Texan land speed racer on her way to recover despite loss of leg

Episode 211

May 6, 2018

Brenda Sue on the road to recovery runs 222 mph in Texas

After her crash at Loring September 4, 2016, Brenda Sue Carver from Seguin, Texas woman spent over a month at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine. While at the Bangor hospital her right leg was amputated just above the knee.

The crash occurred on was to be her final run that Sunday morning. The motorcycle had been put away in preparation for the long journey back to Texas. Crew chief Steve asked if she would like one more run since the winds were calm and conditions were favorable for her to beat her 2015 records set at Mojave; 234 in the mile and 239 in the 1.5 mile.

After going through the timing lights at the mile at 233 miles per hour, Carver slowed and went off the track on her left at an estimated 140 mph. Her off-road tumble put her about 90 feet from rescue crews who jumped into action, getting her to Cary Medical Center then off to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. To this day no official reason has been given for her crash.

When she transferred to Texas, Brenda Sue fought depression as well as anxiety about how to cope with the loss of her limb. She credited her faith in God and encouragement of friends and family for helping her to get through that hurdle.

Brenda Sue Carver, Seguin, Texas is the “Poster Woman” for the 2018 Limb Loss Awareness Month. She was assisted with the cost fitting and rehab that goes with an artificial limb by the San Antonio Amputee Foundation. SAAF photo

” I am surviving,” said the Texas tough woman! “I went 222.1 mph at Texas Mile in March. Still just taking it one day at a time. I believe 100% that it was all of your prayers that saved my life! God is good.”

Since that time she has run a 9.89 second 1/4 mile time at San Antonio Raceway on her motorcycle.

Brenda Sue’s Suzuki at Texas Mile prior to her 222 mph run. Mike Hessong photo

Brenda Sue’s daughter, Shanna Carver-Hunter, has been my source for information about her mother since the 2016 crash at Loring. Recently we talked about the long road back for her mom and some of the struggles that accompany such a life altering event.

“To be perfectly honest,” said Carver-Hunter, “it really is up and down for her. Physically she is recovered. She can get around fairly well and she even races again. She just went to the Texas mile and went over 200 mph.”

“She SO badly wants to go back to Loring to prove that it didn’t beat her, but we just don’t know if that’s possible. She would have to fly up there and have someone bring her bike, because she can’t travel that long in a car anymore without experiencing quite a bit of discomfort. It’s just really expensive and a huge undertaking.”

“The fact that she’s back on the bike is amazing and a testament to her character. Spiritually it’s been a little tougher. My mom has always been fiercely independent and always on the go.”

“Her life is smaller than it used to be just because it’s so much more difficult for her to do things. For example, it takes her three times as long to get out of the house to go somewhere, and household chores are of course more difficult than they used to be.

“She struggles with depression sometimes and she has good days and bad days. Sometimes she feels like she doesn’t have much to live for, and she’s struggling to find her footing and figure out what life is going to hold for her.”

“She does not see herself accurately and she has absolutely no idea what an amazing, inspirational person she is. I try to tell her often, but I think she sees it as the “good daughter” thing to say. She is my hero, and I’m so damn proud of her, but I don’t know how much she believes me when I tell her that.”

Gearing up for Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200

With the cracking of the stranglehold winter has had on the County, racers and race fans are getting ready for the Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 on July 3rd at Spud Speedway in Caribou, Maine. This Pro All Stars Series (PASS) race will be one of only four Oxford 250 qualifiers this race season. The winner earns an automatic spot in the premier short track race in the northeast, the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway, August 26, 2018.

In addition to the PASS race, the Ikey Dorr Street Stock qualifier will also be held that evening. The winner of the race, in addition to the $600 first place money, will get an automatic spot in the 8th Annual Ikey Dorr Memorial race at Speedway 95 in Hermon October 14, 2018.


The Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway in Caribou is more than a race event. Be a part of the Firecracker 200 July 3rd and sponsor a lap to help Feed the County

Information about how to sponsor a lap at the upcoming Firecracker 200 July 3rd at Spud Speedway will be forthcoming soon. When online information is available,it will be found at www.FeedTheCounty.com

Street Stock rules for the Ikey Dorr Qualifier race at Spud Speedway July 3rd. Any questions contact http://www.speedway95racing.com/


Swanson only three wins from all-time USAC record

Kody Swanson in USAC Silver Crown Victory Circle at Toledo Speedway, Toledo, Ohio. This was Swanson’s third Rollie Beale 100 win. Rand Thompson photo

The California Kid who I met over a decade ago, worked his way to the front after starting seventh in the USAC Silver Crown Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness “Rollie Beale Classic” Friday evening at the Toledo Speedway.

It was a classic Swanson race where he worked his way to the front with his hard charging style. The guy looks so calm and acts kind when out of the car, however, once in the car he goes to work in a controlled aggressive manner. Imagine you are in front of the #63 DePalma car and he fills your mirrors. You know you have your hands full trying to keep in front of him!

Swanson posted on Facebook, “We qualified and started the 100-lapper from 9th, caught a few lucky breaks in traffic, had a really good race car, and survived a green white checker to score our first win on the year!”

“Bob (Hampshire)  and Jesse (Himes) had our Hampshire Racing Engine running awesome tonight, and taking off on starts the best it ever has! Clark (Lamme) put together another great car, ready to go all 100 laps.”

“My parents flew into town so Dad could help on the car, and Mom could help us with Trevor and support us in every way she can. [My wife] Jordan did a great job spotting through traffic tonight, and keeping me focused on the task at hand.”

“Thank you again to the DePalma family for the opportunity, for the friendship and to be able to race as part of the family. Thank you to everyone on the crew for their efforts to compete as part of this team, our close friends and team members that wish us well, and to all of our sponsors and partners that support us.”

With this win, Swanson becomes one of two drivers to break the 20 wins mark in the Silver Crown series. The all-time winner, Jack Hewitt, won 23 USAC Silver Crown races in his career. Those wins came behind the wheel of the #63 DePalma Motorsports car that is currently wheeled by Swanson.

Finishing second in the Rollie Beale 100 was Bobby Santos, followed by David Byrne, Eric Gordon and Aaron Pierce in fifth. Swanson has a 27 point lead over second place Justin Grant, 210 to 183.

The next USAC Silver Crown race will be May 24 the “Hoosier Hundred” on the one-mile dirt Indiana State Fairgrounds located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Maine Indoor Karting Adventure

A group of men from our church headed to Portland last Friday to attend the Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference on Saturday. Three of us went to Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough to get some racing action.

Chris Rolon and Joe Howe made their kart racing debut that Friday evening and both loved it. It was the first time this year I was able to get some wheel time, which was good since kart racing season kicks off in northern Maine at Spud Speedway on June 2nd for the Northern Maine Karting Association’s Season Opener Presented by Pat’s Automotive.

We arrived at MIK too late to witness the 50 lap endurance race, a special event held only at certain times throughout the year. We were, however, able to meet the first and second place drivers in the race, winner Justin Prescott, Portland and second place Todd Nugent, Buxton.

I was able to engage in some great racing conversation with the two. In the course of the conversation I found out that Prescott is the step-son of multiple time American Canadian Tour (ACT) driver Brian Hoar of Vermont.

I found out that Prescott got his start in racing at Thunder Road, Barrre, Vermont in 2007 with an Enduro car which soon gave way to a Junkyard Warrior later that same season. In 2008 he moved up to the Street Stock class.

Prescott moved to Maine shortly after the 2008 season to work as a contractor working on a multitude of projects in the Portland area. He does not race at a local track but does maintain his racing “fitness” with frequent forays to MIK.

His friend, Todd Nugent did not have any racing background when Prescott invited him to MIK about one year ago. Nugent turned out to be a quick learner. His 20.011 second lap time was the fastest for the day and landed him firmly in fifth place for the month.

Nugent is an outside sales representative for Lowes.

My fastest time was 20.772 which I was somewhat pleased with since my goal was to get into the 20 second time. I was hoping to get into the lower half of the 20 second range.

MIK action from Friday evening, left to right Chris Rolon, Joe Howe, Todd Nugent, Justin Prescott, and me. In the race we were in, Nugent won after he and Prescott bumped on the last lap. Yours truly finished third and Joe Howe fourth. HTF Motorsports photo

Gage Theriault, Limestone receiving his second place trophy for the 120 Improved sled Triple C Championship from Karen and Butch Lancaster. The awards ceremony was held at the Poulin Turner Hall in Skowhegan Friday evening. Photo by Gage Theriault Racing

Lets 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