The Seasons Come and Go and the California Kid Wins Two In A Row

Episode 76

October 11, 2015

I saw the reports of  snow just across the border from the County this morning. Part of me says, “Noooooooo!” yet another part realizes that as a season come to an end regeneration, regrouping , and renewing take place.

As a Christmas tree grower I have come to realize the importance of the seasons.   Spring comes with its promise of fresh growth much of that energy  a result of stored chemicals from the previous year. I get excited by the buds as they swell in size.

During the summer the trees exhibit bursts of growth as lateral and terminal buds yield shoots of soft pale green. The nutrients I have supplied via fertilizer fatten the stems and add growth rings.

The fall season means that it is shearing and shaping time. The classic conical shape of the evergreen Christmas tree is developed by careful manipulation of growth characteristics.

The Christmas tree grower markets the fruits of their labor during the Holy Season. After the Christmas rush the grower takes the time to reflect on the past season and plan for the next. Errors are assessed and improvements are cataloged for future use.

Racing is similar as we approach the winter. Racing results are evaluated. What worked and did not work are cataloged. Sponsor packages are developed for the next season.

As spring approaches the anticipation mounts as the racing season draws nigh. Fabrication and builds fill the time needed to make get the race car and race driver ready. Sponsor packages are in the hopper and a game plan is in place.

Races begin and results pour in both good and not so good. I jokingly  told Dan Haines at Haney Building Specialties as I worked on my kart that my goal was to win every race. The reality was that I went through my first season of not winning one race. I finished second a couple of times otherwise third was my lot in life. Consistency earned the second spot in the points race behind rookie Damian Theriault of Caribou(more about him later).

The end of the season features extended laps and attempts to make equipment work without having to spend more money. The professional ranks lay off crew members to save money in the off-season. After the season finale I think of the trees around Hale Tree Farms which have shed their leaves and have done their job. My kart sits on its stand awaiting a place to store it for the winter.

After winter fresh parts will replace those worn in battles on the race track as I once again prepare for another season of racing.

The pre-race grid at Richmond Kart Track where Spud Speedway and Thundering Valley points champion Damian Theriault of Caribou competed in the Halloween Howler.Photo courtesy JRT Customs

The pre-race grid at Richmond Kart Track where Spud Speedway and Thundering Valley points champion Damian Theriault of Caribou on the #53 competed in the Halloween Howler.Photo courtesy JRT Customs

Points Champion Tries New Track

Caribou’s Damian Theriault, an eighth grader at the middle school, took advantage of harvest break and raced at a new track for him, Richmond Karting Speedway in Richmond, Maine. The races were part of the season finale, “The Halloween Howler”.

Theriault was swapping the lead when he and the leader went off the track resulting in him hitting the wall hard throwing the toe way off. He was able to get back on the track and salvage second place despite an ill-handling kart,

That was two weekends in a row where persons named Theriault slammed the wall head on. Thankfully Damian was not hurt as bad as Austin.

Kody Swanson, family, and crew celebrate his win at the "Salt City 78" at Syracuse Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy T-K Motorsports

Kody Swanson, family, and crew celebrate his win at the “Salt City 78” at Syracuse Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy T-K Motorsports

Swanson Wins Final Race at Syracuse Fairgrounds

Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, California won the final race on the one mile dirt oval at the Syracuse Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York. The “Moody Mile” has seen many an epic battle fought on what has been called one of the toughest dirt tracks in America. On Saturday Swanson conquered the track for the second year in a row.

The pressure on Swanson was diminished when he clinched the title with a second place finish at the “Four Crowns Saturday” race at Eldora last month. He was able to run hard without worrying about saving his rear tires as he made up time after he slipped back from his outside pole starting position.

The starting lineup for the final USAC Silver Crown "Salt City 78" photo courtesy T-K Motorsports

The starting lineup for the final USAC Silver Crown “Salt City 78” photo courtesy T-K Motorsports

In USAC Racing’s report about the race Swanson said,“Today, we were just here to win with points not being a factor at all. I had to run really hard to run those guys back down after we dropped to fifth and pass them back, so it was good to have nothing else weighing on my mind.”

“I had some doubts if we could get back up there with as difficult as I thought it would be to pass, but I was able to dig a little deeper and get out of that hole and win this for my team. They’ve carried me to this level, and it’s been a dream to have these two seasons with them. You never know if it will keep going like this, but it’s wild to think of what we’ve accomplished,” said Swanson, who has accumulated nine wins and two championships with the DePalma family and crew chief Bob Hampshire.

Swanson has 12 Silver Crown victories tying him for seventh in the all time USAC Silver Crown Series. I remember when I first met Swanson critics said he could not adapt to the dirt since he was primarily a pavement racer. I think those same people are eating their words now that Swanson has won on dirt and pavement.

The race at Syracuse was not an easy one since a late yellow bunched up the field leading to a green-white-checkered finish with second place finisher Shane Cockrum.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of room when I went to the outside of him for the lead, but luckily I had the room and the run, and Shane ran me clean when I got back down in front of him. With that opportunity there, I knew I had to take it.”

“To win the last one again this year feels great; we didn’t have as many wins this year, but I still feel we improved. The places where I let us down, I got a little better, and they have helped me along even more. The names this high on the list are some of the greatest ever, and they say they’re gonna ‘let me try again next year,’ so I’m looking forward to taking on the next challenges and seeing what is next for our team,” Swanson said.

More about this driver in future episodes. I will give you some of his backstory which I find intiguing.

Snowmobile Grass Drags In Caribou

All you snowmobile fans will get your chance to see your favorite sleds and drivers in action later this month when the Caribou Snowmobile Club hosts grass drags on October 25.t. A full preview will be in my next episode.

Final thoughts

Hometown hero Nick Sweet of Barre, Vermont won the 53rd Annual Milk Bowl at Thunder Road in Barre, Vermont. The popular win came after overcoming a 5 point deficit in the final 50 lap race. This is on my bucket list of must attend races.

Another on my list of places to go is the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show at Indianapolis in early December. If you would like to sponsor my trip to this event in exchange for some PR for your race team or business email me for details at

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