July 31, 2016
Hale Brothers on Gearhead Tour
The first annual Hale Brothers Gearhead Tour began Thursday evening at one of my sponsors venue, Maine Indoor Karting, Scarborough. It was an off week for racing at Spud Speedway so we met up with Team JRT who were on their way to race at Bartlett Bridge and Richmond Karting Speedway.
All year I have been getting beat by Team JRT with my typical finishing position being third place. I currently stand in third behind points leader Damian Theriault and his father Jason Theriault. Damian has not lost a race at Spud Speedway all season.
I got a great boost in confidence at the indoor facility which is set up as a road course, my specialty. My brother Bob won one race, Jason Theriault won two races, and I won two races. We all had great time in equally prepared race karts..
Damian and Team JRT went on to race at Bartlett Bridge Raceway in Lyman on Friday evening where he started dead last (11th) and worked his way up to a fourth place finish.
Sunday Team JRT was back at the Richmond Karting Speedway where Damian placed third followed by Gramp Marcel in fourth.
After leaving MIK on Thursday evening we flopped ourselves down in bed at my daughter’s house and gathered some much needed sleep.
Owl’s Head Transportation Museum Research Expedition
Owl’s Head Transportation Museum was our Friday morning destination. We went there to continue researching the history of Bill Milliken of Old Town. We hope to nominate him for the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame and are gathering facts to support our case.
What does an airplane have to do with motorsports? The answer to that question become more clear as my brother and I were shown the archived material at the museum by the director Ethan Yankura.
Ethan was a fountain of knowledge as he talked about Milliken’s trip to Owls Head and the donation of the Milliken M-1. Along with his anecdotal stories he produced many articles about Milliken’s early days in race cars and flight.
Milliken’s interest moved from race cars to planes then back to race cars as future episodes will explain. It was fascinating to read about this Old Town native, who barely made it into the University of Maine at Orono, later becoming one of the foremost experts in race car dynamics. Stay tuned.
WAR at Boss Hogg Race
The final stop on our Hale Brothers 2016 Gearhead Tour was the race shop of Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) in Ellsworth. We watched as crew chief Bobby Alexander measured the chassis settings, driver Wyatt blew out some of the accumulation of rubber and debris, and team owner Brett worked on the final set up for the race the next day at Wiscasset.
My brother and I gathered insight into the “bump-stop” race set up as Bobby Alexander explained the workings of those bump stops on the coil-over shocks. Seemed like a lot of details to know and retain.
The team was unable to defend their title the next night after a string of misfortunes beset the team. Team owner and Wyatt’s Dad, Brett explains their race, “Well…some days at the track just don’t go in your favor and although it seems as though the #96 team just can’t catch a break, giving up is not an option.Today it was a broken transmission, replaced, and back on the track. We had no practice time left.”
“An incident after the checkered flag in the heat caused more damage….more quick thinking and repairs. Wyatt started 14th in the feature and had made his way just outside the top 10 when he had a tire going down. The lack of a caution caused him to pit under green and that was all she wrote.”
“Everyone gave it all they had today. We could not have done it without the help of everyone that pitched in today.”
“To all of the fans who stuck by Wyatt today, thank you. You all bring a positive vibe to a rough night.”
“We can’t thank Wyatt’s sponsors enough. It has been a difficult season and your support is critical in this crazy sport.”
“Congratulations to Andy Saunders on the win! Very proud to say the Ellsworth SLM (Super Late Model) drivers are bringing home back-to-back Boss Hogg 100 wins!”
“It was a rough day/night but Wyatt and the team will hold their heads high, take the high road and move on. No excuses needed. No one to blame. Some could take a lesson in that. Next stop the Oxford 250 for another shot at making the big show and then back to Wiscasset Labor Day weekend for the Granite State Pro Stock Series race.
The HRE #1 Yazaki Toyota driven by Austin Theriault being prepared for K & N Pro series race at Iowa Speedway. Austin Theriault Racing photo
Theriault Third at Iowa
Austin Theriault moved up two positions to third in the NASCAR K & N Pro Series East standings with his solid third place finish at Iowa Speedway Friday. He finds himself only 24 points behind second place Kyle Benjamin and 56 points behind leader Justin Haley.
Todd Gilliland, son of David Gilliland, won the Casey’s General Store 150 in dominant fashion. The good news for Theriault was he moved up to his second best finish this season despite dropping as low as seventh during the race.
Brad Keselowski utilized Theriault to set up his Xfinity Series car at Iowa since Keselowski was back east at Pocono Raceway. This gave Theriault important seat time in a top-notch Xfinity car
The NASCAR K & N Pro Series East heads to Watkins Glen road course for their next race Friday August 5th. It will be interesting to see if Theriault’s road course debut at Virginia International Raceway April 30 where he finished third was skill or just simply good fortune. I tend to lean toward the skill side.
Erny “The Flying Frenchman” Levesque Ailing
I received word this week from Erny Levesque that he was very sick and may not live long according to the doctors. My brothers and I decided to visit Erny at the Borderview Nursing Home in Van Buren today.
We were greeted by Erny who seemed to be in good spirits despite the diagnosis he was given by the medical staff. He told us a few racing stories as well as about the incident earlier in June when he lost control of his lawnmower/tractor and crashed into a clump of trees bopping his head on a rock.
He was flown to Bangor where they stapled up the gashes and stabilized the 80 plus year old racing legend from “The Valley”. After returning to Cary Medical Center he was transferred to Borderview where he is rehabbing.
“I think they are all wrong about how soon I am going to die,” said the tough Frenchman. “I want to live at least long enough to see if I make it into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame”.
We prayed with Erny before leaving and with a smile on his face he said, “Make sure you come back again to visit me”.
So when you say your prayers would you please remember Erny “The Flying Frenchman” Levesque.
What’s Going On In the HTF Motorsports Garage This Week?
Let’s Go Racing!
Soli Deo Gloria