August 6, 2017
“Rookie” Get’s A Ride in A Fast Porsche and Other Cars
One of the reasons I like motorsports is the new folks who get into the sport in a variety of ways. One example is #Aroostook Imports member Jenny Crawford. She was walking back to her car when I arrived at the autocross at Loring on Sunday.
I asked her if she was leaving. She replied”I was at Matt Beaulieu’s car and no one was there and I do not know anyone else.”
I asked her if she was interested in ride-alongs? A ride along is where another person rides in the passenger seat during a run through the autocross course at speed. She said sure but she felt odd walking up to a car asking a stranger for a ride, which is totally understandable.
We went to the registration desk, got her signed in and selected the right size helmet. Just as she was selecting her helmet, “Scruffy” the course designer and holder of the fastest time for both Saturday and Sunday, pulled to the starting line with his extremely fast Porsche.
He asked if she was looking for a ride-along to which she replied “sure”. What she did not know was the first ride-along she ever had in her life was in the fastest car at Loring.
At the end of her ride-along with “Scruffy” and his Porsche, Crawford said, “It was so much fun. Going fast and getting to hear the tires squeal. I thought I was a fast driver but apparently I have nothing on this guy (Scruffy). It was like a dream come true.”
In addition to her ride-along with “Scruffy”, Crawford rode in the Miata driven by Austin, an Infinity G35 driven by Ben Spatafora, and Anthony Abbott’s Mustang 2014 GT. With such a wide variety of ride-alongs, what were her thoughts about the non-Porsche rides?
“I think they were smoother rides,” she said. “There was less jerking around. Ben spun which was fun for me but he wasn’t very happy about it.”
Will she be back as a driver in 2018? “Give me some time to work on it,” she smiled. “Maybe”. She is the owner of a 2013 Hyundai Veloster turbo.
Over 100 Entries Make the 2017 “Mega” Autocross at Loring a Success
Cumberland Motor Club Autocross Chairman Chris Moberg of Sebago, stated that each of the two days at the Loring track featured over 100 entries. Though not a record number of entries, he was satisfied that the event ran as well as it did. The weather was a non-issue and competitors seemed to get a number of runs each day that satisfied them.
The County’s newest car club, #Aroostook Imports, has many area sports car drivers working together to promote camaraderie among fellow car enthusiasts be it import or domestic.
Member Jenny Crawford when asked about the group replied, “It is a relatively small group now. We have Subaru, Velosters, and invite others to be part of the group even if they do not drive an import. We meet up once-in-awhile, bring our kids, go out for ice cream and just have a good time together.”
Thought Beaulieu mentioned five other #Aroostook Imports members who actually competed at this year’s autocross, he put that into perspective when he mentioned that he was the only one last year. He was pleased and expects a larger contingent at the 2018 autocross at Loring.
Hey I Know You!
When I saw Ben Spatafora at the CMC Autocross at Loring this past weekend, I thought he looked familiar. I asked him his name and where he graduated from. When he said he was an engineering grad from U Maine Orono I asked if he had been a part of the UMO Formula SAE team.’
He replied that he was a member of the team that build the second Formula SAE car under the direction of Travis Elliot. You may recall that Travis works for Roush Industries in Michigan and has been features in past episodes of UpNorth Motorsports.
Spataforma was impressed that I remembered him (just a hunch on my part). I told him that my students at Caribou Tech Center were involved in producing some of the parts for both of UMO’s Formula SAE cars.
The love for motorsports has not faded from Spataforma. He currently drives his 2005 Subaru STI as one of Charlie Baxley’s sponsored drivers. He not only competes in local autocross events, he has also run at SCCA Regional and National races as well. He is employed as a Field Commissioning Engineer at Baselineus in the HVAC business.
Husband and Wife Team Up With a Bit Of a Rivalry
Bonny Eagle High School sweethearts Peter and Heidi Favreau have been married for over 10 years and share a love for autocross. The friendly rivalry between husband and wife for the quicker time is only semi-serious.
Heidi smiled saying, “I don’t usually beat him, so when I do it’s a big deal. Other than that it is just for fun.”
Peter had friends in high school who were involved in autocross. Later while at Southern Maine Community College, Peter had some of his friends also competing at area autocross events. “One day in Old Orchard Beach I tried it in another Subaru I had”, said Favreau. “I thought it was a hoot.”
“A broken ankle (not from the race), marriage, and purchase of a new house meant about a year hiatus from the sport.”
With encouragement from her husband, Heidi said, “He got me into autocross. He kept saying I should do it. I was a little nervous, I didn’t want people to watch me.”
After meeting Heidi in high school, the fact that her Dad was a big rig mechanic helped him learn some of the basics of automotive mechanics. Favreau mentioned that several of the folks at Loring have shops nearby where they can change tires, set alignment, as well as other tasks to make the Subaru perform.
When asked to describe the “perfect” run, Peter said, “It’s a good launch, not always easy to do especially with all wheel drive. I say to myself before I go,’I need to be fast and smooth and close to the cones’. You have got to brake late and get right on those apexes and be on the throttle.:
“Having the car slide just enough but not too much. You can feel it when you are on the edge. When you are done, your hands are shaking and you are like ‘Yup, that was fast'”!
Heidi described the ‘perfect” run, :Very similar, the launch is key. It gets the rpms up. It’s a little tough because sometimes it will bog and it is hard to get it going again.”
“Hitting the right gear, I screwed up my last run because I went to downshift up the hill and went to hit second and caught fourth instead, so it bogged. I’m not real great at that.”
“I am trying not to brake as much, rather lift and not lose as much power. Hitting the right lines, not hitting any cones, and having that shaking adrenaline rush at the end.”
Peter is self-employed and works out of their home in Limington. Heidi is an assistant at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital in Scarborough. At home they have a garden, four cats and three dogs. They love rally race spectating having attended the last three New England Forest Rally events in Bethel.
Lots of stories, friendly conversations about cars, and examples of precision driving make this event one that you will not want to miss next year at Loring. Stay informed about Cumberland Motor Club by following them on their Facebook page.
Austin Finishes Third On the Nation’s Fastest Half Mile Track
The ARCA Series rolled into Winchester, Indiana this weekend. Before them was the venerable old high-banked Winchester Speedway.
Winchester is known for its high speeds as well as the need to pay extreme close attention to the track’s nuances. Some veteran sprint car drivers from the past have admitted the track scared them with its treachery. A few of these old timers even exited the speedway up and over the banks.
With that in mind the first seven qualifiers beat Kenny Schrader’s pole speed in the 2014 edition of the race. Several breaks fell Theriault’s way during the race as he finished in third position. With Theriault’s closest rival in the points, Dalton Sargeant hitting the wall and finishing 16th, he built his lead back up to 175 points.
The race was won by Kyle Benjamin, second place went to Christian Eckes, Theriault in third, Travis Braden fourth, and Gus Dean rounding out the top five.
The ARCA Series is off until August 20 when they visit the one mile clay Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois for the Herr’s Potato Chips 100. The Ken Schrader team is preparing the Elko Speedway winning pavement car to run on the dirt. Theriault said he would be looking to team owner Schrader for advice and tactics on dirt.
The dirt track race is followed by a trip to Road America in Wisconsin. The four plus mile road course will see the debut of the road course car currently under construction at the Schrader shop in Mooresville, North Carolina.
With another dirt race, DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, following the Road America race, Theriault will be tested in use of his driving skills in diverse circumstances. Theriault seemed confident that with his team behind him with their skill and experience he should be okay.
Thunder Road Report Next Week
I visited Thunder Road last Thursday while in Vermont. They were racing their regular Thursday Night Race Series. Due to the time and wanting to do justice to this iconic track, I will delay my report until the next episode. Got some good stories from my night at the Barre, Vermont track.
Let’s Go Racing,
Soli Deo Gloria