Austin Theriault with the #52 Ken Schrader Toyota at ARCA Daytona test. Theriault was second fastest with 188.363 mph best speed. Wyatt Alexander Racing  photo

Austin Theriault with the #52 Ken Schrader Toyota at ARCA Daytona test. Theriault was fourth fastest with 188.363 mph. Wyatt Alexander Racing photo

Wyatt Alexander (WAR) gets to try out the Willie Mullins #34 ARCA car at Daytona. Alexander ran 180.448 mph in his first run at the speedway. WAR photo

Wyatt Alexander (WAR) gets to try out the Willie Mullins #34 ARCA car at Daytona. Alexander ran 180.448 mph in his first run at the speedway. WAR photo

In case you have been on a remote desert island, Austin Theriault announced this week that he will be contesting the championship in the ARCA Series aligning with the Ken Schrader #52 team based out of Concord, North Carolina.

After being fitted in his racing seat, the Fort Kent native drove to Daytona to take part in the 2 day ARCA test session. Day one consisted mainly of getting the feel of the car and it’s handling characteristics.

When Day 2 , Saturday, rolled around the team pulled out the stops. At the end of the rain delayed session, they found themselves with the second fastest speed (188.363 mph) only .245 mph slower than Shane Lee in the Cunningham Motorsports Chevrolet. The speed was good enough for fourth fastest of the weekend.

Venturini Motorsports rookie drivers Noah Gragson in the #55 Toyota set the fastest speed on Friday ((189.143 mph) in a ten car draft. His team-mate, Spencer Davis, in the #25 Toyota was clocked at 189.092 mph in that same draft. Theriault has a win at Michigan in 2014 with the Venturini Motorsports team.

Shane Lee’s Cunningham Motorsports  team-mate Dalton Sergeant had the fifth fastest speed (188.111 mph).

Theriault and the #52 team will return to Daytona for the ARCA Race February 18 at 4:15. The team led by veteran Crew Chief Donnie Richeson will prepare the car utilizing what they have learned at the two-day session.

Austin remarked that, “I’m proud of the effort the guys put in. They changed the motor over before the second part of day 1. We have a good foundation to work from when we come back in February.”

“Learning how these cars draft compared to the truck was my goal for the weekend. I feel confident that I have a really good grasp on that now. As experienced as everyone is on this deal I’m excited to start racing and hitting our stride.”

When asked about Wyatt Alexander’s first drive on the 2.5 mile high banked speedway, he replied’ “I’m sure this was big for Wyatt. Experiences like these will expand his perspective and make him an even better driver. ”

I was totally surprised when I was notified that WAR driver Wyatt Alexander was at Daytona also running an ARCA car. The Alexanders arranged to try the legendary speedway in the Mullins Motorsports #34 Ford based out in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Mullins team also races in the SCCA Road racing Series and the Mid-Atlantic Road racing series.

With no plans to actually race in the ARCA Series at this time, Alexander enjoyed his time behind the wheel. In his Daytona debut the Ellsworth native ran 180.448 mph good enough for 35th of 52 who ran on Saturday.

“The speed was absolutely impressive, hard to describe”, said Wyatt. “Getting around that racetrack at those speeds is an incredible experience.”
This was not the Ellsworth High School senior’s first trip to Daytona. Only 5 years ago he ran the WKA Kart Series which finished the season on the Daytona Flat track.
Only five years ago Wyatt Alexander was at Daytona racing his WKA kart on the Flat Track just behind turn two. Now he "graduated" to the big track. WAR photo

Only five years ago Wyatt Alexander was at Daytona racing his WKA kart on the Flat Track just behind turn two. Now he “graduated” to the big track. WAR photo

Northeast Motorsports Expo and ASPIRE Higher Was Present

ASPIRE Higher Motorsports crew was at Northeast Motorsports Expo. They missed a school dance so you know they are dedicated. Left to right Mr Kyle Morey (teacher), Mitch Green, Travis Glover, Cassidy McClendon, Ryan Coolidge, Trevor Ward, Destiny Eppinger, Emma Mackenzie, Zach Young, and Lucas Masselli Crazy Horse Racing photo

ASPIRE HIGHER RACING crew was at Northeast Motorsports Expo. They missed a school dance so you know they are dedicated. Left to right
Mr Kyle Morey (teacher),
Mitch Green,
Travis Glover,
Cassidy McClendon,
Ryan Coolidge,
Trevor Ward,
Destiny Eppinger,
Emma Mackenzie,
Zach Young, and
Lucas Masselli Crazy Horse Racing photo

A look at the new chassis under construction by the students in the ASPIRE Higher Racing Team project at Oxford Hills Middle and High School. Team members Crazy Horse Racing photo

A look at the new chassis under construction by the students in the ASPIRE Higher Racing Team project at Oxford Hills Middle and High School. Team members Destiny Eppinger and Emma Mackenzie were part of the team that explained the team’s goals and expectations for the 2017 season. Crazy Horse Racing photo

Some Like It Hot…Chili Bowl That Is

Kody Swanson at 31 Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl. Swanson did not qualify for the A Main feature. Rick Eisenbeis photo

Kody Swanson at 31 Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl. Swanson did not qualify for the A Main feature. Rick Eisenbeis photo

The 31st Annual Chili Bowl at Tulsa, Oklahoma was the place to be during the of season. A record number of entries (365) flooded the Tulsa Expo Center. Racing was speed out over five days to accommodate the large field of midget race cars.

The sentimental favorite had to be the #39BC driven by Justin Grant. The Clauson-Marshall race car was entered in memory of Bryan Clauson who won the event in 2016. Grant won the Friday night qualifier feature placing him on the pole for Saturday’s main event.

Grant did not win the Chili Bowl, however, he did lead the first 25 laps before being passed by race winner Christopher Bell. Bell became only the second Oklahoma driver to win the race. Bell was driving the #71w Toyota powered midget owned by Keith Kunz Motorsports. This was owner Kunz’s sixth win as an owner since his first in 1994 when the race was won by Andy Hillenburg.

Maine racing fans may remember Christopher Bell when he appeared at the 2015 Oxford 250.

Second place went to Daryn Pittman whose engine lasted 54 and 3/4 laps and coasted across the line.

Miscellaneous Finds and Snowmobile Drag Racing in Caribou

Ellsworth native Tom Patsis hands then Governor now Vice-President Elect  Mike Pence the Dallara trophy designed and built by Patsis for the Cold Hard Art photo

Ellsworth native Tom Patsis hands then Governor, now Vice-President Elect, Mike Pence the trophy designed and built by Patsis and commissioned by Dallara for the opening of Dallara USA in Indianapolis, Indiana Cold Hard Art photo

Alex Gurney, son of Dan Gurney is fitted to the pedals on the 1981 Pepsi Challenger Eagle. The race car will be part of the Eagle display at Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angelos, California.  Photo courtesy Gurney

Alex Gurney, son of Dan Gurney is fitted to the pedals on the 1981 Pepsi Challenger Eagle. The race car will be part of “The Eagles have Landed”  display at Peterson Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy  Dan Gurney and the All American Racers Fan Group

Caribou Snowmobile Drag racing Sunday January 22 at The Lodge on the Van Buren Road in Caribou.

Caribou Snowmobile Club drag racing Sunday January 22 at The Lodge on the Van Buren Road in Caribou.

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.