Theriault Places Fifth and Maintains Point Battle Lead

Episode 159

Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault’s #52 Four Winds Motorhomes sponsored Ford after the Salem, Indiana race. Photo courtesy Austin Theriault

Theriault Finishes in Top Five at Salem Speedway & Maintains Points Lead

Austin Theriault expressed disappointment with a fifth place effort yet at the same time realized that a top five finish on a track new to him isn’t that bad. Theriault went into the pits in the later stage of the race under green. One thing you do not want to happen is for the caution flag to fly when you have just completed your stop under green.

Theriault was not the only top runner to get lapped. Third place Kyle Weatherman came in for tires at lap 130 and got caught by the caution flag after completing his green flag stop.

Race winner, Boca Rotan, Florida’s Dalton Sergeant lapped the entire field completing the full 200 laps. Sergeant became the first ARCA racer to lap the entire field since it was last accomplished at Michigan International Speedway in 2006 by David Stremme.

With his fifth place finish Theriault continues to hold the unofficial points lead which looks like this:

  1. Austin Theriault     655
  2. (Tie) Kyle Weatherman and Dalton Sergeant      640
  3. Shane Lee     600
  4.  Bret Holmes      560

Theriault and ARCA’s next race is next weekend at Talladega Super Speedway Friday May 5 at 6 pm. Fox Sports One will be carrying this race live from Talladega, Alabama.

County Racers Head South

Richmond Karting Speedway, in Richmond, Maine held races Sunday which were attended by some County races and a young racer with close County connections.

Colby Martin’s thumbs up indicate how excited the youngster from Auburn was to enter his first kart race. Martin raced at Richmond Karting Speedway. Martin Racing photo

There are very few things more exciting than watching a youngster enter their first official race. That was what happened when six-year old Colby Martin, son of stock car racing veteran Shawn Martin and his wife Michelle finished second and third in his first two races. He raced in the Junior Box Stock points and non-points division.

Colby’s dad, Shawn is a Frenchville native currently living in Auburn. Martin races at Oxford Plains Speedway in the Super Late Model class as well as in select Pro All Star Series (PASS) races. Followers of UpNorth Motorsports know that I have been following this former County man for many years.

Three generations of racers line up at Richmond Karting Speedway. Grandfather Marcel Bosse in front followed by grandson Damian Theriault and his father Jason Theriault in third. Team JRT photo

Caribou based Team JRT began their trek toward Richmond Karting Speedway at 4 am in order to make it to the track some 4 1/2 hours south. The first outing proved to be a success with Damian finishing first followed closely by his dad Jason.  Third place went to Marcel Bosse who battled mechanical issues. Team JRT competed in the Animal Unrestricted Class at the Richmond oval track.

New England Natives Take Wins On the National Stage

Middletown, Connecticut native Joey Logano overcame a 37th place start to get his 18th career win at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Richmond. This was his 300th start and with the win became only the sixth driver to accomplish that feat.

It was also a good weekend for his team owner Roger Penske, whose NASCAR team placed one and two at Richmond while his Indy Car team placed 1st through 4th at Phoenix International Speedway with Simon Pagenaud getting the win.

Speaking of Phoenix, that is where fellow New England racer Bobby Santos III from Franklin, Massachusetts took first place in the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown Copper Classic 100. Santos was fast right off the trailer nudging out two time Silver Crown champ Kody Swanson in qualifying and the race.

Santos traded the lead back and forth with David Byrne most of the race. With only a couple of laps to go Santos passed Byrne decisively as did Kody Swanson who had sat in third for most of the 200 laps.

Swanson was unable to catch Santos yet took over the points lead when Chris Windom was forced to use another competitor’s car after his Silver Crown sprint car took a solid hit to the wall in practice.

Kody, Trevor and Jordan Swanson relaxing after Kody placed second at the 100 lap USAC Silver Crown race at Phoenix International Raceway. Kasey Thiesen photo

Swanson said this about the race, “It was a good race, and a real battle for the top 3 spots the final 15 laps.”

“I really didn’t have anything for Bobby (Santos) or David (Byrnes)  through the middle of the race, so to compete for it at the end was almost a nice surprise.”

“I was third until 3 to go, [when I] found something late that really helped our car out, got around for 2nd and made up a lot of ground on the winner but it was too little, too late. I’m thankful to be driving for this team, and wish I could’ve figured it out a little sooner or had just a few more laps!”

USAC Silver Crown Series moves next to the one mile dirt track at the Indiana State Fairgrounds May 25th for the Hoosier 100. Swanson hopes to keep his skills sharp when he races sprint cars next weekend. He was unsure yet where and with which team.

Racing in the Indianapolis area heats up those last few days before the 101st Indy 500 on May 27. The USAC Silver Crown race is Thursday the 25 at the Fairgrounds. The 1/4 mile Anderson Speedway will host the Little 500 on Saturday evening before the Indy Race. In addition to last year’s winner Kody Swanson, Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader are entered. 33 sprint cars on that track makes for some interesting racing I am told.

High Students Signing Up For Classes Might Want to Look at Welding

This is the time of year that high school students make decisions about what to take the next academic school year. I strongly urge young people to consider welding. Even if never pursued as a career, if one is involved with motorsports or projects around the home, farm, or business this is a great skill to own.

I taught welding several of my 38 years as an agriculture instructor and have no recollection of any student saying the welding skills were a waste of time. Quite the opposite.

Caribou Tech Center Welding Instructor Keith Dumond, the one doing the welding and I at the welding shop at Caribou Tech Center. Photo courtesy Patrick Bennett

 

Is This How Spud Speedway Stock Car Racing Get Accomplished?

I may start a firestorm with these ideas, however, may be discussion about this issue may yield tangible results. Over the last couple years I have mulled over some ideas about bringing stock car racing in some form to the fifty-three year old race track in Caribou.

Let me be very clear from the beginning, I am not interested in getting involved in any such venture and I suspect track owner Troy Haney hasn’t the time to start such an organization. We both have full plates which eat up free-time.

Strong positive leadership would be necessary as well as a “think out of the box” mentality. The traditional model for Spud Speedway has not worked in recent times and in my opinion will not work at the present time. The group would need to do their homework and think of ways that racing at the Caribou track could occur.

One major suggestion I have is to eliminate the following:

  1. Spectators and front gate concessions
  2. Prize money
  3. Multiple classes (no more than two, maybe three)
  4. Weekly show

Reasoning for each of these eliminations? The spectator side of organizing and preparation necessitates a myriad of time eating list of things which must be done. No concessions means no need for state licensing and inspection. Bring your own grill or hire a local concessionaire.

Loring Timing Association events as well as the Cumberland Motor Club at their Loring events farm concessions out. Neither organization is overly concerned about spectators although spectators are welcomed.

Whenever there is prize money, no matter how small the amount, it seems like two things happen. One,competitors spend way more money than they might win and two, tempers seem to flare much more rapidly. Race for cheap plastic trophies if you must but that is all.

When you create multiple classes in stock car racing so that Joe Schmoe can race his one-off Daytona Coupe, you quickly dilute the close action that makes stock car racing thrilling. Loring Timing Association Speed Trials have many classes as does the Cumberland Motor Club Autocross. These speed events feature one car at a time runs which do not bang fenders with one an other.

I would suggest a class like the Atlantic Modified Series in Canada with tightly controlled IMCA type spec chassis (manufacture these chassis in the County), engines, tires, etc. The cost to get in would be a little higher than a Street Stock car yet would no require a highly technical inspection nor a super smart crew to make them work.

The second class could be a street stock class with tight rules in effect. Again the lack of a purse would help reduce the temptation to spend mega bucks on the car. I would also mention that all racers be required to have great safety equipment including Hans Devices, SFI seat belts and gloves, SFI 3.2/1 with underwear or SFI 3.2/5 fire-suits, good roll cages, and seats which will not kill the driver in a crash.

Instead of the weekly show, I would suggest an eight race schedule with day races only. I love night-time stock car races, however, one thing I learned from Troy Haney is that when those lights go on the costs sky-rocket. Not only must you pay for electricity but one must maintain the whole electrical system.

If you have followed races at Spud Speedway you may have noticed that lighting can be an issue, thus why race at night. I suggest a Saturday afternoon schedule which allows a Sunday afternoon rain date. Remember you must keep the cost affordable to your racers.

Speaking of racers, I suggest a club type format similar to Cumberland Motor Club, Sports Car Club of America, or Rally America. Elect an officer team, come up with some realistic club rules via a constitution, and get some worker bees.

Insurance will be an issue since no track will rent without a good policy in place. A good legitimate policy will not be cheap, however, a northern Maine or Western New Brunswick stock car racing team will spend a fair chunk of change hauling down Interstate 95 or the Trans Canada making a local club look better all the time.

Volunteers will be a big part of the club racing scene. Paid officials can be a non affordable luxury or could drive up the competition costs.

Tires are budget eaters and need to be closely scrutinized when working on club rules. I have always said if there are 10 stock cars on hard tires the racing will be equal. If necessary confiscate tires as the cars come off the track.

I would suggest treaded tires and races in the rain. Make sure the club has a good wrecker. Rain often is a great equalizer since sticky rubber may not be as helpful and if you add hard compounds it could get exciting.

Finally, this club would need strong leadership that is enthusiastic and willing to listen to ideas yet say no to some ideas which could easily derail the club train. Feel free to email me at thale@reagan.com with your comments. I may print some of your comments in a future episode so do not send something to me that you would not like to see in print.

 

Remember the Keith Northrup Trophy Rat? 

In a recent episode I featured several photos of the Keith Northrup’s 1937 International Trophy Rat truck simply because I thought it is cool. Photo ace Michael Sol Sproehnie/Benson has put together this great eleven minute video of the truck in action. I want, I want, I want:

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F214311527&h=ATMKfIkBYIA0z5rFyuXPGapKuco3QIj5MB3Cj3r1u2zfW79Ag0GTBXDHAkLVF8Z5VWHybljQ1hEOdv-sMCr-xiOYJW_h77t8Enl-HnuZDMIeTKqV1feCDaPAwRIfqDK5ZICQQg

Crazy Briggs and Stratton Engine(s)

I know some of you are small engine fans or may marvel at ingenious engine projects. This one, the Franken Briggs Six cylinder may be worth your time to view. The engine runs at or about the 1:15 minute mark.

https://youtu.be/6m95rv5MS5A

Don’t Forget the Loring Timing Association Spring Event May 5-7

Loring Timing Association kicks off the 2017 season next Friday through Sunday at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. With the East Coast Timing Association dormant, Race Director Tim Kelly last week said we could see many ECTA members making the trek to the County.

I hope to make it to the track on Sunday afternoon. I will be away to a Michael W. Smith/ Jordan Feliz concert Friday and Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference Saturday in the Portland area.

Getting busy on the racing scene!

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.