Maine man part of $1,000,000 payout race

Episode 213

May 20, 2018

Oxford native part of $1,000,000 All Star win

Despite suffering a severe snowmobile accident his senior year at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, Mike Morneau, with the encouragement of his high school automotive instructor Mitch Green, enrolled in UTI NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina. After successfully completing the UTI course he enrolled in the Pit Crew U’s 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance coaching program.

The Maine native’s first job after these courses was at Haas CNC on the Jason Leffler #00 Nationwide car. He crewed for many drivers of that car until 2009 when he became a member of Tony Stewart’s #14 car. Tony won the championship.

Some of you may recall that when Kevin Harvick complained about his pit crew midway through the 2014 season, the #4 and #14 pit crews were swapped. Morneau,as part of the Harvick crew, won the 2014 championship. This was Morneau’s second national championship winning team.

Kevin Harvick wins the 2018 All Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the $1,000,000 that goes with it. Photo courtesy Ford Performance

Mike Morneau and oldest son Griffin, in the pits after gluing on lug nuts on the race tires at the NASCAR All Star race in Charlotte. Mike Morneau is the veteran tire carrier for Kevin Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.  Griffin was able to see his father in action from the #4 pit stall, help his dad prior to the race, and celebrate in Victory Circle post race. Cheryl Brown Morneau photo

If you notice the young man on his father’s shoulder directly behind Kevin and Delana Harvick, that is Griffin Morneau. This will certainly remain as one of his favorite childhood memories. The win was the 50 Stewart-Haas Racing win in 10 years. Photo courtesy Cheryl Brown Morneau

Mike Morneau is married to Cheryl Brown and lives in Kannapolis, North Carolina with their two sons, Griffin and Hudson. The Harvick team has five wins in 12 races thus far in the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series beginning with Atlanta then Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dover, and Kansas. He currently sits in third spot in the driver’s championship 19 points behind leader Kyle Busch and 7 points behind fellow Ford driver Joey Logano. The team is back in action next Sunday May 27 in the

Super busy week of racing for three-time USAC Silver Crown champion

Thinking about USAC champion Kody Swanson’s schedule for this next week has my head spinning. Beginning Thursday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on the one mile dirt track, Swanson will compete in the Hoosier 100 which has 389 Silver Crown cars registered. He has won that race three times in the past.

Friday finds the USAC Silver Crown teams switching to the asphalt for the Dave Steele Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana only a few miles from the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Swanson is a perennial favorite on that track. His brother Tanner is also entered in the Dave Steele Classic. Between the two brothers, they have won five straight at the .686 mile track and 7 of the last 8. Last year Kody won with Bobby Santos second and Tanner Swanson third.

Kody Swanson wins the 2017 Carb Day Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway. Richard Golardi photo

Swanson, along with his brother Tanner and 45 others, are entered in the 70th Annual Little 500 at Anderson Speedway, Anderson, Indiana just north of Indianapolis. This race held the night before the Indy 500 promises to be a sold out show. Swanson fought for the lead last year until an unfortunate incident took him out of the lead. He finished fourth behind Tony Stewart in 2017.

Front row for the start of the 2017 Little 500 at Anderson Speedway. Swanson drove the #4 Nolen Racing sprint car, Second place starter and race winner Kyle Hamilton is to Swanson’s left. Pole sitter Caleb Armstrong is far right. Just like the Indy 500, 33 racers start the Little 500 in rows of three. Imagine 33 sprint cars on a 1/4 mile banked track. Jordan Swanson photo

Swanson won the Little 500 in 2016 with the late Dave Steele in second and Jerry Coons Jr. in third. Caleb Armstrong was on the pole in 2016 and ’17.

The Kingsburg, California native’s week concludes Sunday evening at Waynesfield Raceway Park in Waynesfield, Ohio. Waynesfield is a 1/3 mile high banked dirt oval.

When asked about his busy week, Swanson commented, “This could be my favorite week of the racing season. To have the Hoosier Hundred, Dave Steele’s Carb Night Classic and the Little 500 all in one week is exciting and intense to say the least. Then we get to finish it off Sunday evening honoring a friend with the Inaugural Bob Hampshire Classic at Waynesfield Raceway Park!”

I asked Kody if Tanner was in the Dave Steele Classic and the Little 500, he replied, “Yes – he’s in that one too. It is the traditional Carb Night Classic Silver Crown race – but this year (and hoping going forward) they’re honoring Dave Steele.”

I am looking forward to seeing how Swanson races this week with his four race schedule.

BAS Racing joins the “Flip ‘er Over Club”

Presque Isle’s Bryan Searles (BAS Racing) joined the NMKA “Flip ‘e Over Club” two weeks ago at the season opener at Richmond Karting Speedway. His PR agent, and Mom Stephanie Ball commented, “Bryan had his first race of the season at Richmond Karting Speedway yesterday. It was an interesting day to say the least.”

“He’s just over a full second faster in the Sportsman class. He was so fast that his left side wouldn’t stay on the ground.”

“One round of practice resulted in a fraying sprocket. Making adjustments didn’t seem to help keep it in the ground after the kart built up heat.”

“In the heat he was leading until he got some air and spun taking a hard T-bone style hit. He recovered and finished 4th.”

“Then came the feature. Bryan was hammer down and found a good line that kept him less off the ground. Halfway came and went with Bryan soaring. One trip out of corner 4 proved to be too much for the little rocket and he tipped….spun….and ROLLED OVER.”

Bryan Searles on his way over at Richmond Karting Speedway coming off turn 4. Katherine Fogg photo

“The officials ran to him. ‘I’m fine, I’m fine, just send me!’ echoed from his helmet. They turned him right side up and restarted him. From the rear to 4th place. He finished, bringing home a trophy and some bruises but did it all smiling.”

New England Hillclimb Association Season Opener

When we last heard from Richmond, Vermont’s Luke Moultroup he was finishing the Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds July 9, 2017 in 15th place overall and sixth in the Open Class. His 2017 race schedule was limited by the construction of his new home on the family farm.

With the home almost finished (is any new home ever finished) and the race car tucked away in the basement garage where it can be worked on, Moultroup prepared for the New England Hillclimb Association season opener at Mt. Ascutney, Vermont.

Luke Moultroup at speed ascending Mt. Ascutney in his Howe chassis modified. Moultroup Racing photo

When asked about his race results, Luke replied, “I got 1st in class and second overall, I might have been faster had I not done this.”

” I lost it over a slight right hand crest near the top. Had a real tank slapper, including putting my right rear wheel in the ditch. Dented the rim a good 3″, managed to save it and finish the run, still my fastest run of the weekend.”

Luke Moultroup right rear wheel after visiting a ditch on his Sunday race to the top of Mt. Ascutney. Moultroup Racing photo

What does Hall of Fame driver do in his “spare” time?

Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame member, Bob Alexander on far left supervised the Maine FFA Association Ag Technology and Mechanics contest at Eastern Maine Community College’s automotive shop. Alexander has been part of the FFA State Convention for several years lending his skills as a judge. Members of the Mars Hill and Easton FFA Chapters along with contest superintendent Tom Hale, third from left, just completed this segment of the popular event. Flying Farmer photo

Big week ahead with multiple races occurring. I hope you are able to get out and support your local track. Some of you may be attending a national event somewhere. Regardless, enjoy this time of year in racing and do not forget to continue to vote for Wyatt Alexander one of the four finalists in the Valvoline Fast Track to Fame $50,000 contest. You may access the site here and vote daily until the Firecracker 200 at Spud Speedway July 3rd.

The second and third air filters destroyed by a squirrel (I think) in my Toyota Tacoma. This is costing me a fair sum of money and aggravation. Any suggestions on how to fix this problem? HTF Motorsports 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