Giving thanks for many blessings

Episode 188

November 19, 2017

Giving thanks

Family time at Preble Street Soup Kitchen in Portland. My son Mike Hale in front with daughter Erika Cole front right. My wife Donna and I in the back. Photo by Erika Cole

Part of Saturday was spent preparing a meal at Preble Street Soup Kitchen in Portland, Maine with several of my family and many volunteers from the Rock Church in Scarborough. While walking to the volunteer entrance I passed by several of the clients who would be served a hot meal.

Their faces revealed to me a variety of expressions and tons of questions. How and why were they in the situation they found themselves in as they began gathering at the soup kitchen.

My wife noted that as they passed by her while she was serving, that 99% were grateful of the meal. My wife remarked,”I wonder what I would feel if I was on the other side of the serving station?”

Since Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays celebrated in only a few days, I want to publicly let my loyal readers some of the things for which I am thankful. I will only list a few. I am sure you also have your list.

  1. Most thankful for the salvation offered to me by Jesus Christ with his death and resurrection. I get great peace and joy knowing what He has done for me. I wish all of you might experience that someday if you have not yet.
  2. My family, including my wife who has put up with me for 41 years. As you can see in the above photo our family loves doing things together. We still all talk to one another and share our dreams and stories without reservations. For those of you with splintered family relations, may this Thanksgiving begin a time of reconciliation, maybe initiated by you.
  3. My friends, which includes you the readers of UpNorth Motorsports. I meet you on the street or at the racetrack and you tell me you read this blog. I am so amazed that so many of you do and remain genuinely humbled that you follow the stories. Thank you to Austin Theriault and Kody Swanson for allowing me to pepper them with hundreds of questions this race season. It was great to see both win championships.
  4. Thankful for the ability to work or see others at work. I get great satisfaction seeing the work of artisans like JRT Customs, Cold Hard Art, Baxley’s Speed Shop, Comfort Creations, Ganassi Racing, Viking Performance Tuning, WAR Team, RYAN Motorsports, Don Schumacher Racing, Keith Dumond welding program, Crazy Horse Racing, ASPIRE Higher at Oxford Hills Middle High School, and so many more. You make these late evening blog nights worthwhile.
  5. My support team including my brothers and sisters, church family, County Physical Therapy,(they piece me back together after my “adventures”) ACE Rental owner Derick Williams, Smiths Farms Emily Smith, Pine Tree Restoration’s Geri Martin, and Farmer Mark Madore. I lean on these folks a great deal.

I hope you might be able to take some time this Thanksgiving season and call, write, or visit some of those folks who make you full of thanks.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway samples its past

As a former agriculture instructor, I have been intrigued by core samples whether they are samples of soil or tree rings. A great deal can be learned from good core samples.

These next two photos by Steve Noffke, a retired electric utility engineer in Indiana who has seen many a core drill in his day. These were taken at what could arguably the most famous racetrack in the world. Both samples will be on display at the Indy museum.

Core sample taken from the exit of turn 3 area at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which dates back to the building of the “Brickyard” in 1909. Photo by Steve Noffke

From bottom up one can see the original bricks made by Indianapolis area brick makers, original asphalt from Kentucky Kyrock. Steve Noffke photo

Tesla introduces freight hauling electric semi truck

November 16 in Los Angeles, California, electric car manufacturer Elon Musk presented the first commercial sized electric semi-truck. Two trucks were paraded before the captivated audience.

Musk touted the features of his Tesla trucks. Claims were made that his truck could go 0 – 60 mph in 5 seconds unloaded. A typical diesel-powered semi take about 20 seconds to achieve that speed.

A loaded 80,000 pound Tesla truck would achieve to 0 – 60 speed in 20 seconds and maintain a 65 mph speed on a 5% grade. It’s diesel equivalent would drop to 45 mph according to Musk. Range is expected to be 500 miles fully loaded.

The electric semi would require no shifting or clutching making it user-friendly. It also performs a 98% recharge using regenerative breaking. To reserve a  truck requires $5000 deposit. Production is expected to begin in 2019.

Canadian grocery chain Loblaw has placed an order for 25 Tesla semi trucks.


Tesla Semi-trailer release on Friday unveiled. Photo by Alexis Georgeson

With all this talk about electric-powered freight trucks, maybe the FIA, the governing body for Formula E, should consider making the Tesla truck the required transport vehicle of the race series. Formula E’s 2017-18 race schedule starts December 2 in Hong Kong ending in Montreal, Canada July 29, 2018.

Most teams must fly their racer cars and support equipment to an airport near the track. I suspect the distance from the airport to the race track is going to be less than the range of the Tesla making it an ideal candidate to replace the diesel transporters now utilized.

Who knows, maybe Elon will provide transporters to the series which features manufacturers Audi, Renault, BMW, Jaguar, and  Mahindra’s  Reva division.

Tesla’s Roadster catches crowd off guard

To the surprise of those in the audience, a new Tesla, the Roadster, was driven from the back of one of the trucks for its public debut. Musk claimed the Roadster was the fastest car in America and would be the first production car to get under the 2 second 0 – 60 mark with a proclaimed 1.9 second performance. Its 0 – 100 time is 4.2 seconds.

A mere $50,000 deposit will get you on the list for the car, which will go into production in 2020 according to Musk. With its projected range of 621 miles per charge and 250 mile per hour top speed surely one could justify the $250,000 price tag.

Elon Musk surprised the folks at the semi-truck release with the unveiling of his Roadster which was hidden in the back of one of the semis. Alexis Georgeson photo

Did you see the Monster Energy Cup finale?

Maybe you viewed on of the many tributes to Dale Earnhardt Junior in this his last race as a driver in the top division of NASCAR. If you viewed the NBC video below, I want you to notice the large polished number 88 in the Earnhardt “junkyard”. They have a connection to Maine. View the video below and I will reveal that connection.

If you play close attention to the man who they show cutting the aluminum for only a few seconds, you will note it is Tom Michael Patsis of Cold Hard Art in Brownsburg, Indiana. If you follow UpNorth Motorsports you know that Patsis spent most of his younger years in Ellsworth, Maine. Though born in Massachusetts, we claim him as one of our own.

Tom Patsis with the #88 he built from 5053 aluminum for NBC’s Dale Earnhardt tribute video. Cold Hard Art photo

Austin Theriault with Ken & Ann Schrader near Gatorade Victory Lane at Miami-Homestead Speedway. Maybe scoping out his future place of destiny? Photo courtesy Talking in Circles

From the archives at Wyatt Alexander Racing, a family photo to prove the Alexander family have been Martin Truex Junior fans for many years. L to r  Wyatt, Truex, Brett, and Jenn Alexander WAR photo

Note the Honorary Crew Member designation on Truex’s #56 when he was with Michael Waltrip Racing. WAR photo

Don’t forget there is still time to work out an agreement to send me to the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis, Indiana December 7-9, 2017. I would cover both USAC Silver Crown, who will be giving Kody Swanson his championship trophy, and the ARCA Racing Series Awards ceremony where northern Maine’s Austin Theriault gets his championship trophy. Email me at for details. I have much to be thankful for!

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