February 26, 2018
Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) members met February 19th at Haney Building Specialties in Caribou. Several items of business were covered, however, the most important news was that no rule changes expected in 2018 and the racing schedule was released.
The NMKA Karting Series 2018 begins Saturday June 2 at noon. Pits on race day will open at 10 am. Grandstand seating is free for spectators.
The full NMKA schedule (all races will be Saturdays):
- June 2
- June 16
- June 30
- July 14
- July 28
- August 11
- August 25
- September 8
- September 22 Final points race
- October 6 Second Annual Maine Invitational Kart Races & Awards
NMKA classes include:
- Kids Karts for 5-7 years old
- Junior Cage Karts with WKA Briggs & Stratton Animal engine with 2 hole blue restrictor plate 8-12 years old
- Senior Cage Karts with WKA Briggs & Stratton Animal engines no restrictor plates 13 years old and up.
Races will be held at Spud Speedway’s dedicated 1/6 mile paved track located in the infield area of the Caribou track. The kart track shares the front stretch with the stock car track. Junior and Senior Cage Karts use NMKA spec Vega yellow tires with no preparation allowed.
2018 Racing Preview at Portland Exposition Building
Visiting grand-children in Westbrook proved to be doubly rewarding since Steve Perry’s Racing Preview 2018 was taking place in Portland the same weekend. My son-in-law and fellow gear-head, Marc Cole and I were able to take in the show.
To me it looked like the show was bigger than 2017 when I was able to attend for the first time. Area race tracks had race cars and schedules on hand to publicize their 2018 racing schedules. A variety of vendors of race parts were there to showcase their wares.
I wanted to make a connection with the Bartlett Bridge Raceway folks and was able to connect with promoter and founder of Dirt Track Maine, Eddie Pettengill. Eddie enthusiastically spoke about his track. They offer 7 classes of karts for ages 5 and up.
We spent several minutes talking about controlling costs for racers, how to get a dirt track ready for kart racing, officiating events, and looking forward to what the future can be at Bartlett Bridge Raceway and kart racing in Maine.
Eddie grew up on the dirt tracks in the south and looked for some type of dirt racing when he moved to Maine. He was looking for a place for ATV three-wheeler and four-wheeler racers when he began at Bartlett Bridge.
“Kart racers began showing up,” said Pettengill. “My emphasis changed when I saw those parents in search of a place to race on the dirt in southern Maine. We now get an average of 51 racers per race night, not counting special events.”
Speedway Illustrated Magazine at the Preview
Somewhere in my vast collection of racing magazines, I have the original Dick Berggren Speedway Illustrated issue when he teamed up with the publishers of Down East Magazine to produce the magazine. The current publisher, Karl Fredrickson, took over the magazine several years ago and has done a good job in an age when magazines are not supposed to be doing well.
He hires good people to produce articles about real people in places which may at times not be in the national spotlight. I have met him several times at the Motorsports Expo in Augusta.
It was at one of those Motorsports Expo events that Karl teamed up with Troy Haney, Bob Alexander, Spud Speedway racer Derek Finnemore and I to enter the pit-stop competition. We won the first round and lost round two, however, we had a great time.
Karl mentioned what he wrote about in his December 2017 editorial in Speedway Illustrated, entitled “God and Santa Claus”. The editorial was based on an experience when he and his daughter, Karin, 13 years ago were pulling the engine from his race car and the shop television was tuned to a baseball game.
When it came time for the national anthem to be played, “I told Karin that this is an important song”, said Fredrickson. “We stand up, we stand still, we don’t talk, we place our hand over our heart, and we think about the people-past, present, and future- that so believed in what makes America, the greatest nation in the history of mankind.”
“They make a commitment to preserve it by offering their lives to insure the quality of ours. The song is their voice to us, it represents their sacrifice made on our behalf.”
“After the song finished, I turned to Karin and said it might seem odd, the two of us standing here silently throughout the song”, continued Fredrickson. ” She said,’Well two people can see us: God and Santa Claus.'”
Racing is in good hands if we continue to have people like Karl Fredrickson and his family.
Austin’s Karts and Parts
Located in Lebanon, Maine, Charlie and Dianna Austin were displaying some of their myriad race kart parts offered at the relatively new shop located in western Maine. Austin works out of his father’s former truck shop. He does custom welding and fabrication and has sold over 100 race karts in the past two years to a variety of racers throughout New England.
One item of interest was a helmet headrest he fabricated for kart use. Austin emphasized the importance of not only protecting a youngster’s head and neck, but any racer. The device is made from only two pieces of tubing to the dimensions of the customer’s helmet. His left side horseshoe is slightly shorter than the right to improve visibility.
Final Dave Thomas 100 to be Saturday March 3, at Maine Indoor Karting
The 10th and final Dave Thomas 100 (DT 100) Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser will be held this weekend at Maine Indoor Karting, Scarborough, Maine. The event will conclude a string of successful races made on behalf of kids throughout the New England area. In the nine years that the event has been held, $235,000 has been raised for Make-A-Wish.
One hundred ten racers from the New England area including the Myers family from North Carolina will converge on Maine’s premier indoor kart facility March 3. Each driver will have raised at least the minimum to race.
Doors open at 8 am with a $10 admission fee which also goes to Make-A-Wish. Starting at 10:00 am will be four divisions’ heats and consolation. Racers will be grouped by weight to even the competition. Heat and consolation races will be 12 laps while the feature will be 25 laps.
The top ten fundraisers will get 10 laps of practice which no others get. I suspect Friday night at Maine Indoor Karting will be crowded with racers wanting to get track time before the big event Saturday.
Four lady racers, Ashley Glaude, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Katrina Labrecque, Barrington, New Hampshire, Melinda McCarthy, Haverhill, Massachusetts and Tiffany Payne, Fairlawn, New Jersey will compete.
Fresh off his win at the Pro All Stars series (PASS) season opener, the 13th Annual South Carolina Clash 200 Sunday, will be Hudson, New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith.
Aroostook County’s only entry will be Shawn Martin, formerly from Frenchville, now living in Auburn.
Get your tickets for the 2018 Motorsports Hall of Fame Dinner/Induction ceremonies
UPDATE on Northern Maine Antique Tractor Club Raffle Tract
Let’s Go Racing,
Soli Deo Gloria