Critical Path Management The Road to Feed the County

Episode 435

October 17, 2023

Critical Path

Multiple times during the buildup to the Feed the County 150 on September 23, 2023, I thought about a college course I took sometime around 1973 called “Critical Path Management (CPM)”. CPM is defined this way, ” The critical path method (CPM) is a project management technique that’s used by project managers to create an accurate project schedule. The CPM method, also known as critical path analysis (CPA)”.

The date for the race and the Dustbowl were set in stone and all the myriad tasks that go into the construction of the track and supporting event venues were laid out. The implementation of this plan was completed by the competent crew at Williams Construction & Trucking as well as the Haney’s Home Farm & Garden carpentry team, and 180 Sealcoating and Striping crew.

Rain delays threatened the finish of the project at every turn. Troy Haney said, “It only rained three times this summer. Once for 15 days, once for 28 days and once for the rest of the summer. So, it was challenging to complete the construction.”

At one point I stood on the flagstand during the driving rain and thought to myself, “No way!”. The mud was daunting and the weather forecast was not favorable. Yet the construction crews pressed on. It was a blessing in my opinion when the hurricane threatened the east coast and specifically northern New England forcing the Dustbowl to be rolled back from its original date September 14-17 to September 29-October 1.

The warm temperatures following the hurricane effect with relatively rain-free days allowed crews to finish tasks allowing for racing to take place.  The new My Laps electronic scoring loop was installed allowing PASS to score the race and post results real-time, a first for Spud Speedway.

A new Port A Tree Timing Systems Christmas tree starting and timing system was put in place and tested prior to raceday. I am sure racers appreciated the professional system used for the event.

More construction this fall

After the Dustbowl the building continues to this day. The pulling track pit area is sporting new access to the original existing pit area which will allow racers to enter the pits from that direction and exit from the traditional entrance. The new entrance will include fence repair, building pit area check-in, and clean-up of the general area near that spot.

What was non-usable piles of debris, rocks, and what I would describe as pucker brush is being converted to functional space which will enhance the experience of racers who chose Spud Speedway as the place where they want to race.

From a personal standpoint, it was exciting to be part of the construction process all summer. I spent more time at Spud Speedway than ever before as the groundskeeper. Part of the construction process is moving massive amounts of soil. I want you to understand that I am a turfgrass person.

My motto is that “turfgrass is grown by the inch and killed by the foot”. I learned that from professional groundskeeper Floyd Perry. A groundskeeper does all within their power to grow excellent turf. During construction I had to bite my tongue when bulldozers rolled up grass or buried it beneath gravel.

To myself I said, “remember this process will cease and I can then get down to the business of growing turfgrass”. My goal is to maximize the amount of surface of Spud Speedway covered with turfgrass as possible, Turfgrass helps to cool off the area and feels great underfoot as well as providing vibrant greens versus dirt dull colors or hot top’s darkness.

Photo highlights of mine from Feed the County 150

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity including trying to catch up on the projects I am responsible for as a groundskeeper specialist for RSU 39 (Caribou & Stockholm). Due to spending time at Spud Speedway combined with recovery from back surgery early this summer some jobs were neglected.

The dry weather after the Dustbowl has allowed me to get several projects completed or well on the way. Now to concentrate on Hale Tree Farms 500 plus Christmas trees that need shearing and pruning.

I mention this since I put publishing UpNorth Motorsports on the back burner since exhaustion is not conducive to good writing. Tonight, I am including some of my photo highlights of the Feed the County 150 races on September 23rd. After reviewing most of the photos taken by Jim Leighton, Black Dot Photography, I selected these as some of favorites.  We are blessed to have Jim provide excellent photo services to the track.

Photo highlights according to Tom Hale

Nobody likes to view picture after picture of a subject or event. The zone-out characteristics of one’s brain kick in and you or I tune out. Rather than bore you with a large number of shots I selected these which were special to me.

What sets the Feed the County apart from a typical race weekend is the concentrated effort of companies, groups, and individuals stepping up to raise funds for the 28 food pantries serviced by Catholic Charities in the County. Dixie Shaw on left the Program Director for Catholic Charities accepts $25,000 donation from title sponsors Day & Ross and McCain’s representatives. (Black Dot Photography)

A nice field of PASS Mods made the trip to the County for their 50-lap feature. This class traditionally supports the charity with funds raised by them and are the favorite class of many Spud Speedway fans. (Black Dot Photography)

Markus Lowe, Jackson, Maine takes the checkered flag at Spud Speedway as part of the Feed the County 150. Lowe is part of the newly formed Maine Outlaw Midget Series which made its racing debut at the Caribou track. The series also races at Speedway 95 in Hermon. (Black Dot Photography)

The Civil Air Patrol Honor Guard based out of Presque Isle, presented the Canadian and American flags prior to the start of the PASS Feed the County 150 Presented by Day & Ross and McCain’s.

Haney’s Home Farm & Garden pace truck leads the talent-filled Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models to the start of the Feed the County 150. Though not a 25-car field, those who showed represented some of the best drivers in New England. (Black Dot Photography)


In the waning laps of Feed the County 150 DJ Shaw in the #60 Mustang holds off the #51 of Joey Doiron and #54 of Johnny Clark. Doiron was the big story since he had the lead in the first 50 laps, lost the lead due to a flat right front tire. then after fitting a new tire during a yellow, passed the whole field including Johnny Clark who loaned him his back-up car. Doiron said if he had 5 more laps the finish would have been different. (Black Dot Photography)

Winner of the Feed the County 150, DJ Shaw from Center Conway, New Hampshire, shares Victory Circle with his daughter and a fresh bag of Scott Martin Farms potatoes. This was Shaw’s first victory in 2023 on the PASS Tour and his second at the Caribou track.(Black Dot Photograph)

After driving 150 laps in his super late model, Ben Ashline, Pittston, Maine, took the win in the 100 lap Maine Enduro Tour race to cap off the day of racing at Spud Speedway. (Black Dot Photography)

Next episode will include motorsports events at inaugural Dustbowl 2023. Many jobs were completed in the week prior to the Dustbowl. Work continues…

Let’s go racing

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)




Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine