Travis Pastrana Wins Two In A Row

Episode 171

July 23, 2017

Tribute to Pit Crews at Forest Rally

The New England Forest Rally at Newry, Maine has always been known as a tough course with rocks and rough stages. The rally lived up to its reputation forcing many teams to the side lines.

Travis Pastrana in the air at New England Forest Rally. Not difficult to understand how these cars might suffer damage. Joel Sanford photo

Go to American Rally Association’s Facebook page and look at the right rear of both Pastrana and Higgins Subaru rally cars and gain an appreciation of the hard work and skill of the Vermont Sports Car team. Both cars finished the race Saturday with Pastrana beating Higgins by 1 minute and 11 seconds.

Some of the rocks faced by participants in the New England Forest Rally. Photo by Joel Sanford

Pastrana was able to win despite needing a substitute co-driver for Saturday’s action after his original co-driver Robbie Durant suffered a compression injury during a high-speed jump at Icicle Brook the final stage on Friday. Durant was okay yet needs to spend time to rest his back.

Bangor’s John Cassidy was out of the race on Friday. He said, ”  Fuel pump died. ECU had an electrical issue. We weren’t able to repair in time for restart.”

Quality trunk time for Bangor’s John Cassidy. He and the Last Ditch Racing team worked diligently to get the Subaru back in action. Last Ditch Racing photo

” I heard the repairs to Higgins car were bush repairs,” said Cassidy. “Shell was damaged and suspension. They (Team Subaru USA) were ingenious and Herculean!”

When asked what one of Presque Isle’s Christine Louise memorable moment was she said, “I’d say the flying finish at Sturtevant stage was crazy, they were flying through there! A couple of them almost missed the last corner because they came in too hot. One was missing a tire when he came by.”

Louise volunteered at the New England Forest Rally as a spectator marshals with her fiance Kyle Devoe of Eagle Lake. They worked at three stages; Concord Pond, Sturtevant Long, and North Road.  Devoe surprised her by proposing marriage before the rally events began Saturday morning. She said “Yes”.

This was her eighth New England Forest Rally. She has been volunteering since 2013. With the marriage proposal she mentioned this would be the most memorable.

Louise also mentioned. “Higgins did well and was in the lead for most of the weekend, but Travis crushed Saturday’s stages and pulled ahead. Higgins blew another strut like he did last year, and it put him behind. He seemed alright with second place.”

Not your run of the mill every day Ford Fiesta. This fire snorting Fiesta is a 2011 S2000 Turbo raced by Ireland’s Barry McKenna at New England Forest Rally. Photo by Christine Louise, Maine Frame Photography

Fourth Place For Austin Theriault at Lucas Oil Raceway

Maine based E.J. Prescott was aboard the #52 Ford driven by Austin Theriault at Lucas Oil Raceway. Austin Theriault photo

By now you may know that Austin Theriault finished fourth in the Sioux Chief Power PEX 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway just west of Indianapolis in Clermont, Indiana. Late race rain caused a caution which allowed race winner Dalton Sargeant to duck into the pits for four tires which he used to great advantage when the green flag came out on lap 189. He moved into the lead with 8 laps left beating second place Michael Self by slightly over one second. Chad Finley placed third followed by Theriault.

With the win, Sargeant cut Theriault’s lead to 130 points with nine races remaining. The next race is July 28 at Pocono, the ModSpace 150.

What you may not realize is that this is not the first time E.J. Prescott has been at the Lucas Oil Raceway as a sponsor. I was at the track covering it for the Bangor Daily News Sports in 2004.

Since I had interest in Maine teams, I was in the E.J. Prescott Craftsman Truck pits for the Power Stroke Diesel 200 NASCAR Series race on August 6. There was an air of excitement in the Prescott pits since Joe Gibbs Performance provided a pit crew for their driver, a relative unknown guy from Virginia, Denny Hamlin.

I remember Hamlin had a somewhat frumpy looking driver’s suit with his hat pulled down over his eyebrows and did not gather much pre-race attention. I spoke to him and asked a couple of questions. He seemed like a nice guy.

I had not heard about his past but knew he must be someone special with the arrangements made for this Craftsman truck race. Once the race began, Hamlin spent much of his time near the front five in a Chevy truck that had not shown this much promise in previous races.

Hamlin got punted out of the top five in the last couple laps in the race won by Chad Chafin in a Dodge. Hamlin gathered it back up and finished 10th in the race.

My thoughts after Austin announced that Prescott was sponsoring his effort at Lucas was immediately, “Will Austin be the next talented young man recognized by the Gardiner, Maine company and someday look back and say “Remember when….?”

WAR Back In Action at Rough and Tumble Granite State Pro Stock Series Race

Wyatt Alexander was back in action at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, New Hampshire for the Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) White Mountain 100.

Alexander started the 100 lap feature on the 1/4 mile track in 15th position. Despite beating and banging he was able to hang on to finish seventh in the race won by Middlebury, Vermont’s Todd Stone.

Team owner, Brett Alexander said this about the race, “The driver was pretty happy with the car for the team’s first time at the track. Started out side pole in our heat, but couldn’t make any ground on the outside so he fell back in line around 8th.”

“Started the feature 15th with the intention of just being smart. More than one driver struggled with car control which led to several cautions.”

“During the restart for one caution around lap 35 or so they called off the start and not everyone realized it, he got hit very hard in the right side, knocking the toe out and causing significant body damage.”

“We pitted for repairs, only to get involved in another wreck, causing major nose/ hood damage. We pitted to remove the hood, and went back out to salvage whatever we could.”

Post race damage assessment after the White Mountain 100. Lots of right side damage as well as missing hood. WAR photo

“The car was ok, not as strong as it had been. I think we had a chance for top five finish, but a 7th is decent after the rough night we had.”

Up next for the Ellsworth based team is the Boss Hog Race at Wiscasset Raceway July 30.

If Your Last Name Doesn’t Start With an “S” You Won’t Win at Lucas Oil Raceway

The 2012 USAC Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana was until last Thursday, the last time that Franklin, Massachusetts native Bobby Santos II had won at the Indiana track. That came to a screeching halt as Santos led every lap except two on his way to victory in the USAC Silver Crown “Rich Vogler 100”.

The win put to an end the Swanson brothers, Tanner and Kody, complete domination of the Silver Crown races at Lucas Oil Raceway. The Swanson’s had won seven of the last eight races.

Tanner Swanson was never more than a couple of car lengths back throughout the race putting the pressure on Santos and ready to pounce should the Massachusetts native bobble. Santos held up to the pressure finishing first followed by Tanner Swanson, Aaron Pierce, Kody Swanson and Chris Windom.

With his fourth place finish, Kody Swanson holds a 51 point lead over second place Chris Windom in the USAC Silver Crown Championship. The next race is the “Hemelgarn Racing Super Fitness ‘Rollie Beale Classic'” July 28 at Toledo (Ohio) Raceway.

Colby Martin Win at Richmond Bittersweet

Colby Martin and his father celebrate a win and a third place at Richmond Karting Speedway. They dedicated it in memory of their longtime St. John Valley friend Harold Bouchard. Martin Racing photo

NMKA Race Takes Two Days to Finish

The Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) Friday Night Kart racing Series at Spud Speedway has been plagued with wet weather with cancellations. Friday night was the second of two double feature events this season due to rain.

The karts were into their second set of heat races and features, when the skies opened and hard wind-driven rains forced the postponement of the races until Saturday morning.

Saturday turned out to be sunny and brisk yet no rain. The remaining three races were run without incident allowing the NMKA to be back on schedule.

NAPA Auto Parts Victory Lane results:

Feature One Presented by Machias Savings Bank

Black Out Window Tint Kids Karts:

Parker Bosse, limestone

Kayden Haines, Caribou

Aroostook Trusses Junior Cage Karts:

1. Hunter Bennett, Prospect

2. Gage Theriault, Limestone

3. Bryan Searles, Presque Isle

Aroostook Savings and Loan Senior Cage Karts:

1. Damian Theriault, Caribou

2. Janet Bosse, Caribou

3. Nate Haney, Caribou

4. Tom Hale Westmanland

Feature Two Presented by Greenmark IT

Land Speed Record holder, Carl Theriault, was on hand for the rain-delayed to Saturday kart races at Spud Speedway. The Caribou native congratulates Bryan Searles on the right for his win and Gage Theriault left for his second place finish. Stephanie Ball photo

Aroostook Trusses Junior Cage Karts:

1. Bryan Searles, Presque Isle

2. Gage Theriault, Limestone

Aroostook Savings and Loan Senior Cage Karts:

1.Damian Theriault, Caribou

2. Jason Theriault, Caribou

3. Janet Bosse, Caribou

4. Nate Haney, Caribou

NMKA next race is Friday July 28 Presented by Kieffer Insurance. Racing starts at 6:30 pm with free admission to the grandstands and pit are $10 per person.

Tractor pulls, snowmobile drag racing, demo derby and more motorsports action at the Northern Maine Fair beginning Friday evening. Check out their webpage at for complete schedule and details.

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