February 26, 2017
150 Episodes Already!
I find it difficult to believe this is Episode #150. I want to thank all the folks who read, subscribe, and share the weekly UpNorth Motorsports stories. I am humbled to think that you would join with me on this journey about motorsports people, places, and things. You are what drive me to look for stories in places which are oftentimes unconventional or may never be covered in print media.
This week I suspect you would look for coverage of the Daytona 500. I will acknowledge that Kurt Busch won his first 500 and the first in a Ford for Stewart Haas Racing. He certainly deserved the win. Need I mention that none of my picks finished out of the top 15.
I heard it mentioned several times in multiple interviews that Atlanta next weekend will be the true test of where the teams stand in regards to competitiveness and preparation for the 2017 championship. We shall see.
Steve Perry’s Mainely Motorsports’ 2017 Racing Preview
As I left my son’s apartment early Saturday morning in Portland, my wife and I drove by the Portland Exposition Center where I noticed the sign below.
I had never been to the Racing Preview so when I arrived at my daughter’s home in Westbrook I mentioned the show was in town. My son-in-law, Marc Cole, did not need much convincing to head on over to see the show. The rest of the family went to a bouncy house in Saco with the grandkids.
While moving from exhibit to exhibit at the Expo, Marc and I met several folks involved in motorsports at different levels and different places. At the Star Speedway display we were looking at a new street stock which was very well-built.
I think the car may have won a trophy for best of show, although I am unsure since I did not ask the owner.The car belongs to Tom Thibeault of Warner, New Hampshire who is beginning his second year of racing at the New Hampshire 1/4 mile oval.
During the conversation it was discovered that Thibeault’s friend, Mike Duquette, is a racer and is building a 1983 Rabbit GTI for racing at Star Speedway this season.
I mentioned that I have four 1983 Rabbit GTIs for sale. When he asked where I was located, I said near Caribou, Maine.
Duquette said he was familiar with that area because most of his summers while growing up were spent at his grandfather’s home in Perth Andover, New Brunswick. He mentioned that his grandfather used to race at Spud Speedway in the top division in the 1970’s and 80’s.
When I asked what his grandfather’s name was, he said, “Emmett Connell”. I was so surprised because I used to race against his grandfather when I raced in 1975-1978 at Spud Speedway.
I said I had to share one of my memories of his grandfather. I was in my best stock car, the #10 Ford built by Bobby Alexander, in the top class at the Caribou track. I remember getting ready to pass Connell’s #7X Chevy in turn 2 when all of sudden the right rear axle on his race car came out of the rear end housing wheel and all.
It seemed like the whole thing was in slow motion as I turned right to miss the errant axle. To me it appeared like the axle was chasing me up the banking in turn 2. I moved up and up and up until the axle came out of the car and wobbled around on the track.
I lost sight of the axle since by now, I had shot off the asphalt coming out of the second turn and when my wheels hit the grass I was along for the ride. Fortunately I hit the dirt bank with my right front relatively easy but still bent a tie rod putting me out of the race.
I cannot remember what happened to the #7X Connell car but do remember the team coming back the rest of the season, leading me to believe they too had not suffered extreme damages.
It was very neat to meet Emmett’s grandson and to take a brief trip back on Memory Lane and be able to share that memory with him.
Snowmobile Racing Events Featured Next Weekend in the County
Snowmobile enthusiast’s will have a couple of chances to watch racing next weekend in Patten and at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds in Presque Isle. I am listing both their promotional posters in case you were not aware of the events. If my health allows me to walk around, maybe I will get a chance to attend one of the events.
Northern Maine Antique Tractor Club Update on Raffle Tractor
Roger Penske’s 80th Birthday Present
Thought to be scrapped, the iconic 1972 International Fleetstar dubbed “The Blue Hilton” was discovered in an automotive trade publication by long-time Penske employee Jerry Breon in 2015. The truck was used from 1972-1983 by the team. Photo courtesy Penske Racing
Speaking of McLaren…
A must see movie about Bruce McLaren will be released in June 2017. I hope it will be in a theater near you or me. The film is dedicated to Bruce’s widow Patty McLaren-Brickett who recently passed away after a battle with cancer. McLaren was killed while testing his M8D Can Am car at Goodwood, England in1970.
The film is directed by Roger Donaldson who some will remember directed “The World’s Fastest Indian”.
The movie is co-produced by Barrie M. Osborne, producer of “Lord of the Rings:The Motion Picture Trilogy”, “The Matrix”, and “The Big Chill”. Working with his fellow producer is motorsports enthusiast Michael Garlick, who has produced over 350 television broadcasts.
One of McLaren’s quotes seems quite ironic since his life was cut short by the 1970 crash, “I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone”.
Dwayne Cameron plays McLaren in the movie. The trailer was recently released by Universal Studios and can be seen by clicking below.
What’s In The Briefcase Waiting to be Read?
Let’s Go Racing
Soli Deo Gloria