Spud Speedway schedule and STEM Motorsports in action locally

Episode 438

January 10, 2024

Spud Speedway Schedule for 2024

It was not that many years ago when working at Spud Speedway that conversations centered around selling, bulldozing it into a big fish pond, opening a mega-sized solar farm, and ideas which never touched on utilizing the only track in Maine north of Bangor for what it was designed for and more.

During the summer of 2023, when I looked at the mud and water which inundated the property and with deadlines looming, I must admit I had little hope that the track would open in time for events in 2023. We got a reprieve when a large storm shut down events in northern Maine forcing postponement of the DustBowl until later. Several bright sunny days followed which allowed tremendous strides in construction to occur.

The sacrifices in personal comfort and demands on meeting tight deadlines that crews from Williams Construction, 180 Sealcoating &Striping and Haney’s Home Farm & Garden made were the only way this track could open its doors for the Feed the County 150 and DustBowl. They are to be commended.

Spud Speedway’s New Year wishes tell it all about their 2024 event schedule. (Courtesy Spud Speedway & Events Center)

Stock  car specific schedule. It will be nice to hear about and see stock car racers get their race cars ready for the 2024 season. Get them cars built! Send me an email with photos or to schedule a viewing of your race car. My email is thale@reagan.com (Schedule courtesy Spud Speedway & Events Center)

STEM Motorsports in action

STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) has been around for some time now. It has been one of my retirement projects to develop, borrow, and implement STEM Motorsports lessons for middle to high school age students. One of these ideas came was developed by Caribou High School science educator Alan Dearborn, when he worked with vocational center students to gain science credits.

I call the exercise, “Crush Zone Crash Protection”. Students look back at the history of passengers in cars which crash and the development of NASCAR’s newest Gen II chassis with built in front and rear crash displacement zones.

Students view the history of cab design and laws such are the 5-mph bumpers. They are introduced to the crash cart and the basic test procedure shedding light onto the next step which is to sketch out their design for protecting an egg that is placed in the front of the crash cart and run into a wall.

Once the sketch has been made (brainstorming), the teams begin the building process. Each team is assigned an L-shaped block of wood which bolts to the front of the crash kart. It is upon this that they build their protective device.

The crash cart utilized by STEM Motorsports Crush Zone Crash Protection exercise by Tech Center students. The block on the left is given to each design team and bolts to the front of the crash kart. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Looking at the ramp which allows the crash cart to gain speed before crashing into a solid wall. You will notice the crash cart has yet to hit the wall. (HTF Motorsports photo)

This crush zone device failed to protect the precious cargo, the egg. Calculations of speed and velocity are performed and slow-motion filming of the crash are viewed. Ideas are batted around after to improve designs. (HTF Motorsports)

Chase Plourde left and Simon Disy on right, members of Mike McLaughlin’s afternoon Auto Technology class using their ideas to build a crush zone protector. (HTF Motorsports photo)


Seth Roy on left and Chloe Lento building their prototype for entry in the Crush Zone Challenge. Students were given two hot glue sticks, one sheet of copy paper, toothpicks, and white glue to build their entry. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Building their entry in the Crush Zone Challenge are Auto Tech morning students Mason Merchant left and Shawn Bragdon on right. Builders weighed their device before and after construction to force them into making the protection device as light as possible simulating processes in industry which cannot build ultra-heavy with unlimited materials. (HTF Motorsports)

Testing for the student-built devices will occur in January. Included in the test will be Agriculture students who will do the build later this month.

Racing safety on the mind of students

Auto Tech students at Caribou Tech Center learned how racers protect themselves in their race cars. Utilizing the Spud Speedway recently released rules, the section on safety was looked at in detail. The assumption is that some of these students may be racers or work on race teams which may be at the local track as stock car racing is back.

Discussion of the types of racer protection was detailed during the lead up to making a hands-on device to protect drivers. Topics included helmets, driver apparel, seat belts, fuel cells, and roll cage design. (HTF Motorsports photo)

When Spud Speedway released their new rules to bring back stock car racing to the County in 2024, safety was front and center. Driver suits and other apparel were specified in rules as well as requirements for four-point cage minimum in all classes including the Spud Lights class. Aluminum seats, neck collars with optional HANS devices recommended.

To develop a basic understanding of the safety rules, students learned that Snell spec helmets are rated by the Snell Foundation every 5 years. The latest rating is the 2020 listing which will be good until 2025 when the next rating will be released. How to fit your helmet to your size is essential for the helmet to do its work.

How many people know what SFI stands for and what is its significance in the racing world?  One major player in the motorsports safety world is the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association Foundation Inc. shortened to SFI. Their task is to provide standards for equipment used in racing of all types.

Items such as gloves, racing shoes and racing suits were discussed. For example driver’s suits have SFI 3,2A/ with a number that follows for example, SFI 3.2A/5. A rating of 3.2A/1 gives the wearer 3 seconds before experiencing second degree burns while a 3.2A/5 suit gives 10 seconds before second degree burns. Neither gives a great deal of time yet combined with fire resistant underwear, a slight increase in time to burn will result.

Utilizing a simple classroom chair, the mechanics of properly mounting lap belts, shoulder belts, and anti-submarine belts. Even the best equipment can be ineffective with improper mounting can injure drivers. Angles and height of mounting were demonstrated. The fitting of a HANS device and Necksgen neck restraint device were shown.  (HTF Motorsports photo)

Basic roll cage minus the two door bars on passenger side which is very close to Spud Speedway minimum requirement. Once the student design team looked at the roll cage, they began to build their own…out of toothpicks.(All Star Performance photo)

With the rules in front of them, Auto Tech afternoon students Dakota Day on left and Noah Anderson on right work on their model roll cage utilizing toothpicks and welder (hot glue gun). In background Simon Disy works on his design. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Updates on the way from Kody Swanson, Sting Ray Robb and others that UpNorth Motorsports will be following in 2024. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ON MY UPNORTH MOTORSPORTS EMAIL LIST, SEND ME AN EMAIL SO I MIGHT ADD YOU TO THE LIST! Publish a couple times per month.

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