Another Motorsports Legend Dies, Bangor Man to Race at Mt. Washington Hillclimb, Penske Connection, and Spud Speedway Updates

Episode 8

June 1, 2014

It seems like every week lately I am reporting to you about a legend in motorsports passing away. This week it was the founder of Speedway Motors, Bill “Speedy” Smith 84 of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Smith’s company is known as the supplier of top quality parts, personalized service, and advice from experts. Smith started his business in 1952 in a 20 X 20 foot storefront with a $300 loan from his wife Joyce.

At the time of his death last week, the headquarters had grown to 520,000 square feet on 46 acres near downtown Lincoln. Smith got his name from his reputation for speedy delivery service. Racers are accustomed to receiving the Speedway Motors catalog in the mail on a regular basis. Speedway Motors is one of the most popular mail order sources of street rod and racing parts in Maine.

Smith was predeceased by his wife Joyce last year.

Co-driver Dave Getchell from Camden on left and Bangor's John Cassidy to compete in the 2014 Climb to the Clouds at Mt. Washington June 27-29, 2014. The race is part of Rally America's 2014 Championship Series

Co-driver Dave Getchell from Camden on left and Bangor’s John Cassidy to compete in the 2014 Climb to the Clouds at Mt. Washington June 27-29, 2014. The race is part of Rally America’s 2014 Championship Series

Bangor's John Cassidy third from left in back row is surrounded by his crew at last year's Maine Forest Rally in Newry, Maine

Bangor’s John Cassidy third from left in back row is surrounded by his crew at last year’s Maine Forest Rally in Newry, Maine

Bangor’s Cassidy to Compete

John Cassidy of Bangor is a man obsessed with excellence in his profession as a Physician’s Assistant at Eastern Maine Medical Center and with his hobby as a rally car driver in the top class the Open class of the Rally America Series. Later this month Cassidy and co-driver Dave Getchell will pit their skills against one of the toughest racing venues on the planet, the roadway up Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

The 2014 Climb to the Clouds will take place June 27-29, 2014 utilizing the famous road to the top of the 6000 foot plus mountain. The event will be open to spectators with racing actually happening on Sunday beginning at 9 am. For detailed information about the actual event visit the website climbtothe

I am excited to cover the event, having done so each time it was held throughout the 90’s to date for the Bangor Daily News Sports department. This year’s entry list includes record holders like Tim O’Neil who set the course record in 1990. His record was beaten by Mississauga, Ontario’s Frank Sprongl in 1992 with a new record by Sprongl in 1998.

Current record holder Davis Higgins from the Isle of Man will be on hand to defend his record. His team mate at Vermont Sports Cars, Travis Pastrana the X Games sensation and 4 time Rally America Champion from Davidsonville, Maryland will be a serious threat to break the record set by Higgins just a couple years ago.

I will be bringing you updates from the John Cassidy Last Ditch Motorsports Team as they prepare for the Climb to the Clouds event working on their 2003 Subaru Imprezza WRX at their Bangor-based shop. I plan to have behind-the-scenes photos and inside information on the team to share with you over the next few weeks.

The Last Ditch Racing team consists of Cassidy from Bangor, co-driver Dave Getchell from Camden; Jon Bolduc, Cullin Gillis, and Cassidy’s son John Cassidy V from Bangor. Also Drew Gladu from Orrington, Zach Sennet from Corinna, Drew Simpson of Brewer, and Duncan Matlack of Camden.  Stay tuned right here for more information as the race date gets closer.

Penske Connection to the County

All you Indy Car fans know the Penske Racing Team drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves swept the doubleheader at the Detroit Belle Isle street circuit this past weekend.

Saturday’s 70 lap race was won by Power beating Graham Rahal, son of Bobby Rahal, by .33 seconds. Helio Castroneves who places second at last week’s Indy 500 was the winner of Sunday’s race at Belle Isle beating his team mate Power by 1.69 seconds to complete the sweep.

The County connection to the Penske team is the Penske Verizon show-car which is transported and promoted by Washburn native Steve Doody. Doody will be featured in a future Up North Motorsports column

Spud Speedway News

The Caribou track is getting prepared for it’s gala 50th Anniversary Celebration all summer long. Practice for racers begins this Saturday the 7th from 10 am to 3 pm with tires available.

Spud Speedway will be a primary player in Caribou’s initial 2014 Thursday Night on Sweden Street event on June 12th. A stock car parade at 5 pm and car show will be followed by the Pit Stop Challenge at 6 pm.

Teams wishing to compete need to register early since only 10 teams in each of the three divisions will be allowed to compete. The divisions consist of municipal teams, local business teams and public open teams.

Teams will compete for cash prizes in the public class and money for their favorite charitable organization in the other two classes. Each team will have two tire changers, two tire carriers, and a jack operator. All necessary tools will be provided.

In addition the racing karts will put on a race, the local RC Club will do a Monster Truck  demonstration and there will be pedal car races for kids.

Racing for the summer will begin Saturday June 21st at 6 pm for the racing karts and 7 pm for the stock cars. Gate admission is only $5.00 for adults. Check the Speedway’s website for more information.

Let’s go racing!

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria



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