Snowmobile endurance racing season finale in Caribou

Episode 257

March 24, 2019

Tame the Track Snowmobile Tour season concludes in Caribou

The 2019 Tame the Track Snowmobile Tour eight race season began January 19th at Shin Pond and came to an exciting conclusion in Caribou with the 2nd Annual Mega Meltdown Race to benefit  Brian’s Ride Cancer Fund. When I pulled into the venue Saturday morning, I immediately noticed that the crowd had to be larger than in 2018. The warm weather probably helped increase the numbers since the 2018 edition was bitterly cold.

A mix of racers and fans filled the area on the north side of the track. It seemed like interaction between the groups lent itself to a family friendly atmosphere.

I was able to get a ride on the safety sled of Keith Dumond between races while the trail groomer was in action. I gained a new-found appreciation for what the racers had to endure in those tough track conditions. I guarantee many of them were sore the next day!

Series promoter Jere Humphrey commented, “The members of the Tame the Track Snowmobile Tour, who were battling for one of the fifteen points championship titles, were ready for the tough competition, despite the wet and nasty travel weather.   Races included the prestigious special events, Brian’s Bracket Challenge and the Trail 600 special thirty lap feature.”

“Several familiar faces reached the podium again this week for the final time, after battling fierce competition, all day long.”

“Great showing by all the race teams, with a good crowd on hand watching the thrilling action on a pleasant winter day. Thank you once again for all the supportive and dedicated race teams and families, as this week’s race was not only the last of the season, but also the largest entry list of 2019, with well over 139 total entries.”

Travelling the greatest distance to race was third place finisher MJ Timpane, Lakeville, Minnesota. MJ is the son of one of my former students Haley Ouellette Timpane and her husband Erik. MJ was on the sled of his Uncle Scott Moir. They remarked that several veteran racers were very helpful even loaning them a part which allowed them more speed in the feature race. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Dysart’s Truck Stop KIDS 120cc STOCK —
1st Kaleb Partridge: Charleston, Polaris
2nd Trenton Hanscom: Benton, Polaris
3rd MJ Timpane: Lakeville, Minnesota, Polaris

Northern Maine Karting Association kart racer, Gage Theriault, Limestone, placed second in 120 Improved. after winning his heat race. (GT Racing photo)

Witham’s Heating KIDS 120cc IMPROVED —
1st Riley Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Polaris
2nd Gage Theriault: Limestone, Arctic Cat
3rd Mason Silva: Hudson, Arctic Cat

Witham’s Paving & Machias Savings KIDS 120cc MODIFIED –
1st Emmett Walker: New Vineyard, Arctic Cat
2nd Kaden Rose: Skowhegan, Arctic Cat
3rd Riley Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Polaris

Katahdin Motorsports & Pro Industrial Plus KIDS 200 STOCK
1st Kaden Rose: Skowhegan, Arctic Cat
2nd Jayden Huff: Skowhegan, Arctic Cat
3rd Jayce Rose: Skowhegan, Yamaha

Casella Waste Systems WOMEN’S INVITATIONAL —
1st Katie Letourneau: Turner, Polaris
2nd Alley Ripley: Center Ossipee, NH, Yamaha
3rd Haley Brownell: Ossipee, NH, Yamaha

1st Aiden Murray: Turner, Arctic Cat
2nd Trevor Eldridge: Ossipee, NH, Yamaha
3rd Austin Witham: Levant, Yamaha

Houlton Powersports & RV TEENS INVITATIONAL —
1st Caleb Morris: Turner, Arctic Cat
2nd Henry Moneypenny: West Ossipee, NH, Yamaha
3rd Christian Hanscom: Benton, Yamaha

The vintage sled racing legend Mike Morris, Hartford, with his Arctic Cat before winning the single cylinder race at the Mega Meltdown in Caribou.. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Blanchard’s Towing & Recovery SINGLE CYLINDER STOCK
1st Mike Morris: Turner, Arctic Cat
2nd Nathan Alexander: Hermon, Sno Jet
3rd Ryan Sullivan: Auburn, Arctic Cat

Harry’s Motorsports & Equipment SINGLE CYLINDER MODIFIED —
1st Justin Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Sno Jet
2nd Mike Morris: Turner, Arctic Cat
3rd Caleb Morris: Turner, Arctic Cat

Justin Hartford, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire with his Yamaha 340 Enticer in the 340 stock class at Meg Meltdown 2019 in Caribou. (Jamie Hathcock photo)

Renegade Race Fuels 340 STOCK —
1st Justin Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Yamaha
2nd Daytona Gould: Dexter, Arctic Cat
3rd Mike Morris: Turner, Arctic Cat

Savage Paint & Body 340 MODIFIED —
1st Justin Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Yamaha
2nd Brian Gendreau: Madawaska, Polaris
3rd Daytona Gould: Dexter, Arctic Cat

Bangor Motorsports & J McLaughlin Construction 440 STOCK —
1st Daytona Gould: Dexter, Arctic Cat
2nd Shawn Berry: Center Ossipee, NH, Yamaha
3rd Justin Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Yamaha

Nick Huff, Hampden, (right) is congratulated by Jere Humphrey, Tame the Track Tour promoter, for winning the 440 Modified class. Huff is the commentator for East Coast SnoCross and Loudon Road Race Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (HTF Motorsports photo)

O’Reilly Auto Parts 440 Modified —
1st Nick Huff: Hampden, Arctic Cat
2nd Shawn Berry: Center Ossipee, NH, Yamaha
3rd Daytona Gould: Dexter, Arctic Cat

1st Rate Bait and Cyr & Sons Repair IFS 440 STOCK —
1st Joe Pelletier: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat
2nd Justin Hartford: Wolfeboro, NH, Ski Doo
3rd Caleb Morris: Turner, Arctic Cat

Mission Trailers & Unifirst IFS OUTLAW —
1st Joe Pelletier: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat
2nd Brandon Ouellette: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat
3rd Daytona Gould: Dexter, Arctic Cat

Winner of Brian’s Brackett Joe Pelletier (with trophy) is congratulated by Pam Caldwell to his right. Pelletier races the Last Chance Motorsports Arctic Cat owned by Jere Humphrey to his left. Pelletier won both qualifying heats, IFS Stock 440, and IFS Outlaw classes. He finished third in the 30 lap Trail 600.(HTF Motorsports photo)

Brian’s Bracket Challenge Winner —
Joe Pelletier: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat
Runner Up: Landon Collins: Wolfeboro, NH, Yamaha

Landon Collins and his mother Jamie Hathcock, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, after he placed second in the Brian’s Bracket Challenge 2019. Jamie has provided many of the photos I have used in UpNorth Motorsports coverage of the Tame the Track Tour this season. Thank you Jamie! (Elizabeth Agnew-Hartford photo)

Willette’s Automotive Holeshot Awards —
Kids 120cc Modified — Emmett Walker
Women’s Invitational — Alley Ripley
Teens Invitational — Christian Hanscom
Single Cylinder Stock — Justin Hartford
340 Stock — Christian Hanscom
440 Stock — Daytona Gould
440 Modified –Shawn Berry
IFS 440 Stock –Daytona Gould

Brandon Ouellette, Fort Kent, secret weapons, sled tuners nephew Tucker Ouellette on front and his friend and fellow race tuner Savannah Pelletier in the rear. Supervisor (and Savannah’s mom) Allie Pelletier on right. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Installations Unlimited Trail 600 30 Lap Finale Winner purse –$300.00 and Runner Up $125.00
1st Brandon Ouellette: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat
2nd Henry Moneypenny: West Ossipee, NH, Ski Doo
3rd Joe Pelletier: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat                                                              Holeshot Award — Henry Moneypenny: West Ossipee, NH, Ski Doo
Halfway Leader Award — Brandon Ouellette: Fort Kent, Arctic Cat

Jere Humphrey concluded saying, “Congratulations to all the race teams who competed @ the “Mega Meltdown” Vintage & Kids Endurance Races.  Double points will be awarded to all VVCS active members, to keep the competition in check, for the season points tally.”

The event raised more money for Brian’s Ride Cancer Fund than in 2018 according to event organizers.

Austin Theriault qualifies at Martinsville and will make his Cup debut

After qualifying the #92 Rickie Benton Racing Ford F-150 in 26th, Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault awaits the start of the TruNorth Global 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Theriault went on to finish 22 only 2 laps down to the winner Kyle Busch. (AT Racing photo)

Austin Theriault will be running two more races in the Ford F-150 for Ricky Benton Racing, Charlotte May 17th and Bristol August 15. Each race in the truck series will require him to qualify on speed.

Theriault announced last week that he will be driving for Old Orchard Beach native Archie St. Hilaire’s North Carolina based GoFas Racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway July 21, Michigan August 11, Richmond September 21, and Talladega October 13th. Each of those NASCAR Monster Energy races will require him to qualify their Ford Mustang on speed.

Theriault will join Connecticut native Corey Lajoie on the GoFas Team. Lajoie’s father Randy Lajoie, competed at Spud Speedway, then known as Aroostook County International Speedway, Sunday July 1984 with the Stroh’s Tour in the Steego 100 which was won by Tom Glaser. Randy Lajoie finished 4th in that race.

If Theriault can qualify, he will be the first Maine racer to qualify in a NASCAR Cup Series race since Rickie Craven in 2004 at Talladega. Additional races in the top series have not been ruled out.

WAR shows sign of speed in season debut

Wyatt Alexander #96 after the MTP Tire Super Late Model CARS Tour 150. Some different than in 2018 when the car was banged up. Wyatt finished 8th after being sent to the rear of the field twice. (WAR photo)

The hard work over the winter seems to be paying off as the Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) made their season debut at Hickory Motor Speedway, Hickory, North Carolina in the CARS Tour 2019.

Twice the team finished atop the leaderboard in practice sessions. The speed continued in qualifying when Alexander earned the 4th place starting spot just .072 seconds out of first. Qualifying in third just ahead of the Ellsworth, Maine native was Alabama’s Bubba Pollard, one of the hottest short track racers in racing today.

During the race, Alexander led several times until a restart. Crew chief, Bob Alexander explains what happened.

“Wyatt quickly mage it into the lead and checked out. He kept a comfortable lead, using only as much of his tires as needed. He reported over the radio that he was using only one-quarter throttle to stay in front of any challengers.”

“We led over half of the race until restarts resulting from competition yellow flags.”

“Confusion as to the location of the Cars Tour restart zone , not between two bright pink lines 30 feet apart painted across the track on exit of turn four as one might expect and as used by the PASS tour in our previous races at Hickory but actually starting at the second line. This resulted in a warning the first time, which was unheard by our spotter and a penalty the second time for restarting too soon.”

“The penalty resulted in Wyatt being placed last on the field from first. Another incident from accidental contact with another car resulted in another penalty for rough driving which took him from 8th place to last again.”

“We ended the night in 8th place. Overall very happy with our performance but discussing with the results as we felt clearly that we had the winning car.”

“Overall it was just a misunderstanding on our part that created the situation. We were very happy with the performance of our CRF chassis and our home-built engine package. We will learn from it and move on to the next race knowing that we have a team, driver and equipment that will be front-runners at any event that we compete at.

The race team is discussing when and where their next race will be.

Swanson wins USAC Silver Crown season opener with new team

One of the most difficult tasks in racing is to win a race in your debut with a new race team, Despite the odds stacked against him, California native, Kody Swanson brought home the Nolen Racing #20 to Victory Circle at the USAC Silver Crown Memphis 100 on the Tennessee 3/4 mile paved banked oval.

A familiar sight, Kody Swanson in the #20 leads Bobby Santos III and David Byrne at Memphis Speedway. Santos finished second and Bryne tenth. (Brad Plant photo)

This was Swanson’s 25th Silver Crown victory and his first for Nolen Racing. The win was Nolen Racings first pavement win since July 27, 1995 when Jim Keeker beat second place Tony Stewart at Indianapolis Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway). Last year Nolen Racing won on the dirt two times with driver Chris Windom.

From Richie Murray, USAC media report, “During Friday’s practice, Swanson practiced both of Nolen’s cars.  They had their primary car pulled apart on pit lane during the session after a brand-new driveshaft dealt them trouble.”

“Meanwhile, the team pulled out their backup and Swanson put some laps on it to make sure it was ready to run.  Swanson jumped back into the primary with a new driveshaft and proceeded to set the fastest lap of the afternoon.”

“Fast forward to race day on Saturday, Swanson took to practice back in the primary before encountering what he described as a fluke engine part issue.  Nolen once again had to roll the backup car out where they tweaked on the chassis to get it to where Kody felt it was at its best.  Enter qualifying and Swanson put it on the pole position.”

“Easy as clockwork, right?  Of course not, but with Swanson as part of the operation, he almost makes it seem that way on the regular.”

‘I’m exhausted; I’m elated; I don’t even know what to feel,’ Swanson exclaimed.  ‘I’m very grateful.  I haven’t been to my day job since Tuesday.  I could see the writing on the wall that we were already in a corner then.’

‘We had guys that were there into the wee hours of the morning with me almost every night this week, then back at it the next day, just digging for all we were worth to be ready.’

‘We got one ready and dug deep enough to get the other one ready just in case,’ Swanson explained.  ‘You hate to think you’d ever have a failure and need it, but we did, and it was ready to come in off the bench and do a great job for us.’

The USAC Silver Crown Series heads to the Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, Indiana for the Fatheadz Eyewear “Sumar Classic” on April 14, 2019.

NMKA race karts on display at Presque Isle Forum

Several area youngsters wanted to at least sit in a real race kart . Lydia Brown of Mapleton seemed to get in the swing of it quickly in a Kids Kart driven during the race season by Caribou’s Kayden Haines. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The Northern Maine Karting Association displayed each of their three classes of race karts at the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club “Swing into Spring” at the Forum Saturday and Sunday. Track Safety and PR helper Wade Bright and I explained the schedule and classes as well as how to get started in kart racing at Spud Speedway this summer to dozens of interested parents and potential race drivers.

On Sunday Wade Bright was joined by Team JRT members Jason Theriault and Janet Bosse who answered many questions about kart racing.

Safety worker/PR helper Wade Bright on left draws the winner of a race day family pass. The pass allows a family to attend a NMKA kart race at Spud Speedway in the pits for no charge. Interested racers may attend the  Test, Tune, and Try-out session at Spud Speedway at noon on June 1st. At that time they will be able to drive an actual race kart on the track. Interested persons should contact NMKA officials through the Facebook page. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Northern Maine Antique Tractor Club restored tractor makes its public debut

The last time you saw Norm Driscoll of Presque Isle and the NMATC tractor restoration project in a previous episode, the tractor was still in pieces. Since that time the tractor, a 1945 John Deere Model H has been painted and awaits its new owner via a raffle by the club. The funds raised will benefit area charitable organizations. The raffle drawing will be in the fall of 2019. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Part III of the Don Garlits interview will be in episode 258 next week as will WAR Crew Chief Bob Alexander at the Owls head Transportation Museum.

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:14-16)


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