April 16, 2017
“The Flying Frenchman” Inducted Into Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame
The 13th Annual Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction took place April 15, 2017 at the Augusta Civic Center. Six members who had a significant influence on motorsports in the state were inducted. In addition the Driver of the Year was chosen from a field of six representatives from race tracks throughout Maine.
Aroostook County native Erny “The Flying Frenchman” Levesque had a large contingent supporting his induction into the Hall of Fame. Levesque passed away only 23 days before the ceremony after a struggle with cancer that has been documented in previous episodes.
The only surviving member of Erny’s family of five brothers, Gerald Levesque from Templeton, Massachusetts, is 11 years younger (78) than his brother. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to do for my brother,” said Gerald.
When asked if his brother loved stock car racing and what helped make him a success, Levesque replied, ” Oh yes! Oh yes! He had good mechanics Ronald Soucy from Grand Isle and our brother, Yvon, also from Grand Isle.”
“It was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life,” said Chet Levesque after accepting the award on behalf of his father. “It was what my father lived for from the time he found out about his nomination to the Motorsports Hall of Fame”.
After Chet’s heartfelt speech accepting the award for his dad, many in the crowd of nearly 400 were moved to tears and gave a standing ovation in honor of this humble man from the St. John Valley.
Thanks to Chet Levesque for permission to use the acceptance speech of his father which was recorded a couple of months prior to the ceremony. Levesque mentioned that he “kind of tricked” his dad when he offered to help him write the speech and practice it.
What Erny did not know was this was plan B in case something did happen to him before the Augusta ceremony in April. Plan A always was to have him accept it in person. Those involved were thankful that the recording was made. It expressed Erny’s sincere pleasure being selected for this honor.
The family donated Erny’s racing helmet and other memorabilia to the Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum for their Spud Speedway section. For me it was a chance to get closure on a friendship developed over the last year with this racer from the St. John Valley. The folks from the Valley can be proud of their racer.
Part II of Dick Boisvert Profile Next Week
With the column space dedicated to the induction of Erny “The Flying Frenchman” Levesque, I decided to do part two of the interview with Dick Boisvert in next week’s episode. Both gentlemen deserve plenty of room to tell their racing stories. Stay tuned and we will find out why Boisvert raced a Ford and why did he chose the number 48.
Kody Swanson Sprint Car Racing with mixed results
My coverage of one of the most talented race car drivers in America today, Kody Swanson, continues with sprint car races from Bloomington Speedway, Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln Park Speedway, Putnamville, Indiana Saturday night.
Friday evening the USAC Sprint cars were part of the season opener at Bloomington Speedway. Swanson in the #2E Tony Epperson Racing sprint car fought gremlins all evening and failed to qualify for the feature.
The feature was won by Californian Chad Boespflug narrowly edging last year’s USAC Silver Crown Champion Chris Windom at the finish line. The next evening the two reversed roles at Tri-State Speedway, Haubstadt, Indiana with Windom continuing his winning ways in 2017 by finishing ahead of Boespflug in the feature.
Swanson raced Saturday night at the 1/4 mile dirt oval at Lincoln Park Speedway in Greencastle, Indiana. Swanson raced to victory in the Sprint 410 non-winged class.
Swanson’s next race will be the second Silver Crown race of the season, the USAC Silver Crown Copper Cup April 29 at 3 pm at Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Arizona. Qualifying at the one mile oval will be Friday afternoon. The Silver Crown Series will be sharing the track with the Verizon IndyCar Series. Maybe one of the owners or potential sponsors will take note of the talent in the Silver Crown Series drivers.
Family and Hope
Whether it is the photo of Trevor Swanson or the group of supporters of Erny Levesque, family is important. The family was invented by God from the beginning and was meant to be good.
This Easter weekend my prayer is that at some point you have looked inward to assess the most important relationship of all, with your Savior Jesus Christ. I heard the message of “fresh hope” in church this morning and wish that all of you were able to hear that same message as well. Fresh Hope.
Let’s Go Racing.
Soli Deo Gloria