Austin Theriault Survives Tough ARCA Race at Nashville Speedway

Episode 156

April 9, 2017

ARCA Beating and Banging at Nashville Speedway on Saturday Night

Austin Theriault’s Nashville Speedway entry, the Music City Auto Auctions of Nashville Ford before departure to the Tennessee speedway. Austin Theriault photo

Unfortunately neither my brother or I have MAVTV and were unable to watch the ARCA race from Nashville Speedway last Saturday night. I followed it on the ARCA live timing and scoring page on the internet. The only comments I could see were from individuals who were posting on the ARCA site at the track or watching it live on MAVTV.

From comments during the race, it appears that most of the 11 caution periods were a result of contact, either deliberate or not so deliberate. Temper seemed to flare as the race progressed.

The multiple cautions appeared to put Austin Theriault at a disadvantage since the restarts found him on the outside when the preferred line was inside or inside when the outside line moved faster.

Brett Alexander, owner of Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR), who watched the race on TV has seen his fair number of races. I asked him to comment about Austin’s race. Alexander replied, “He was very strong, he had a very strong car. At times it looked like he had a car to win it. It looked like someone got into the back of him on the last restart [with two laps to go] and hurt his chances for a win,”

Theriault had pretty much the same thoughts as I talked to him after the race while he was driving back home to Mooresville, North Carolina. “It was a solid night,” he said. “The car was consistent and that was the type of race we need to run. Adjustments made to the car during testing earlier last month and during the race made the car better. We used all of our allotted six General Tire race tires.”

” Restarts were tough. Especially being on the front row. The one with two laps to go was especially tough and we lost one position but it could have been a lot worse.”

Theriault noted that the ARCA cars are heavier than the Super Late Models. They do not respond as quickly in acceleration, cornering and stopping.

The Ken Schrader team will be testing at the next track on the schedule, Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana in about a week and a half according to Schrader.

Theriault was unsure if they were going to use the team’s Toyota or the Ford he used at Nashville for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 on April 30.


Spud Speedway Racer Dick Boisvert Part I “The Younger Years”

Dick Boisvert 69 years old outside his Aroostook County shop that he built to support his racing career at Spud Speedway. HTF Motorsports photo

Time has a way of slipping without noticing the sands slipping through the hour glass. It does not seem that long ago that I was racing Dick Boisvert in the top class at Spud Speedway. The illusion of having all the time in the world when a young man becomes clearly just that, an illusion.

While racing at the Caribou track one person who I matched up with was Dick Boisvert. I do not want to attempt to crowd into one episode this man’s story so part II will be next.

As a youngster growing up in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Boisvert was not part of a racing family. His mom, Cecile, and dad, Leonard “Whitey”  Boisvert, were supportive of what ever the youngster wanted do but had no desire to attend races.

When Boisvert’s Uncle Ralph Buckley moved back to Hollis, New Hampshire he became the catalyst for racing adventures. Uncle Ralph, though confined to a wheel chair since age 14 due to a hunting accident loved going to races.

Thursday night through Sunday afternoon there were races within a matter of a couple of hours drive from Lebanon. Boisvert listed several tracks which dotted the landscape in the 1960s.

“Keene, Winchester, Brookline, Westboro, and the Pines Speedway were just a few tracks in our area,”  he said. “I hardly saw a race car with fenders on it until I came up here. They had Super Modified, A Modified, and B Modified (basically the same as an A mod except smaller motor). Then they had C Modified which was the six cylinder cars. All were open wheeled modified.”

“They had one class that they called the Bomber class, that was basically a Street Stock. If they could get enough of those cars together that night they would run a race.”

” A lot of the guys traveled from track-to-track. You had Keene on Friday nights, Westboro and the Pines ran Saturday nights. Hudson ran Sunday afternoon which they still do.”

“My uncle took me to all those racetracks which is where I got the bug [to go racing]. We did have a couple of guys in the neighborhood where I grew up that had old coupes that they ran on the dirt at Claremont when that was open.”

Boisvert jokingly said that when he was young he got his first chassis building experience when he used his mother’s wire clothes hangers to make slingshot dragsters. He would cut the hangers into pieces and solder them together and cover them with bodies made from balsa wood.

His first driving experiences came when his childhood friend Tom Beard and he would visit Beard’s Uncle Louie’s junkyard and buy a junker for $5, race it on the dirt roads near his house, blow the engine, then call Uncle Louie who would pick up the car and give them $5 for the car. Quite a racket for the youngsters to get seat time.

After Boisvert graduated from Lebanon High School in 1966 he went back to the same school becoming one of the only post-graduate students in school history. He needed the drafting and architecture classes to get a job. Somebody, somewhere convinced the school district to allow him to accomplish that task.

When he got out of school at noon, Boisvert, who loved to work with his hands went to work in a machine shop part-time until he got his draft notice June of 1967. The Air Force seemed to offer the career he was interested in since the Army and Marines did not appeal to the 18-year-old.

After basic training, he was sent to Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine as an interior electrician. His high voltage training came after about a year and a half at Loring when he was sent to Wichita, Kansas to learn how to be High Voltage Power-line Specialist otherwise known as a lineman.

When he returned to  Loring he was given orders to ship out to South Korea April 1969. He was stationed in Korea until January 1970 when he asked to be sent to a base closer to his father who had been diagnosed with colon cancer. The military offered to send him to Washington State to an Air Force base out there. After negotiating with the Air Force he was allowed to leave the military and be close to his father.

In Part Two of Dick’s story we will reveal how and why he would end up back in Northern Maine and go from race fan to race car builder and driver. Stay tuned.

This blurry photo of Dick Boisvert back in Northern Maine and in the only Ford that he raced in his career. Answers in next episode.Photo courtesy Dick Boisvert collection

ImPact Testing Safety Measure for Racers


Baseline ImPACT testing at County Physical Therapy under the direction of athletic trainer Marilee Scott. This test is done before the race season commences June 2 at Spud Speedway. HTF Motorsports photo

One of the potential injuries that a kart racer (or any racer for that matter) may face on the racetrack is a bump to the head which may happen for a variety of reasons. It could be a rollover accompanied by a smack to the head on a roll bar, or collision with another kart or barrier.

Until recently, these track incidents may have produced symptoms typical of concussion yet could have been overlooked.  Maybe the driver would mask the symptoms and typical of many athletes, want to continue with the next race.  Professional race drivers, notably Dale Earnhardt Junior, have raised concussion awareness when NASCAR’s most popular driver sat out a large part of the 2016 season due to a concussion.

In conjunction with County Physical Therapy (CPT) athletic trainer, Marilee Waugh, I was able to go through part of the process of concussion awareness involving  ImPACT testing.

According to Mark Rossignol, founder of CPT, “The ImPACT test allows us to measure with quantitative results the symptoms related to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy which is the progressive degenerative disease found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma.”

CPT Athletic Trainer Scott said, “This is a baseline test, which if you had a head injury, we could test you again. The test consists of demographics and six modules. You can use it on anyone; up here, it is set up for athletes.”

“We do it in the schools, specifically the ImPACT  test, for soccer, basketball, track, baseball, and softball. Most schools in the County have ImPACT testing.”

“County Physical Therapy works with the schools on a subscription basis; a certain number of baseline tests and post injury exams. Typically athletic trainers, school nurses, and even athletic directors administer the test.”

ImPACT testing came to the forefront following the Maine Concussion Management Initiative that started the concussion awareness campaign. Nationwide over 7.5 million tests have been given by the San Diego, California-based company. I was unable to determine how many tests were specific to Maine.

After the racing season or if there is an on-track incident I will be taking the test once again with results made available to the readers. I would suggest parents of young racers or the adult racers might want to investigate having an ImPACT test done.

The driver’s first line of protection is the helmet. Notice the SA2015 designation from helmet tester and certifying agency,Snell Foundation, went beyond the 2010 standard with additional roll bar impact tests and mandated Hans device attachment installed. HTF Motorsports photo

Diesel Engine on Dyno Makes Almost 3000 Horsepower on Dyno Before Something Goes Seriously Wrong

It seems like dyno operator tuner Paul Marlatt, who you read about in an earlier episode, has moments when things done always work as planned. This is especially true  when dealing with massive horsepower and torque tractor pulling engines. A hole in his dyno room roof and loads of smoke were the results of the test shown on the link below.

IMSA Race From Long Beach Was The Best of the Weekend

Granted I did not see all the race events held this weekend, however, I did see three, the Xfinity and Monster Energy races from Texas and the IMSA race in Long Beach, California. In my humble opinion the Long Beach race won overall by Wayne Taylor Racing was exciting.

Maybe it was my familiarity with the players involved. These were the same teams I saw in action at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in late January. That may have had some influence on my choice of best race of the weekend but not entirely.

The tight road course at Long Beach ensured that passing was going to be difficult in a race featuring 30 plus cars in three different classes. The two-hour duration race meant that the race would not drag on for hours with little action except at the beginning and the end.

The top class, Daytona Prototype International (DPi) had the top six cars in contention for a podium right up until the end. With less than five minutes to go Jordan Taylor in the Konica Minolta Cadillac used a GT class car as a moving pick and passed for the lead the Nissan Nismo driven by Ryan Dalziel. Taylor went on to win by a 6.349 seconds.

Chevrolet Corvettes running one-two in the IMSA race at Long Beach. Photo courtesy Chevrolet Racing

The biggest surprise came on the last lap at the hairpin just before the start/finish line. Pole sitter in the GT LeMans (GTLM) class, Antonia Garcia in the #3 Chevrolet Corvette, was leading his team-mate and most of the GTLM class for most of the race. When he got to the corner he found it completely blocked by three GT cars with no way through. His fellow competitors stopped as well.

Garcia took the outside lane thinking that it would open up and he could scoot through to the finish line. After several agonizing seconds a slight hole opened only it was on the inside lane where Garcia’s teammate Tommy Milner was located.

Milner put the pedal to the metal and squirted through the narrow hole followed closely by Richard Westbrook in the Ford GT. Garcia could not get through until a Ferrari and Porsche went by relegating him to fifth after leading most of the laps in the race.

Corvette has now won two of the three races this season in GTLM with unpredicted finishes. I thought you might want to view the Corvette racing video which features both the #3 and #4 Vettes. It was produced before the race.

Resurrection Sunday

No racing next Sunday in honor of it being Easter. I hope you and your family will take the time that day (and throughout the year) to ponder the significance of that weekend some 2000 years ago.

No racing next weekend,

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