Family, friends, and memories

Episode 206

April 1, 2018

Family, Friends and Memories

Sometimes the journey of a thousand miles begins with big steps. In the case of Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) that big step began in the summer of 2017 when the family cut back their season due to their driver, Wyatt, heading off to school in North Carolina.

With Wyatt moving south the family had many tasks to accomplish before school started at University of North Carolina-Charlotte. For Jenn and Brett a son had to get moved from their home in Ellsworth to his new home not far from campus.

For Wyatt’s sister Quinn, a transition had to be made from seeing her older brother daily to seeing him only on occasion. Wyatt and Quinn’s mother, Jenn Alexander said, “It has been tough on Quinn. She adores her brother. She misses him every day. Thankfully we have been able to see him several times since he made the move.”

Grandfather and crew chief Bob Alexander suddenly had some time for other tasks due to this shortened season. Their next race would not happen until the season finale at Wiscasset. Wyatt finished third.

When asked about the 1000 mile one-way trip, Grandfather/crew chief Bob Alexander replied, “Yes the travel is definitely an issue but in reality we enjoy the time on the road together.”

WAR, known as K & B Racing in those days, began 15 years ago in a Kids Kart at Thundering Valley Raceway. WAR photo

Life is that way, however, with children becoming adults with dreams that often require moving away from the safety and comfort of home. Our kids step onto the big world can be exciting as well as scary.

Wyatt began his year at UNC-Charlotte majoring in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on motorsports engineering. Wyatt’s dad, Brett said, “We felt a little sad leaving him , but we also felt good about him well prepared for the challenge ahead.”

“He has a very good support system in the Charlotte area, so we took comfort in knowing support was there if he needed it. He lives in a town house that we purchased in Charlotte. We’ve been down 4 or 5 times.”

He has supplemented his courses with real world experiences working at Clattenburg Racing Fabrication (CRF) in nearby Salisbury. He helped to build the chassis that he raced at Hickory this past weekend.

Fabricating the WAR chassis at Clattenburg Racing Fabrication. WAR photo

CRF is located in an area where several race teams are headquartered. The complex is owned by former NASCAR driver Dave Blaney, father of current Penske driver Ryan Blaney.

Alexander also has volunteered at World Karting Association’s kart races at Go_Pro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina. He served as grid master and a corner worker at a WKA race. WKA offered him a job traveling to WKA races to work for them.

In addition, Alexander works at  Kyle Beattie Racing and Driver Development (KBR) in Concord, North Carolina. They build winged outlaw karts and support Legends race teams.

Race Day…Week?

This week began with the last-minute preparation back home in at the race shop in Ellsworth. Monday was the beginning of the trip south as the new car was loaded and the trip south began. You may recall seeing the photos from last week’s episode #205.

Wednesday was shakedown day at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina. One would expect a new car would have little glitches to work out. The Alexander team only had a few of those pop up over the course of testing.

They turned lap times which were competitive with the Pro All Stars Series racers that were at Caraway Speedway a few weeks before for the PASS opener.

WAR arrives at Hickory Speedway with the PASS gang. Tammy Rebich photo

Practice day at the storied track began on Friday when the team knew they had a fast race car. Lap-times were right where they needed to be in anticipation of Saturdays time trial qualifying.

Race day with its qualifying will always bring with it butterflies. This particular method of qualifying on time was only the second time in his career for Alexander. There were forty cars vying to make the 32 car field.

WAR crew chief, Bob Alexander breathed a sigh of release saying, “We had a pretty stout car all weekend. We tied with a 14.845 (lap-time) reset on the pool for a while and kept dropping back, but we thought we’re gonna make a top 10. But we ended up 16th. We are in the show. Oh what a relief!”

The WAR team’s race ended when Wyatt had worked his way up to twelfth when he encountered an errant car and smacked the front of his new race car. WAR was credited with a 29th place finish in the 32 car field.

Wyatt Alexander up against the fence at the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Speedway. photo

The race was won for the fifth time by Preston Pelitier who made the 1500 mile trip to Hickory from his home in Colorado. The best finish by a northern PASS car was New Hampshire’s DJ Shaw who finished fourth.

The front end view WAR race car after getting caught up in a crash at Hickory Speedway, North Carolina. WAR photo

Despite the crash in the car’s debut race crew chief Bob Alexander looked at the race with introspection saying, “It was a fun week for us racing at Hickory. We were disappointed in not being able to complete the race but came away with several of our goals met.”

“We had a very competitive race-car. We passed preliminary tech with no problems. We were able to post a fast qualifying time against the best super late-model cars and drivers in the country and made it into the show on speed alone.”

“We were anticipating a top five finish if not a win. Wyatt was racing at part throttle, picking off cars at will as he advanced from his 16th starting position. ”

The team originally thought they would bring the wounded racer back to their shop in Ellsworth. After consulting with chassis builder Dean Clattenburg, Bob Alexander stated, “There was a change of plans today regarding the repair of the CRF car. We have left the truck, trailer and car at CRF (in Salisbury, North Carolina).”

“Dean will check the car over and advise us of any issues. Brett and I will fly down and make the repairs at Dean’s shop prior to the CARS Tour race at Orange County Speedway ( April 21 in Rougemont, North Carolina).”

The race team has 15 more races on their 2018 schedule which includes five Legends races, five PASS races, two CARS Tour races, and two super late-model races. Their schedule will feature 6 southern races and seven northern races which will include the Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway July 3rd.

The reason why the Alexander family races can be summed up in three words, family, friends, and memories. The Easter get together at Wyatt’s townhouse in North Carolina. WAR photo

Spud Speedway and PASS Announce Ikey Dorr Memorial Street Stock Qualifier July 3rd

Spud Speedway owner, Troy Haney announced that the July 3rd race at the Caribou track will include the Aroostook Savings & Loan Firecracker 200 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) race, an Enduro race, and now a fifty lap, $600 to win, Ikey Dorr Memorial Race Qualifier.

The 8th Annual Ikey Dorr Race will be held at Speedway 95 in Hermon in October 2018. To get a guaranteed spot in the race, street stocks from all over central and northern Maine will converge on Spud Speedway July 3rd. The winner assures themselves of making the October race.

The winner at the Caribou track will earn $600. Rules for the street stock race will be posted on Spud Speedway’s webpage and at Speedway 95’s page.

The race promises to be one of the most anticipated racing event this summer in Northern Maine and western New Brunswick. More announcements about the race will be made shortly according to track owner Troy Haney.

Ripchair Update

Rear (powerplant) view minus engine cover of Presque Isle’s Mike Chasse’s Howe and Howe Technologies Ripchair. Next step will be fitting, trials, and hauling the beauty home. Photo courtesy Howe & Howe

Mike Chasse’s Ripchair with protective engine cover installed. Note the winch for pulling Mike and his “Hot Rod” out of bad “situations”. Howe & Howe photo

Happy Easter

I think this short video of Roush Fenway’s #6 Monster Energy Series driver Trevor Bayne’s daughter, Elizabeth,would be a great way to close out this Easter Day episode.

Wyatt Alexander up against the fence at the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Speedway. photo

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