Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 helps Feed the County

Episode 275

August 5, 2019

DJ Shaw, Center Conway, New Hampshire, takes the checkered flag at the Firecracker 200 Super Late Model race at Spud Speedway Sunday. Shaw was followed by Barre,Vermont’s Nick Sweet in second. Shaw was runner-up in the 2018 race. (Lindsay Ellison photo)

New Hampshire’s Shaw not second place this time

The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model and Modifieds made a stop at Caribou’s Spud Speedway Sunday. After placing second to Derek Griffith at the 2018 edition of the race, Shaw showed that he was the class of the field powering by Nick Sweet of Barre, Vermont on lap 112.

Prior to the pass for the lead, Sweet had led every lap of the 150 lap race. (Why did they name the race Firecracker 200…the combined lap total for PASS cars was 200, the Mods ran 50 lap feature) Sweet had never been to the northern Maine track yet used his short track set-up to his advantage until a caution on lap 101 bunched the field allowing Shaw to go side by side for several laps before getting the lead.

Dale Shaw #60 gets to the inside of Nick Sweet in turn one to take the lead in the Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker race at Spud Speedway. (Spud Speedway/Lynn Martin photo)

The first caution of the day was brought out by Presque Isle’s Kirk Thibeau suffered a flat tire on lap 69. Caution number two flew at lap 92 when Brandon Barker was spun by Derek Griffith on his outside coming off turn 4. The resulting spin was joined late by Mike Hopkins who smacked Griffith. This put Hopkins out of the race while Griffith was able to continue to a fifth place finish with a rear fender flapping.

Vermont’s Brandon Barker in the white car gets airborne after running over the nose of  last year’s winner Derek Griffeth #12G who got sideways in turn 4 at Spud Speedway Sunday. Barker was not able to continue. Until then he ran top three all day. Griffith recovered and finished fifth. (Spud Speedway/Black Dot Photography)

County native Shawn Martin ran second and third for much of the beginning of the race. He had won two previous 150 lap races at the Aroostook County track and was seeking his third title. Martin said, “Had an absolute blast racing at Spud Speedway today for the PASS 150. Had a great car and was running 3rd with 50 laps to go and lost the alternator belt. Not the finish we wanted but we all had a blast.”

Three wide down the back straightaway with Derek Griffith inside, Austin Theriault middle and Shawn Martin  on the outside. (Spud Speedway/Lynn Martin photo)

Aroostook Savings & Loan Firecracker 200 Super Late Models podium finishers left to right. second place Nick Sweet, Barre Vermont. Center race winner DJ Shaw Center Conway, New Hampshire, and Ben Rowe, Turner, third place. (Spud Speedway/Black Dot Photography)

PASS Mods put on a show at Spud Speedway

The last time the Pro All Stars Series Modified Traveling Tour made an appearance at Spud Speedway was 2010. That 40 lap race on September 21, 2010 was won by Alan Wilson, Hebron, Maine.

PASS Mods racers got in the spirit of the event donating $200 to Feed the County before racing began. The sportsmanship and enthusiasm of the mod racers became apparent when in a post race interview, Waterford’s Spencer Morse was given the microphone by announcer Marcel Bosse. Morse went on to amuse the crowd with his sponsor recognition speech and climb to the flagman tower for photos. He said he could not wait to return next year. That seemed to be the prevailing attitude.

Spencer Morse loves the spotlight as he thanks everyone who helped him with his car and much more. His energy and enthusiasm was catchy. He finished 3rd after a spin earlier in the race. (Lindsay Ellison photo)

On lap 25 after a mid-race caution, four mods tangled in turn four, left to right, #35 Bobby Nedeau, Matty Sanborn #64, Wayne Allard #2 and #15 Randy Sanborn .(Spud Speedway/Black Dot Photography)


Top three finishers in the PASS Mods 50 lap feature (l to r) Third place Spencer Morse, Waterford, second Mike Carignan, Lebanon, and winner Tyler King, Gray. With his win King became the first repeat winner in the 2019 season. (Spud Speedway/Black Dot Photography)

Top three in the 50 lap Enduro race, l to r second place Casey Bellows, Fairfield , race winner Brad Bellows China, and third place Josh Knoll, Wells. The race stopped only once for a red flag due to a rollover in turn one. (Black Dot Photography)

Many many individuals and businesses came together to help raise funds for Feed the County. Sharing one of many light-hearted moments were two ladies who helped make it happen, Dixie Shaw, Director of Hunger & Relief Services for Catholic Charities on left and Pamela Sherman Aroostook Savings & Loan Marketing Director. Total amount raised was near the $12,000 mark. (Spud Speedway/Lynn Martin photo)

Results- 150 lap Super Late Models

1) 60 – DJ Shaw
2) 40VT – Nick Sweet
3) 4N – Ben Rowe
4) 94 – Garrett Hall
5) 12G – Derek Griffith
6) 57 – Austin Theriault
7) 01 – Andy Saunders
8) 47 – Gabe Brown
9) 96 – Wyatt Alexander

10) 8 – Mike Rowe
11) 14 – Scott McDaniel
12) 97 – Chris Duncan
13) 28 – Kirk Thibeau
14) 5x – Bobby Therrien
15) 94x – Shawn Martin
16) 75 – Gary Smith
17) 16 – Brandon Barker
18) 15 – Mike Hopkins

Results 50 laps PASS Mods

1) 11 – Tyler King
2) 21 – Mike Carignan
3) 34 – Spencer Morse
4) 15 – Wayne Allard
5) 85 – Jairet Harrison
6) 10 – Kate Re

7) 64 – Matty Sanborn
8) 7 – Spencer Vaughn
9) 52 – Colby Benjamin
10) 2 – Randy Sanborn
11) 35 – Bobby Nadeau


Thoughts about the 2nd Annual Firecracker 200…post-race

First my disclaimer, I am the head groundskeeper at Spud Speedway and an employee of Troy Haney.

One of my former students was the number two groundskeeper at Fenway Park under the legendary Dave Mellor for fourteen and one-half years. He then was hired as the Head of Grounds for Daytona International Speedway. You may recall reading about Jason Griffeth in past episodes of UpNorth Motorsports.

I have stayed in touch with the Woodland native over the years and had a chance to visit him at Fenway Park for insider tours a few times. The last four years I cover the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and get to spend time with him. We talk shop on the phone as well periodically. His work inspires me to keep pushing the powers in charge to spend the time and money to improve the fan experience.

I remember thinking when I took this job at Spud Speedway, I want this place to look the best I can, not for my sake, rather to honor my Lord Jesus Christ who said for us in Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

With the help of my fellow groundskeepers, Brent Rafford and Tyler Raymond, we developed a 20 plus item checklist and delighted when we were able to put the date completed next to each.

Working with a clear endpoint in mind (race day) caused us to focus on the job at hand with intensity. We drove each other to have the cleanest bathrooms that our guest could have, the concessions area would be neat and clean, and the property well maintained.

I heard that folks today expect a racing facility to meet higher standards set by middle level amusement parks. Gone are the days of overflowing trash cans, sketchy food service, warm drinks that should be cold and filthy restrooms.

Race day began at 6:30 am mowing the infield near the large Firecracker sign to give it a fresh look. I wanted to have lush turf surrounding the sign, however, a dry July without irrigation negated that plan.

Last minute checks and re-checks of necessary equipment took place and promptly at 10:30 am, the pit gate opened and a long line of racers got checked into their parking space for the day.

This is the reward for all the hard work that goes into staging such an event. With somewhere near $12,000 raised for Feed the County it was worth it. (Spud Speedway/Black Dot Photography)

The radio crackled throughout the day as we tended to questions and situations as they arose. When the racing ended, I sighed, took a deep breath, and headed for home to send the Bangor Daily News the results. That was a fun day!


Cumberland Motor Club Auto X returns to Loring August 8-10, 2019

Caribou native Matt Beaulieu, now living in Presque Isle will be one of several County racers at the 10th Anniversary of autocross at the former Loring Air Force base. Beaulieu will have two Subaru entries which features many go-fast goodies. (HTF Motorsports photo)

One of the least costly forms of motorsports that car or race kart owners may get involved in is autocross. Autocross uses a closed course designated by a series of bright orange cones to test the driver’s skills and vehicle handling in a competitive, safe, controlled setting. Think of it like a temporary race course with esses, sweeping turns, tight maneuvering zones, and full throttle sections at Loring.

Each vehicle is sent out separately at appropriately spaced intervals to eliminate car-to-car contact. Course marshals watch closely to monitor contact with cones which may become displaced. If a cone becomes displaced, a penalty time is added for each incident.

Fast times are achieved by driving fractions of an inch away from cones yet not touching them. It is fun to watch good racers smoothly maneuver through the course running at speed yet not moving any cones.

Some of the typical racing karts that make up the kart contingent at the Cumberland Motor Club Autocross. Karts will often have the fastest time through the course due to their extreme maneuverability and power to weight ratio.  (HTF Motorsports photo)

Often vintage race car owners make the trek to try their vehicle in a controlled environment. This is a vintage 1968 Lotus Formula Ford owned by Mark Daniele of Pownal. Daniele purchased the car in 2012 and was at Loring racing it in years past. This Formula Ford featured the up-graded Hewland racing transmission.(HTF Motorsports photo)

Philip Winslow, Massachusetts, with his Dragon SR2 race car prepares for a run at Loring 2018. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Ownership of an expensive race car is not needed to run the autocross. One of the most popular cars is the Mazda Miata, new as well as an older version pictured here. Almost any street car will fit in a class at the event as long as safety requirements are met. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The schedule for the two-day autocross and Friday “Test & Tune”. Spectators are urged to watch. Admission is free and ride alongs are often allowed to give a taste of what it is like. (Cumberland Motor Club)

Part III Last Ditch Racing at NFR 2019 will be inside Episode 276 next Sunday

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