Triple Header kart racing action at Spud Speedway

Episode 231

September 22, 2018

Northern Maine Karting Association Triple Header season finale

For the last several weeks I have been trying to do stretching exercises and stay active because I knew the NMKA Triple Header race day was coming. The race kart needed preparation yes, however, the driver  needed to be ready as well. Racing laps would total 75 not counting practice.

I am happy to report a couple of positive results from the race event. Typically my race crew consists of crew chief Dick McNeal and me. It is difficult to get everything accomplished that needs to be done to be competitive with only the two of us old geezers.

All season long I put out requests for pit crew help and for the season finale I got help. My good friend and mission trip to Bogotá traveler, Neighbors First project leader, and fellow entrant into the Amazing Race tryout, Gabe Cheney, Mapleton, volunteered to help. He brought with him another Bogotá missions trip companion, Andrew Blackstone from Washburn. These two rugged guys made my day much more fun and prevented Dick and I from having to do much heavy lifting.

HTF Motorsports pit crew for NMKA Triple-Header, l to r Gabe Cheney with daughter Adeline, Andrew Blackstone, yours truly, and crew chief Dick McNeal. HTF Motorsports photo

My sponsor/partner, Darick Williams, owner of Aroostook Limousines and ACE Car Rental showed up with his family and offered great encouragement. I would be remiss if I failed to mention my wife, Donna, came to cheer me on as well.

Earlier in the day the #10 HTF Motorsports kart made a stop at JRT Customs to have a chassis tune up before the big race. The kart ran well despite spinning several times in practice. I remember reading this week that F1 great Gilles Villeneuve spun his race car to find the limit when he first began to learn a new course.

It had to happen after all these years of trying; heat race number three I caught up with points champion Damian Theriault and in the last two laps passed and beat him to the stripe. That was the only time in years that I beat him in a heat race or feature.

His father, Jason, got Damian’s #53  kart running properly again and he went on to win his third feature of the day. It did however give me some encouragement that if he did have a problem I could still win. Plus it was nice to have my expanded crew and my wife see me actually win a race.

Aroostook Savings and Loan Senior Cage Kart lineup before race at Spud Speedway. l to r Janet Bosse #45, Jason Theriault #14, Tom Hale #10 and inside pole #53 Damian Theriault. Team JRT photo

The NAPA Auto Parts Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) Triple Header Season Finale Presented by Machias Savings Bank results

Aroostook Federal Savings and Loan Senior Cage Karts

Damian Theriault center is congratulated by Machias Savings Bank Vice President JR Belanger on left. NMKA Race Director Pierre Huntress Race on right. NMKA photo

Feature races one, two and three (all had same results)

1) Damian Theriault, Caribou

2) Janet Bosse, Caribou

3) Tom Hale, Westmanland

Aroostook Trusses Junior Cage Karts

Aroostook Trusses Junior Cage Kart participants in NMKA Triple-Header Presented by Machias Savings Bank l to r Kyle Russell, Easton, Kyle Morton, Eddington, Bryan Searles, Presque Isle, Maddy and Mason Gillis, Detroit, and NMKA Race Director Pierre Huntress. NMKA photo

Feature race one

1) Bryan Searles, Presque Isle

2) Kyle Morton, Eddington

3) Madison Gillis, Detroit

Feature race two

1) Bryan Searles, Presque Isle

2) Madison Gillis, Detroit

3) Mason Gillis, Detroit

Feature race three

1) Kyle Morton, Eddington

2) Bryan Searles, Presque Isle

3) Madison Gillis, Detroit

Blacked Out Window Tint Kids Karts

Blacked Out Window Tint Kids Kart Triple Header participants left Kyle Russell, Easton and Kayden Haines, Caribou with NMKA Race Director Pierre Huntress. Kids Karts racers get participation awards. NMKA Photo

Participants awards only

Kyle Russell, Easton

Kayden Haines, Caribou

NMKA Driver of the Day Award went to six-year old Kyle Russell, Easton. Russell did double duty, racing in both the Kids Kart class and Junior Cage Kart class. Russell is pictured with race presenter Machias Savings Bank Vice-President JR Belanger and NMKA Race Director Pierre Huntress. NMKA photo

Points champions for 2018

Aroostook Trusses Junior Cage Karts

1) Bryan Searles, Presque Isle

2) Kyle Morton, Eddington

3) Madison Gillis, Detroit

4) Mason Gillis, Detroit

5) Kyle Russell, Easton

note… This is thirteen year old Bryan Searles 4th points championship at Spud Speedway. He has also won the points championship at Thundering Valley Raceway, St. Albans

Aroostook Savings and Loan Senior Cage Karts

1) Damian Theriault, Caribou

2) Tom Hale, Westmanland

3) Janet Bosse, Caribou

4) Jason Theriault, Caribou

note…Damian Theriault, a junior at Caribou High School, has won the senior cage kart class all four years he has competed in this class. He has not lost a feature race at Spud Speedway in that four-year time span. He has amassed 13 career points championships total at Spud Speedway, Richmond Karting Speedway, and Speedway Karting in Hermon.

NMKA race day staff l to r Diane Huntress Leavitt, chief scorer, Jody Green infield safety, Marcel Bosse, flagman and safety officer, and Pierre Huntress race director. NMKA thanks all of the race officials. NMKA photo

The “garage” at HTF Motorsports is empty with the 2018 kart racing season coming to an end. HTF Motorsports photo

Swanson 4 time USAC Silver Crown Champion

I have been following the racing career of Kingsburg, California native, Kody Swanson since he got out of high school. It all started with a feature in National Speed Sport News which highlighted up and coming young racers. In that article, I noted that Swanson was the Kingsburg FFA Chapter President.

I was Caribou FFA Advisor for 38 years and when someone combined two of my favorite things, FFA and motorsports I take note. I made contact with Kody and followed his efforts at college and later when he moved to the Indianapolis area to pursue a career in motorsports.

Immediately after talking to Swanson for the first time when he moved to Indy, I was impressed with how polite he was to a FFA Advisor who he had not met. We worked out some details on meeting at the National FFA Convention in October that year. He and his brother Tanner had a display at the FFA Career Show. Despite a busy schedule, both he and brother Tanner made time for those FFA members from Caribou.

I recommended that the FFA New Horizons magazine staff do an article about this outstanding FFA member. They not only wrote about him, there was some filming done featuring Swanson.

In subsequent years, Swanson arranged for the members of the Kingsburg FFA and Caribou FFA to meet at a slippery track outside Indianapolis to enjoy some track time with Swanson and brother, Tanner. My students and the California FFA members had the track all to themselves and had a great time. Many still talk about that experience in conversation now.

Back to 2018. Swanson became the first to win four USAC Silver Crown championships surpassing Bud Kaeding who had three (2006, 2007, & 2009). Swanson also became the all-time wins leader with 24 wins displacing Jack Hewitt who held the record of 23 for nearly three decades.

Kody Swanson with family and DePalma Motorsports team celebrating his fourth USAC Silver Crown championship and the teams fifth championship in a row. Photo is from Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, Ohio. Rich Forman photo

Five back-to-back wins in Silver Crown through the summer gave him the longest winning streak in USAC held also by Jack Hewitt. That performance allowed Swanson to win the season title by 82 points over second place Justin Grant.

The team owner’s championship went to his car owner Bob Hampshire’s DePalma Motorsports. This was the fifth owners championship for the Lima Ohio based team which is also a record performance.

Swanson’s spotter is his wife Jordan. When asked about her feelings about her husband and the DePalma team she said, “Proud beyond words of the accomplishments that Kody and the DePalma team have achieved in 5 short years! We are so fortunate to be a part of this amazing team and racing family, and wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

The winner of the USAC Silver Crown finale at Eldora was C.J. Leary with Kevin Thomas Jr second, Shane Cottle third, Jason McDougal fourth and Swanson fifth. If you want to watch classic Silver Crown action go to USAC Racing Facebook page and click on 4 Crown Nationals video.

What has Cold Hard Art welder/ fabricator/owner been up to?

Tom Patsis, Cold Hard Art (CHA) welder/fabricator gets ready to put it all on the line in the Baer Field Motorsports Park’s “Grocery Getter Classic” 24 Hour Endurance Race in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The “Grocery Getter Classic” claims to be the only one of its kind in the United States.. Patsis car went out early with mechanical issues. Cold Hard Art photo

Look for motocross coverage in next week’s episode as I get an education on motorcycle racing in the County.

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