Proof that good guys sometimes win big races

Episode 229

September 9, 2018

Seventeen year old wins the biggest race of his racing career

Often after young person gets a big win, some may think, “That was a fluke, or big money won it, or luck”. I disagree. Roger Penske has a sign over his desk in his office that says E = R (Effort = Results). I think you will see that Harvey, New Brunswick’s Ryan Messer RYAN Motorsports team have put in the effort.

Many times a person is identified as an overnight sensation. I once again tend to disagree. What casual fans may see is a young man or woman winning a big race, however, what may not be apparent is the years of preparation which lead up to being ready to win that event.

Ryan Messer in Victory Lane at age 8. RYAN Motorsports photo

Ryan Messer, Harvey, New Brunswick, began racing karts in 2009 at age 8. The next season, 2010, he moved up to Bandoleros and won the track championship. In 2014 at 13, he moved up to the Atlantic Modifieds Tour  where he was named Rookie of the Year and Points Champion.

2015 Messer once again moved up, this time to Late Model Sportsman and earned Rookie of the Year. He won the 2016 Late Model Sportsman title. In the Pro Stock division in 2017, he was named Rookie of the Year and won his first Pro Stock feature. The points race in 2018 came down to a tiebreaker with Dave O’Blenis who had more wins and was named the champion.

I reviewed comments made by RYAN Motorsports, a family owned Pro Stock race team from Harvey, New Brunswick, on August 26 after losing the season point’s championship on a tiebreaker.¬† I also reminded myself they were dropping back to Late Model Sportsman for 2018 until they reconsidered and decided to stay in the Pro Stock division. (Refer to Episode 187, November 12, 2017)

I link this team’s story directly to life’s story.Tough times will always worm their way into your life, no matter who you are. The way we react to those tough times make us who we are.

The RYAN Motorsports team did not give up or back off despite being handed a potential season ending race night. This is the comment from that evening less than one week before the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250.

Crew chief Robb’s words,”Our race report comes a little late this week; partly because we’ve already spent the day in the shop and partly because it was just too darned sour to sit and write.”

“Our day did not go as we had planned and turned out to be one of the more aggravating days we’ve had. Unfortunately our tire strategy to put 2 right side tires on for the last points race was derailed as there were no appropriately sized tires available. So we were forced to instead put left side tires on and the car did not respond well.”

“We fought this all day and started to make it better by the heat. However, in the feature we were collected in a couple unnecessary cautions that did not help our cause. In the end, we finished 5th and tied for the season points lead but came second on a tie breaker.”

Front end damage on the #1 RYAN Motorsports after the season points finale at Speedway 660 in Geary Woods, New Brunswick. RYAN Motorsports photo

The team got the car repaired in time to load up and head to the race track. Unfortunately misfortune struck once again when the desired tires they wanted for practice were unavailable. Quit? No way.

RYAN Motorsports post dated September 4, 2018 gives us some insight into what winning the 250 and the $15,850 first prize meant.

This is once again, crew chief Robb Messer, “For the first time in 4 days, I feel like I’ve had a chance to catch my breath. So it’s time to finally recap our Speed Weekend and thank some of the people who made it all possible.”

“Our weekend felt like a challenge right from the start as we spent all of last week repairing the car from damage suffered during the final points race. Once at the track on Saturday, we were unable to purchase any tire sizes that would allow us to properly evaluate the car during the Saturday practices.”

“We made a couple of shake down runs, made a couple of adjustments but the car did not respond. Come to find out, we had a left rear tire going down which was causing the issue. We pretty much felt that Saturday was a complete write-off.”

“Sunday practices went OK. The car was not showing a great deal of speed, but we were able to get it driving comfortable for Ryan and he insisted that we would be fine and he could race it with no problem.”

Our draw wasn’t the greatest and we started at the back of Heat #1. After a couple of cautions that helped Ryan advance, he was able to race his way to the front and score the Pole Position for the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 for the second year in a row!”

“The 250 was a roller coaster for sure. We made further adjustments prior to the race and just got the car too loose in the early stages. Ryan managed to stay in the top 10, but it was a struggle.”

“On Lap 69, Ryan reported he had a tire going down. As he fell to the back, we got our first break as a perfectly timed caution came out.”

“We decided to change all 4 tires at lap 70. On the ensuing restart, all hell broke loose and a major wreck collected a number of the front running cars. This was our second lucky break as Ryan was at the rear of the field and managed to avoid the wreck.”

“After an extended red flag, we decided to pit again before going green to make further adjustments. Once green, Ryan began to steadily march towards the front of the field.”

Ryan Messer in the #1 Pro Stock takes the lead for good with 13 laps to go in the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250. Mike Francis photo

“Although he did not lead many laps during the middle/late stages, he fought for the lead with several cars. Finally Ryan took the lead with 13 laps to go and sailed to the win on tires with 190 laps on them!”

Speedway 660 SpeedWeek Finale, Andy Fox, owner of McLaughlin Roof Trusses and the sponsor of the 250 , runner-up Steve Halpin, St. John, N.B. race winner Ryan Messer, Harvey, N.B. and third place the legendary Lonnie Sommerville, Barnesville, N.B. Mike Francis photo

“There are many to thank; I’m sure I will miss some. We have the greatest group of sponsors behind us and it is so awesome to have so many of you in attendance. Thank you to each of you for your support. Thanks to our crew guys Dave Alexander and Tristan Harris. You guys have been rock solid all year. Also Thank you to the guys (& gal) that helped us pit the car, Bradley Logan, Jake Logan, Lucas Murch, Justin Cole, Jamie Painter and Jess Grant.”

“I lastly want to thank Andy Fox and McLaughlin Roof Trusses. His support for this event is awesome and the opportunity he provided our team last year driving one of his cars made it possible for us to make the leap to Pro Stock. We would never have done that without his help.”

“We are so proud of our driver. He is incredibly talented behind the wheel and humble and gracious in everything he does. Nice work Ryan.”

Ryan Messer in the pre-race zone at Speedway 660. Ryan Motorsports photo

David Wilson, New Brunswick remarked, “I watched every replay I could find and Ryan’s driving ability goes way beyond his years. Cool, calm, smart, yet aggressive.He was able to relay to the team what he needed and they came through. The whole program is impressive.RYAN Motorsports rocks!”

Monsters invade Caribou’s Spud Speedway

Spud Speedway in Caribou hosted their second major event of the 2018 season featuring monster trucks, enduro race, motocross, Tuff trucks, motorcycle big air, and demo derby in an evening of noise, daring, and excitement.

Photo of some of the estimated 1200 fans at Spud Speedway’s Monster Truck Show at sunset. Photo courtesy Donald Rideout

Pit party before the Monster Truck Show at Spud Speedway featuring CrushStation, Lumber Jack, and Anger Management. Diane Huntress Leavitt photo

Preparation of the Big Air jump was done by MDMX owner Mark McKissick, Caribou and Ethan LeBlanc, Hamlin. LeBlanc seen here testing the jump during construction. MDMX photo

Spud Speedway Monster Truck Show Demo Derby won by Jackie Abar in center. Spud Speedway photo

Winners at Spud Speedway Monster Truck Show:

Tuff Trucks- Derek Finnemore

Enduro- Wayne Fox, Junior

Demolition Derby- Jackie Abar

ATV Quad-War- Bryson Brown

Motocross race- Ethan LeBlanc

Motorcycle Big Air contest- Wyatt Keegan

CrushStation won the Wheelie and Freestyle competition for Monster Trucks and Lumber Jack won the Side-by-Side race for Monster Trucks

Big Air and Tuff Truck/Motocross track designer, Mark McKissick, Caribou said, “Everything went great. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of them(MDMX riders Ethan LeBlanc, Wyatt Keegan, and Dana Sletterink).”

“The crowd responded really well to it also. I was also happy to see how the track performed. It was unfortunate about the accidents, but a great event and it was incredible to be a part of it. I think my favorite thing was seeing the Monster Trucks use my jumps.”

More about the Monster Truck Show in the next episode.

Spud Speedway season finale

Two of the Senior Cage Karts, Damian Theriault left and Tom Hale right will be in action at NMKA Triple-Header Invitational. NMKA photo

Racing at Spud Speedway in Caribou will conclude with the Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) Triple-Header State Invitational, Saturday September 22 Presented by Machias Savings Bank. Nine feature races will be run and champions for 2018 will be crowned. Racers from throughout central and northern Maine are expected to race that day.

Pit’s will open at 9:30 AM with a $10 fee. Racing will be getting underway at noon. Grandstand viewing is free. Pizza will follow the racing action with awards concluding the NMKA racing season.

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