Caribou Tech Center Light Parade floats are a hit

Episode 240

December 2, 2018

Local Tech Center impressive at Presque Isle Light Parade

With a captive audience of thousands lining the streets of Presque Isle, over 60 students and instructors from Caribou Technical Center put together a very impressive mobile display of technical careers offered at their school. The judges were in agreement that this group deserved “Parade Champion” honors.

Several Facebook posts noted that folks may not have known the school offered these quality programs to those in the greater Caribou area. Some of their comments are here.

Leading the Caribou Tech Center floats, these students hold a banner showing the communities served by their school. (Dave Allen Graphics photo)

Caribou’s Jennifer Plante, ” Caribou Tech did an awesome job. The kids and teachers put in a lot of time and effort to showcase many of the great programs offered to central Aroostook high schoolers.
Kudos to every participating float, many of whom are also contributing to community and holiday spirit at the St. Apollonia Festival of Trees this weekend!”

Auto Mechanics Blazer with Northern Maine Karting Association Senior Cage Kart 2018 Champion Damian Theriault aboard. (Tracy Devoe photo)

Northern Maine Antique Tractor Association (NMATC) member/photographer Carol Bell commented, “I loved Caribou Tech, now that was some great advertising, Everyone around me was saying ‘I had no idea’. Great job Caribou Tech!”

As a former Agriculture Instructor/FFA Advisor for 38 years at Caribou Tech Center, I must show my bias by including the Ag students of Scott Moir in my blog. Students are showcasing the John Deere tractor that they had a hand in restoring. Look for more motorsports stories coming from this group, the Caribou FFA in a future episode. (Tracy Devoe photo)

Speaking about motorsports, racer and now Presque Isle City Councilor Jeff Willette noted in his comment, “Caribou Tech, very impressive!! Star of the show!!”

A unique display was the actually welding process demonstrated by welding program students, Sebastian Marquis, and Dominic St. Peter, Caribou, along with Ethan Cullins, Fort Fairfield. A portable generator/welder was put into action. Welding curtains protected the crowd from harmful rays yet at the same time provided an interesting light show of their own. (Tracy Devoe photo)

Former Christmas tree grower, Gaye Richards noted, “Fantastic parade, I was very impressed! Great job to Caribou Tech! I didn’t know you served so many communities and offered all those trades! Very good for the County, your entrance was so very impressive!”

This sign on the back of the school bus certainly sizes up my feelings as well as many others. I hope parents will consider technical education as a viable pathway forward for their daughter or son. (Tracy Devoe photo)

Baxley’s Speed Shop gives real world advice to students

Charlie Baxley,(owner) left foreground and Dylan Dupee (technician) of Baxley’s Speed Shop in Windham hosted the Automotive Technology class from Southern Maine Community College. While at Baxley’s the students were treated to a dyno run. The students were accompanied by instructors Joseph Moore and Rick O’Brian. Other instructors in the program are Ruth Morrison, Paul Ferron, and James Daniels. (Baxley’s Speed Shop photo)

Once again Charlie Baxley and his technician Dylan Dupee gave back to the education community by hosting a group of student at their Windham shop. The importance of a real world look at what can be done in the automotive world can be eye-opening for some students.

“We are humbled they asked,” said Baxley. “Glad to share what we do and hopefully inspire or even teach them something.”

Cumberland Motor Club (CMC)  member Dan Morency, from the Freeport area, noted the visit saying, “Thanks for supporting our local schools Charlie!”.

Morency also had an excellent suggestion for Baxley’s and students, ” I think that in exchange for training and you filling out some simple progress reports, an establishment such as yours should be able to get an unpaid student for an afternoon once a week. It would be amazing opportunity for teens to see what a real job was like and a way to get vocational skills. Do that for a couple of years and be well prepared for a full-time job with experience”.

“For you, sweep the floor, oil changes, customer service, add skills over time from oil changes to brake jobs etc… add ASE certifications over time and teach how someone can either work for a larger shop or branch out on their own.”

“I just dropped off my truck for service today. My independent shop is so busy he stopped answering the phone and isn’t taking new customers. What an opportunity for a skilled mechanic with a two bay garage to become their own boss… perhaps adding another bay and another employee or growing into a bigger space over time.”

“How to do that, by utilizing the first rule of free market capitalism, satisfy and exceed the customer’s expectations. You can teach them wonderful, real world lessons!”

To contact Baxley’s Speed Shop find them on Facebook or their website

Motorsports “Bucket List

Wikipedia says, “In North America, a variation of the idiom is ‘kick off’. A related phrase is to “hand in one’s dinner pail”, a bucket that contains a worker’s dinner. Another variation, ‘bucket list‘, or a list of things to do before one dies, is derived from “to kick the bucket“.

So that is where the term comes from! Here is my motorsports version of the “Bucket List” at this point of my life. Not in a prioritized order I might add.

A) Visit the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. The time conflicts with the busiest week/weekend in the Christmas tree sales business. I have not yet dared to leave for the five or six days to do it justice. Bob Alexander says, “Just sign up and do it”.

B) Cover the Indianapolis 500 for UpNorth Motorsports. I have covered six Brickyard 400 races from the fabled track, however, no trips in May to the IndyCar event.

C) Visit race shops in Charlotte, however, I want an insider’s view with chances to ask crew members questions and rub elbows with the people who make these teams work. I have found that every one of these fabricators and mechanics have interesting stories which need to be told. If they are from Maine or New England that is a bonus.

D) Get to a USAC Silver Crown race that has Kody Swanson at the wheel. If he wins that day, it is a bonus. I want to hear those engines and smell the dirt and methanol. That is quite a combination.

E) Watch Austin Theriault in whatever series he races in be it Camping World trucks or Xfinity or someday Cup races. I am ever the optimist that his break will come. My desire of course is sooner rather than later.

F) Attend as a reporter, an American RallyCross (ARX) event. I think the format for these races is a winner with short exciting races held on dirt and asphalt. These guys are talented, with 600 plus horsepower in cars the size of my wife’s Toyota Yaris.

G) Be an adjunct crew member of a race team with actual responsibilities even if those responsibilities are supplying water to the pit crew. Maybe I might get to keep a crew uniform????

H) Double or triple the size of the Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) with more and more youngsters getting a taste of racing at a reasonable price. They have a place to race, Spud Speedway. We need to get those interested in a kart and find out what it is like to experience g forces in the corners that test the muscles in your neck, or race at speed with less that one inch from your kart chassis to the race surface.

I) Meet and have time to talk one-on-one with Karl Kainhofer. Karl was the master mechanic for Penske Racing in the 60’s and early 70’s when he took over the engine program for awhile. He knew Mark Donohue well thus I would pick his brain for what Donohue was like to work with. If any of you have a Kainhofer connection, I would love to utilize it.

J) Visit a NASCAR, USAC, Roush Yates, Ilmor, TRD, or IndyCar engine building facility and maybe see one of those engines run on a dyno. I know I would not be allowed to take photos, however, I can store that memory in my head.

There are many more on my list but I do not want to bore you with them. Send me your personal “bucket list” to  I might use it in a future UpNorth Motorsports episode.

Bucket List PRI Trade Show

I mentioned that the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, held yearly around the first of December in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indiana Convention Center, is the place to go if you work in the racing industry. It is trade-only admission. No race fan admissions.

With over 1,100 exhibitors utilizing 3,300 booths, the show hosts buyer from all 50 states and 70 countries.

The 31st Annual PRI Trade Show kicks off with the Grand Opening Breakfast at the Sagamore Ballroom and will feature Indy 500 champions Al Unser Senior and Al Unser Junior. (Photo courtesy Performance Racing Industry)

The show also features PRI Seminars ranging from Sponsorship Success Stories to How to Understand Used Oil Analysis Results and How to Understand Them.

For more information visit

Local Racers will be at PRI Trade Show

The Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) team will be there at the unveiling of their re-bodied super late-model. The car has been at Clattenburg Racing Fabrication directly after finishing 9th at the PASS race at Hickory in November. The Salisbury, North Carolina shop has, along with Jody Measamer- Measamer Motorsports mounted the new for 2019 Chevrolet AR Bodies to the WAR/Clattenburg chassis.

The new 2019 AR Body being installed at Clattenburg Racing Fabrication. The 2019 paint scheme will be revealed at the PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis this week. The team will be at the AR Bodies booth. (WAR photo)

The new paint scheme will be unveiled at the PRI Show as well as the new style super late-model body parts. I expect the Alexander family will be supplying me with plenty of photos and inside information for next week’s episode.

Last year at the ARCA Championship Awards, Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault was named the 2017 Series Champion. The ARCA and USAC Awards ceremonies coincide with the PRI Show. ARCA is Saturday and USAC Friday. (AT Racing photo)

Austin Theriault will be at the trade show once again this week. He stated the importance of the show to him,”I’ve been a regular PRI attendant for several years now. The show is great because it’s attended by many leaders and influencers in the Motorsports industry. I met Kenny Schrader there in 2016 and we made history just 2 months later winning Daytona, on the way to a record-breaking Championship season”.

Kody Swanson at speed at Indiana State Fairgrounds one mile dirt track. (Rich Foreman photo)

In addition my friend, Kody Swanson will be at  the 63rd Annual USAC Night of Champions Friday December 7 in downtown Indy. He earned the 2018 Silver Crown Championship with 5 wins, 9 top ten finishes, most laps lead (388 closest to him was Justin Grant with 99 laps led), most Fastest Time Awards (3), and is atop the all time USAC Silver Crown wins the list with 24 features. on Saturday evening. This is Swanson’s fourth Silver Crown Championship.

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)


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