Track improvements continue as Sped Speedway prepares for Firecracker 200 race on July 3

Episode 218

June 24, 2018

Countdown to Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 continues

Race fans from Maine and New Brunswick are getting ready for the Firecracker 200 on July 3 at Spud Speedway in Caribou. Benefits from the race will be part of  a collaborative effort of Spud Speedway, Aroostook Savings and Loan, and WAGM TV. Money raised for Feed the County, part of Catholic Charities Maine, assists 24 food pantries located throughout Aroostook County.

Two hundred laps are being sold at a rate of $50 per lap. A large portion of the lap money will go directly to Feed the County. More information about lap sponsorship can be found at

In preparation for the Firecracker 200, fans will notice track improvements done by owner Troy Haney and his crew at Haney Building Specialties as well as the Spud Speedway groundskeeper team.

“Flying Farmer” and groundskeeper at Spud Speedway, Tyler Raymond with his painting suit among the bleacher standards which are now completely painted thanks to his hard work. HTF Motorsports photo

What do you look like after painting bleacher standards outdoors on a slightly windy day? Fortunately Tyler Raymond is a good sport. Flying Farmer photo

Chandler Cole in front left and his brother Carson painting bleacher seat planks in preparation for installation. Chief carpenter Galen Poitras brings another plank to install it on the newly painted standards. As of Friday they had about one-third of the 505 new planks completed. HTF Motorsports photo

New fencing is being installed and will be completed early this week. Pavement cracks will be filled and new lines laid down on the track. A host of other smaller jobs are on tap for this week.

Check out the Spud Speedway Facebook site this week for volunteer opportunities which will arise. This is a chance for you to be part of this event to raise money for Feed the County.

County kart racers continue success down south

Sometimes when a racer from Aroostook County heads south they find themselves at a disadvantage at the race venue. Southern racers often race more or have closer ties to performance based industries. County kart racers, on the other hand, do not seem to be giving an inch when it comes to competing with their friends.

The technical expertise needed to race karts may be less than a race car, however, it still necessitates being on top of your game to be competitive. One of the most successful doing this is Team JRT of Caribou and their sponsored kart BAS Racing out of Presque Isle.

Crew chief, car chief, head mechanic, whatever you want to call him, Jason Theriault of Caribou knows how to make race karts work. He eats, talks, and breathes kart racing and Briggs and Stratton race engines. I believe he must stay up all night researching the internet for an edge or working on Team JRT karts to get something extra in speed and/or handling.

If there is new set-up tweaks or assists he evaluates their validity and if they seem reasonable will incorporate those ideas into one or more of his karts. His attention to detail has allowed his driver (son Damian) to win for years without a “did not finish”.

Damian has gone undefeated for as long as I can remember. That means excellent preparation of the kart combined with a driver who knows how to keep out of trouble.

Theriault helps prepare the BAS Racing team kart driven by Bryan Searles for action on the track. This young driver has made incredible progress despite his relative inexperience at the top levels of his sport. Searles has a couple of track championships to show for his effort.

Limestone’s Gage Theriault is racing outside the County this season competing at Speedway Karting in Hermon. Theriault has moved up to the Junior kart level after winning many races in Kids Karts at Spud Speedway in Caribou. His family prepared kart has been at the top of the podium twice this season. I suspect his snowmobile racing has helped with his race confidence.

So how did they do? Let us look and see.

Speedway Karting in Hermon Saturday. l to r Winner Damian Theriault, second place Jason Theriault, and third place Daniel Falkingham. Damian Theriault won his second race of the weekend the next day at Richmond Karting Speedway besting second place Samantha Chapman and three others. Team JRT photo

Pre race grid at Speedway Karting , Hermon the Animal engine class. Winner of the race Garrit McKee is in the number 26 . Presque Isle’s Bryan Searles is in the 07 kart which placed second. BAS Racing photo

Junior Animal engine class at Speedway Racing l to r third place Jack McKee, Dixmont, second place Austin Beale, Hampden, and race winner Gage Theriault, Limestone. Gage Theriault Racing photo

Another kart racer with County connections is Colby Martin pictured at Richmond Karting Speedway with his father Shawn Martin. This is win number three this season for the Auburn based team. Colby’s dad is a native of Frenchville. Colby Martin Racing photo

The next race on the Northern Maine Karting Association June 30 Presented by Burger Boy. HTF Motorsports photo

Flying Farmer opens tractor pulling season with runner-up position

Tyler “the Flying Farmer” Raymond in action at the Bridgewater antique tractor pulls. Raymond finished 2nd in the 3000 pound class with his Farmall C, fifth in the 3,500 pound class with the same tractor and third in the 2,500 pound class with his Farmall B. Carol Bell photo

Caribou’s Tyler “the Flying Farmer” Raymond opened his 2018 antique tractor pulling season with a second, third, and fifth at the Bridgewater pulls the last weekend.

Flying Farmer crew chief and father Dan Raymond contemplating how to get a few more feet out of their Farmall tractor. Carol Bell photo

Raymond, the son of Dan and Shelby Raymond, was top points champion in the 3,000 pound class last season The team has prepared another tractor, a 1940 Farmall B for pulling this season. They have nicknamed the tractor “Plan B”. The next pull is the Limestone antique tractor pull June 30th.

A new record at Pikes Peak; its shocking

I am not sure if you have driven up the 14,000 foot plus roadway up Pike Peak in Colorado. If you have, I am sure you can agree that the 12 mile 156 curve road can be scary.

I have driven it twice, both times before the road was paved bottom to top. I scared my wife and daughter when I rode close to the edge with its large drop offs. I visioned the race cars zooming around the curves and swooping through Devil’s Campground as they approach the finish.  One mistake and serious consequences would follow.

In 2013, Sebastian Loeb in a specially built Peugeot 208 T16 set what everyone thought would be a long-lasting record time of 8 minutes and 13.878 seconds. Only a few years prior folks were talking about sub 9 minutes runs would be nearly impossible.

Paving the road completely has made not only faster speeds throughout the entry list, it has increased the risk as well. A couple racers have died in past events. In addition interest in electric-powered racers has increased probably a result of world-wide interest in electric power.

Click on these to see the new record holder, the VW I.D. R electric-powered specially build hillclimb racer whose main purpose was to get the fastest time at Pikes Peak and prove the viability of electric power.

The VW driven by Romain Dumas smashed the record by 16 seconds (7 minutes 57.148 seconds). The course had to be shut down at 3 pm due to hail and snow. The second Jamie Orr photo shows the VW getting ready to ascend the mountain at the conclusion of the race. My thought was how in the world will they make it to the bottom in snow and ice with essentially race slicks. Thanks to Jamie Orr for use of the photos.

I want to end this episode with some Tom Patsis, Cold Hard Art humor and for you Porsche 917 fans some engine noise courtesy Canepa Motorsports.

Sunset at UpNorth Motorsports world headquarters in Westmanland, Maine painted in beautiful red-orange. God has an amazing paint brush.

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