Busiest motorsports week on the calendar

Episode 265

May 26, 2019

In a Motorsports Daze!

This week is one I have been looking forward to for a while knowing that a plethora of motorsports activity was going to take place. The activities did not disappoint.

The week began Thursday when I was invited to attend the Caribou Tech Center’s Morning of Destruction. The Automotive Tech classes were conducting their 15th annual “Heat & Friction Engine Destruction Analysis” preceded by the car crushing demonstration by the Large Equipment Operation bulldozer drivers.

Large Equipment Operation senior Brandon Masse, Caribou, puts the crunch on a soon to be recycled car. Instructor Tom Huston kept a close contact with his operators via the radio. (HTF Motorsports photo)

I enjoyed watching these high school age operators, Mason Patten, Limestone in the seat this time, as much as watching monster trucks. The skills shown by these two operators was impressive. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Drawing tags with a time written on it for expiration of the “Heat & Friction” engine is Welding program’s Trinity St. Pierre, Caribou. Selling the ticket is Automotive Technology member Nate Lebreck, Caswell. Looking on is Lebreck’s grandfather Walt Elliot. Proceeds from the sale help fund the next  test engine. The event was witnessed by over 150 people including Caribou Tech Center students, parents, advisory board members, faculty, and area auto parts store representatives. (HTF Motorsports photo)

After less than two minutes of wide open throttle, the “Heat & Friction” engine shows signs of bad things happening inside. The engine seized moments after this photo. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Note the hole in the oil pan where the connecting rod broke and broke a hole in pan. The rod also broke the camshaft sending it rearward knocking the cam frost plug out into the flywheel. One of the most popular activities of the auto students is the post run destruction analysis which will occur this week. Spectators are kept a safe viewing distance. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The Final Hoosier 100 and Swanson does not win it

USAC Silver Crown drivers after the driver’s meeting at the final race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana. The surface is being converted to a “horse friendly” material which is nor conducive to sprint car racing. (Dave Olson photo)

The 67th and final race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana. USAC Silver Crown podium finishers Left to right Kody Swanson 3rd, winner Tyler “Sunshine” Courtney, and second place Kevin Thomas Jr. Thomas led 92 of the 100 lap race. Courtney’s win broke Swanson’s stranglehold on Hoosier 100 wins having won the last 4. (Josh James Artwork photo)

Friday action at Lucas Oil Raceway

Lucas Oil Raceway, located in Claremont, a mere 10 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the last several years has been the playground for the Swanson brothers, Tanner and Kody. Both had dominated the USAC race with Tanner winning 5 times and Kody 4 wins.

The .686 mile paved oval hosted the Indy Car Pro 200 race in addition to the USAC Silver Crown race. This season I have added 17 year-old Sting Ray Robb to my watch list. I will admit his unique name caught my eye on Facebook plus the fact that he is from Payette, Idaho, a FFA member, and sponsored by Big Idaho Potato.

Road to Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tire podium finishers at Lucas Oil Raceway. Left to right Sting Ray Robb 2nd, winner Danial Frost, Singapore, and Robb’s teammate Rasmus Lindh, Sweden, third. (Road to Indy Pro 2000 photo)

Kody Swanson was on the pole of the USAC Dave Steele Carb Night Classic with his brother Tanner on his outside. The front row starters have the option to go to the rear of the field to seek the Come from the Back Challenge with a $10,000 bonus. Tanner Swanson only races this one race and is not chasing points so he went to the back.

Kody Swanson led the first 53 laps until a restart at lap 53 saw him pull off the track with engine problems. Kyle Hamilton fought with New England’s Bobby Santos III losing the lead on the 73rd lap restart. Hamilton went to the front and won his first Silver Crown race and beat a charging Tanner Swanson who finished second. Bobby Santos finished in third.

With the next to the last finish of Kody Swanson the points race tightened considerably. Swanson now leads Justin Grant by only 6 points with the next race on the dirt at Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania June 14, 2019.

Little 500 dominated by Swanson and Nolen Racing

Nolen Racing team mates Kody Swanson and Shane Hollingsworth led 499 of the 500 lap Little 500 on the 1/4 mile Anderson Speedway. The race is becoming a must attend race similar to the Chili Bowl Nationals at Tulsa, Oklahoma in the winter.

I listened to the race on Anderson’s WHBU online. The announcers must have said a dozen times how Swanson was dominating the race only giving up the lead on pit stops when his team-mate Hollingsworth took over the top spot.

Swanson family in Victory Lane after the victory at 2019 Little 500. Kody is pictured with his son Adam and older brother Trevor, Jordan, his wife and spotter is on right. Swanson has won the race three times 2016, 2018, and 2019. (Chris Gardner photo)

Chris Windom crashes in three races in two days

Sunday morning if I could ask St. Louis race car Driver Chris Windom how he feels, I can almost guarantee that he will reply SORE! Windom, one of the best USAC Silver Crown, Sprint, and Midget drivers began his threesome on Thursday evening while leading the Hoosier 100 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track. On lap two he barrel rolled his Silver Crown Car and walked away from the scary mess.

Chris Windom Silver Crown car in the pits after barrel rolling eight times. (Dan Martin photo)

Chris Windom’s USAC Silver Crown car after barrel rolling on lap 2 at the Hoosier 100 at the final race at Indiana State Fairgrounds. Note how well the roll cage protecting the driver held and what safety equipment properly installed and used can provide. (Dan Martin photo)

The next day Windom was racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Indy Lights Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires when lap two trouble began.

Indy Lights Joey Barnes described it this way, ” David Malukas (No. 78 BN Racing) spun entering Turn 4 and collected USAC standout Chris Windom (No. 17 Belardi Auto Racing). The incident saw Windom’s car climb over Malukas and slide along the top of the SAFER Barrier before coming to rest on the track. Both drivers climbed out of their cars under their own power, but the race was red-flagged for a brief time to allow repairs to the barrier.”

Look at the crash on You Tube if you want to see how the race cars protect their drivers in very dangerous situations.

That race was won by 22-year-old Floridian Oliver Askew who started eighth and worked his way to the front when he made a last-gasp dash to beat Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Norman at the finish line by a tight 0.0067 of a second – the fourth-closest finish in the event’s 17-year history – to take his third win of the 2019 season. (Thanks again to Joey Barnes race report)

After being checked out by medical officials at Methodist Hospital, Windom arrived at Lucas Oil Raceway for the USAC Silver Crown race, The Dave Steele Classic. Long story short, Windom smacked the wall on lap 72 of the 100 lap event. He walked away unscathed once again.

I am happy to report that he did not crash at the Little 500 on Saturday evening. He finished fifth in his Goacher Racing sprint car.

Getting ready to race at Spud Speedway 2019

I am frequently asked if there will be racing at Spud Speedway, Caribou, Maine in 2019. My answer is “Yes!”. Maybe if you could get more folks to read UpNorth Motorsports they would know more about what is going on at the only race track north of Bangor, (Speedway 95 in Hermon).

The Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) will be on the kart track at Spud Speedway, Saturday morning June 1 from 9:30 to 11:30 practicing. Anyone wishing to try kart racing, that we can outfit with safety equipment will be on track at noon. Keep in mind some karts may not fit you. At least come out and see.

Sure sign that racing at Spud Speedway is coming when the race and event dates go on the board at the main entrance. Note the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience. Area businesses are taking time that day to go to the track and drive and have fun. The first of eight NMKA kart race dates is opening day June 15th Presented by Pats Automotive. (HTF Motorsports photo)

HTF Motorsports needs crew members

HTF Motorsports needs two or three crew members to help with racing #10 kart in 2019. There are 8 race dates throughout the summer on Saturday mornings. Crew chief Dick McNeal and I will give on-the-job training. (Stephanie Ball photo)

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