August 19, 2018
Monsters are coming to Spud Speedway
The infield at Spud Speedway, which has been manicured all season, will be undergoing massive changes over the next two weeks. Two monster truck car-crunching wheelie-producing courses will be built in full view of the spectators. In addition, a motorcycle freestyle ramp will be constructed. I heard from a reliable source that jumps of 80 feet will be the norm that evening.
A tuff truck course will double up as a motocross/ATV track. The motorcycles will use knock out style racing to get to the finals while the Tuff Trucks will be timed. The quickest trucks will make the feature.
Before the tuff trucks, monster trucks, and motorcycles take over the race track infield, the enduro cars will race. The enduro rules are the same as those in place for the Firecracker 200 in July. All rules and entry forms may be found on Spud Speedway’s Facebook page.
The night will conclude with a demo-derby on the front stretch, the only such event held on pavement in northern Maine. It appears that the $10 tickets have been sold out. Tickets are still on sale online.
The 45th Oxford 250 next weekend
The largest short track event in Maine and one of the premier events in the country, the Oxford 250 is August 26 at the Oxford Plains Speedway. At publication time, the entry list has 60 drivers signed up to try to get their name on the winner’s list for this prestigious race.
The field includes most of the PASS regulars who raced in the Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway in July. That race gave fans a chance to see some of the favorites to win the 250.
In addition to the 250 on Sunday there will be racing on Friday and Saturday evenings. The order of events may be found at http://www.oxfordplains.com
My motorsports research specialist, Gary Saucier of Fort Fairfield is very thorough in his analysis of races. I do not guarantee that all his research will pay-off predicting the winner of the 250. He does have some interesting thoughts.
Saucier and fellow race fan Derek Jepson will be spending two days at Oxford and giving me updates since I have yet a ride to the race.
Saucier said, “I think if we see a first-time winner it will be Cassius Clark. He’s impressed me every time I’ve gone down there but particularly last year, but as with many dominant cars pit strategy got him. I think they’ll have learned from that and can pick up the win this year.”
My predictions for potential winner of the Oxford 250 is two-time winner Travis Benjamin. If Benjamin can keep the nose of the number seven clean with decent pit strategy, he will not only be near the front, he could be a three-time winner.
Benjamin has been outside the top 10 only twice this season. He has one win, Star Speedway, and two seconds at Oxford. He currently sits in second in points behind New Hampshire’s DJ Shaw. The margin is only 39 points.
Those are the keys, the two seconds at Oxford. Both were 150 lap races, thus my conclusion that if Benjamin plays pit strategy well and does not get race damage, he will be strong.
Since Gary got to choose a first time winner, I will pick Westbrook’s Reed Lanpher. Lanpher has one win in seven races and has not finished out of the top five all year. He has been close in previous 250’s and with similar circumstances to Benjamin will be in Victory Circle.
My dark horse winner is Hudson, New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith winner of the Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway in July. He can certainly drive and with some well placed tire selections may win the 250.
My sentimental choices are going to have to be County men or County connected. Shawn Martin formerly from Frenchville, now living in Auburn is a veteran at the 250 with much success. He has cut back his race schedule this season which though good for the family, does not lend itself to winning a tough race at Oxford.
Austin Theriault’s last 250 ended with a crumpled rear deck and a DNF. This will be only his third race this season. The skill he possesses as a driver will be apparent, however, without a solid team with several races under their belt it would be tough!
The Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) team is starting to gel and look for good results. I predict a top ten for this team provided Wyatt can keep the car away from errant drivers. With such a large crowd and limited spots in the 250 that is not an easy task.
DNF (Did Not Finish)
Race fans will recognize those three letters knowing that a story follows. Sometimes it is a tale of woe caused by external forces which were not the fault of the racer or team. Often the DNF is directly related to a dumb move by the driver or crew in preparation of the race car. Neglect of the pre-race checklist or not prepping the car between races may lead to DNF.
Sometimes metal fatigue or parts failure can lead to a DNF. After four years (maybe more, I am unsure) I suffered a DNF at the last Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) race. On the first or second lap of a heat race, the left rear seat strut broke which caused my seat to lean heavily to the left held by the remaining three brackets.
I finished the heat race and drove into the pit area. I said to my crew that something let go and I was not quite sure what until after releasing the racing harnesses and getting out, I could see that the seat brace had broken at the brake caliper mounting point. The flattened tube had fatigued on the non-visible back side which over a period of time cracked and failed.
I was disappointed with the result since I had my largest pit crew on hand all season. My brother Bill was up from Florida. He brought along my other brother Bob. They worked in conjunction with my regular crew chief, Dick McNeal.
It seemed like things were going well with car set up and lap times were being recorded and post practice data collected. That type of information is tough to gather with only one person.
I was enjoying this new-found crew and was optimistic with the set up we made in the kart. Even though my lap times were nearly a second slower than points leader, Damian Theriault, the kart seemed destined to finish strong.
What is Geoffrey Eason up to now?
The Eason family was home recently visiting family in Woodland. I had the opportunity to talk with both Amanda and her husband Geoffrey at her parents home. Amanda is a decorated Purple Heart Marine and Geoffrey is a car restoration specialist, both featured in two previous episodes.
It was there that I learned that Geoffrey was organizing the second annual car show at their church in Stafford, Virginia. What intrigued me was the trophies that were made by Eason utilizing automotive based materials. Reminds me to a certain degree of a small-scale Tom Patsis of Cold Hard Art in Brownsburg, Indiana.
These are a few of the unique trophies in photos taken by Victory Baptist Church. The show was used to help fund the youth at the church. Nearly $700 was raised as a result of the show.
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria