Land Speed Racer Body Comes Off At Two Hundred Ninety Plus MPH

Episode 177

September 3, 2017

Beineke Survives a Scary 290 Plus MPH Crash

Saturday at Loring Timing Associations’s Harvest Event at the former Loring Air Force base, Sharon, Massachusetts’ Pam Beineke survived a terrifying 290 plus mph crash in her Aeroforce 71 Charger Daytona nostalgia funny car.

As she approached the mile markers on the massive runway at Loring, the nose of her Daytona went up and the rear of the car leaned on the wheelie bars which were not stiff enough to hold the front down. The resultant upward movement ripped the custom-built funny car body off the frame launching the chassis over four feet into the air.

Pam Beineke goes for a wild ride in her nostalgia funny car at 290 plus miles per hour.Tom Shay Photography

The car was in danger of rolling, however, the parachute was deployed straightening the car so it was pointed in the right direction down the track. The event started at the 3/4 mile mark and slid about a quarter-mile down the runway breaking the timing beams at 60 plus mph.

Still smiling, Beineke is okay after a terrifying crash at over 290 mph in her Daytona Funny Car at Loring Timing Association’s Harvest Event 2017. Tom Shay Photography

Despite the crash, Beineke mentioned that husband Gary and she would be back in 2018 after they determine what went wrong. The car was damaged but their spirits were not. They were glad Pam was uninjured and that the safety equipment worked as designed.

Tom Shay, Tom Shay Photography, was in the right place at the right time. He getting set up near the finish line area to get some video and still shots. When he saw the Daytona begin to go sideways, his photographer’s instinct kicked in. Shay immediately pulled up his camera and started shooting despite not having his telephoto extended. His photos portrayed the violence of the crash though not close-up images. Thank you to Tom for allowing me to use them.

The aftermath of the 290 plus mph crash of the Aeroforce 71 Charger Daytona nostalgia funny car. Tom Shay Photography

New Track Record Set Once Again By Northwood, New Hampshire’s Jason White

The 253.5 miles per hour speed record set by Jason White in his C6 Corvette at the 2017 Summer Event in July did not last long. On Sunday, after replacing a blower belt, White pulled his Corvette to the starting line at Loring with a determined look on his face.

The team goal for the Harvest Event was 255 mph and he had not been that close in previous runs. White left the line with his massive racing slicks on the fine edge between grip and slip. All the way down the course his car never missed a beat and sounded strong.

Indeed the Chevrolet engine worked great. The public address announcer proclaimed that a new fastest speed for cars was set by White with 258.630 mph in the 1.5 mile run. It looks like White will need to have new t-shirts made since the now “old” shirts had “Speed Limit 253”.

Like a true racer, he declared that the team is not done yet. He feels that the car can run over 260 mph and will spend time this winter doing some research and development to make such speeds possible.

From Fastest Speed to Slowest Speed

I was standing at the starting line at Loring Timing Association’s (LTA) Harvest Event when my eye caught a glimpse of a strange-looking car in the staging lanes. Upon second look I notice a small white racer with skinny tires.

Immediately my mind went back to the mid-1990’s when my students and I built an Electrathon race car which also had four skinny tires and 24 volt battery power. This car looked like a scaled up version of our electric racer.

Lithium batteries power Robert Laravie’s replica of the 1903 Baker Torpedo Kid. HTF Motorsports photo

Retired Port Jefferson, New York gearhead, Robert Laravie was intrigued by the accomplishments of the battery-powered 1903 Baker Torpedo Kid. The original was built for the Glenville, Ohio races in September 1903. Glenville was a horse track outside Cleveland.

The original Baker was powered by a 3/4 hp production electric motor with four 6 volt batteries, or “accumulators”, as they were called at that time, providing the “juice”. The reported weight was 650 pounds.

In February 1904 the Baker went 60 mph at Ormond Beach, Florida near Daytona Beach. It also was used in promotional events until somewhere in the mid-teens.

Laravie decided to build a modern-day replica of the Baker racer. The new version includes micro-sprint car components, coil over shocks, billet aluminum wheels, and home-built carbon fiber body. The motor is a AC 3-phase 48 volt induction type with a 100 amp-hour lithium battery pack  driving a straight axle with single rear disc brake and dual front disks.

The goal was to learn the top speed of the Baker replica which turned out to be 67 mph. Laravie had so much fun that he vowed to return in 2018 when he may bring along one of his vintage motorcycles.

Zoom Zoom Racing Team members tow Caribou native Carl Theriault to the starting line at LTA Harvest event. Theriault set two personal bests with 210 mph in the mile and 223.6 in the mile and a half. HTF Motorsports photo

Poole family Corvette of Armada, Michigan . The Poole family Tom Senior, Randy, and Tom Junior became LTA’s first 3 generation 200 MPH Club members. HTF Motorsports photo

Ron Keselowski on right said his 1963 gas coupe Corvette was a pile of tubing last November. It made its debut at Loring at the Harvest Event with a 204.420 speed. Helping to tune the Dodge powered car was Ron’s brother Bob on the left. HTF Motorsports photo.

Brevon Scott, DB Moto, was back at Loring with his Suzuki Hayabusa. Scott is from West Bay, Cayman Islands. He and his crew almost froze in the unseasonable cold temperatures at Loring. HTF Motorsports photo

For the third year in a row Toronto’s Scott Davis wins the Bill Warner Award for Fastest Motorcycle of the Season. He went 263.190 at the Summer Event.

The Loring event never ceases to amaze me with the diversity of racers and race vehicles. It seems that not all come to the Maine track to  go faster than 200 mph or set fastest time. The journey, in terms of building a land speed racer, carries with it a component of satisfaction with what can be achieved despite adversity or circumstance. Makes me wonder who or what will show up in 2018.

Cassius Clark Reigns at Speedway 660 Season Finale

Farmington’s Cassius Clark saved his best tires for the end of the McLaughlin Trusses 250 at Speedway 660 in Geary Woods, New Brunswick. This was Clark’s third win of the track’s big race. He brought home $18,550 for the win.

McLaughlin Trusses 250 winner, Cassius Clark accepts a check for $18,550 from Andy Fox of McLaughlin Trusses. High school junior, Ashton Tucker, finished second with Lonnie Sommerville third. Speedway 660 photo

Race rookie, Ryan Messer of Harvey, New Brunswick started from the pole position after winning his heat race. He survived a spin late in the action to finish 11th.

Presque Isle’s Kirk Thibeau used his experience to finish in the top ten despite an unfavorable starting spot. Thibeau was the first winner of the 250 when the New Brunswick track initiated long distance events with big prize money.

Saturday evening, Maine’s Drew Greenlaw placed second in the Martin’s Home Heating 150. The race was won by Dave O’Blenis who claimed his car was sitting outside their shop in the grass. He said he dusted it off and got it running for the Late Model Sportsman race. He did so in dominant fashion. Finishing third was LMS Champion John Rankin.

I was unable to get to the New Brunswick track for this race, however, Troy Haney invited me to watch the race on Pay to View Pit Row TV. I want to thank him for the opportunity plus he makes a great boiled dinner.

Flipping Out

With the Aeroforce Dodge Charger hijinks , I thought a couple more flips might be appropriate for this episode.


Something tells me this may not turn out so well. Thomas Meseraull “T-Mez”  at Kokomo Speedway, Kokomo, Indiana. Collin Markle photo

Up! Up! Up! and away at Kokomo Speedway. Collin Markle photo

T-Mez walked away from this crash unhurt. Unfortunately one could not say the same for his USAC Sprint car.  Collin Markle photo

Another flip this one more local, Marcel Bosse turns it upside down at Richmond Karting Speedway earlier this summer. Katherine Fogg photo

Swanson Makes It Four Wins in USAC Silver Crown 2017

I would not want to be leading a USAC Silver Crown race in which Kody Swanson is entered. In classic Swanson fashion, he made his presence known late in the “Ted Horn Classic 100” on the “Magic Mile” at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, DuQuoin, Illinois.

With 12 laps to go in the 100 lap race on the clay, Swanson closed to within one second of leader Jeff Swindell. He went by Swindell with nine laps to go and held on to win his fourth Silver crown feature this season. Hometown favorite Shane Cockrum finished second, Swindell third, CJ Leary fourth and pole sitter Jerry Coons Junior fifth.

Austin Theriault’s team owner, Ken Schrader, ran the same race in the #14 McQuinn Motorsports Silver Crown car. This was Schrader’s first time in a Silver Crown car at DuQuoin in 32 years. Schrader finished 19th in the field of 32 starters.

Swanson holds a 105 point lead going into the season finale, “The 4-Crown Nationals” at Eldora Speedway September 23. I will keep you posted.

“Hot Rod” Bus

Lowered 1966 Chevy Shortbus powered by a 454 big block engine. Owned by Ed and Alice Herrick of Otis, Maine, it was used to transport wedding guests from the Otis School to the wedding venue. Congratulations to my nephew Jaret and his bride, Sarra (Kane) Miller. Thank you to my brother-in-law Jeff Bell for holding an envelope to give perspective on how low the “hot-rod” bus was. HTF Motorsports photo

A “Gripping” Story

All summer I have wondered where I left my “Vice-Grip” locking pliers. I remembered that I had used them on the farm for something, however, I could not remember for what or when I had used them. It became very apparent when I crawled under my Tacoma pickup last Friday.

Much to my surprise, my “Vice Grips” were solidly locked onto the emergency brake cable end right where I had left them May 1st when I had last changed the oil and adjusted the e-brake.

I felt like this should be on a commercial bragging about the holding power of the classic locking pliers. I cleaned them up and oiled the thumbscrew and placed them safely in my toolbox.

Notice the “Vice-Grip” pliers on the right side of the photo. HTF Motorsports photo

Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) 2017 Season Ends Saturday September 9

The Maine State Invitational Kart race at Spud Speedway will be Saturday September 9. Pit gates will open at 8:30 am with races beginning at 11:00. Three classes will be featured, Kids Karts (5-8 years old), Junior WKA Stock Animal Engine Cage Karts (9-12 years old) and Senior WKA Stock Engine Cage Karts (13 and over).

After the races pizza will be served and cash awards presented. The highlight will be the dozens of racing memorabilia up for bid, Wade Bright has gathered a wide variety of items sure to interest the diverse audience present.

All  funds raised will be donated to C-A-N-C-E-R to benefit Aroostook County cancer victims. A complete schedule and rule package may be obtained by emailing

Let’s Go Racing

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Glori

Romans 16:27

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