2020 Racing Preview features something for young and old

Episode 304

February 24, 2020

Mountain Mud Run Terrain Park

John and Brenda Lester in front of two buggies that compete at their Warren, New Hampshire Mountain Mud Run Terrain Park. The track has been in existence seven years. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Once inside the 2020 Edition Racing Preview venue, Portland Expo, my eye immediately went to where two specialty built racers with interlocked front wheels were located to the left of the entry. I had to get to know more since I had only viewed rock crawlers and climbers in magazines and videos.

After introductions, the Lesters were chock full of enthusiasm about not only rock climbers and mud bogs but many other entertainment options featured at their 63 acre farm on the western side of the Granite State.

I borrowed this description of the venue from their website, “Mountain Mud Run Terrain Park is a 63 acre parcel of land with 12 miles of trails with all levels of skill.  We are nestled in the White Mountain National Forest in Warren, NH.  We have a Mud Venue which sports a typical mud bog and a MeGaCross which is a competition that uses jumps, side hills, downhill steps, tight maneuvers and speed required.

We have 3 rock crawl courses that nature started for us out of our own quarry, and we have 2 bounty hills.  We run competitions numerous times a year. An ATV/Side by Side event in the spring is called Mudapalooza.  We have two for  Mud Trucks and Rock Crawlers;  one in the spring and one in the late summer. Our spring and fall events also have nationally recognized Rock Bouncer Competitors.”

A lucky youngster in the Kontrolled Khaos rock crawler buggy built by Wild Side Fabrication and Machine’s owner Ethan Serin Fernandes. The shop is located in Dighton, Massachusetts. Fernandes built both machines at the 2020 Racing Preview. (HTF Motorsports photo)

In 2020 the venue will host three motorsports events, May 16 & 17 the Mudapalooza…All Things Muddy, June 20 & 21 Shock the Rocks…All Things Rock, and August 15 & 16 Rocks and Mud. In addition days when no events are scheduled enthusiast can test their mud bog vehicle or rock climber or even the mountain bike gathering dust in your garage.

Kontrolled Khaos side view showing the network of tubing, long stroke shocks, extreme flexibility, and rock climbing tires needed to traverse the endurance course at Mountain Mud Run Terrain Park in Warren, New Hampshire. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Camping is available on site with eateries nearby. The Lesters will be hosting concerts June 5 & 6 and the Second Annual Mountain Music & Arts Festival August 21-23, 2020.

Details about all events and rates may be found at their website http://www.mountainmudrun.com/home.html

The Lesters met at Piermont 5 years ago discovering that had common interest in Percheron draft horses. They were married three years ago and maintain full-time jobs as well as managing the terrain park.

John is a builder and excavation specialist, which is handy when developing new courses within the 12 miles of trails on the property. He promises competitors that the course, from year-to-year, will not be the exact same. Certain nuances will be added each year challenging the racers to adapt.

Brenda is veteran school teacher now employed at Claremont’s Bluff Elementary School as a second grade instructor.  She also is involved in Ag in the Classroom activities which caught my ear since I am a former agriculture instructor.

I must share one agricultural story she told me. A young boy was eating a chicken thigh or drumstick when all of a sudden he cried out”This has a bone in it!”.

It appeared that the youngster must have had little or no experience with chicken other than nuggets and he was surprised when Mrs. Lester told him about chickens having bones. Made me once again aware that folks need to know where their food comes from and how it is grown.

We talked about other agricultural topics as well as motorsports stories ending with the couple urging folks to visit their venue for a different type of racing entertainment.

$18,000 raised for Maine/New Hampshire Special Olympics

While at the Racing Preview show, I had an opportunity to converse with show promoter, Steve Perry. He was enthused about the turnout of race displays and attendees. He was most enthusiastic about the second year venture working with Dream Ride folks to try to raise $50,000 in 2020 for Special Olympics.

Perry mentioned that there is nothing like an Special Olympic athlete handing the trophies to race winners at the tracks which host a fundraising night. Once the athlete awards the driver a trophy, they too get a trophy which are typically cherished by that Olympian.

Scenes from the Dream Ride Fundraiser at Racing Preview 2020 where $18,000 was raced for Special Olympics in Maine and New Hampshire (Maine Motorsports collage)

Bartlett Bridge announces


Several examples of the new class at Bartlett Bridge dirt track were available to allow interested persons to get a look at actual race kart. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Cole meets Cole

Second year racer at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire Randy Cole from Middleton, Massachusetts, on left met my son-in-law Marc Cole of Westbrook at the 2020 Racing Preview. Randy Cole races his 2014 ACT Crazy Horse Racing chassis originally owned by ACT Rookie of the Year Dylan Payea. Randy, along with crew member Jon Kimball of Londonderry, New Hampshire placed 8th in the 2019 points race at Star. Marc Cole is the owner of Cole Property Management in Westbrook. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Miscellaneous sites at Racing Preview 2020

Thunder Road Speedway in Barre, Vermont is on my short list of tracks to attend in 2020. Their season opener is scheduled for Sunday May 3, 2020 with an ACT 150 lap feature. I have yet to be disappointed with their show. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Wicked Good Vintage Racing displayed several cars which will see action at one or more of the nineteen events on their 2020 calendar. Full schedule can be seen at www.wickedgoodvintageracing.com This Ford looked similar to the one I raced in the Late Model Sportsman class at Spud Speedway in the mid 70’s. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Swanson wins Non-winged Sprint Car Dave Steele 150 Championship in Florida

Kody Swanson at speed at Showtime Speedway’s Non-winged Dave Steele 125 Classic. Swanson drove for Doran Racing based out of Lebanon, Ohio. This is the same team he drove to a class win at the Daytona Historical Races in 2019. The car was sponsored by Glenn Farms, Woodland, Georgia.( Max Dolder photo)

Swanson told me,” It was warm – and nice to get down there to enjoy the sunshine this week! We had a good trip.”

“The race we were really going down there for was Thursday night’s Dave Steele 125 – and we used our Wednesday practice and race to prepare for that. Although we wish Wednesday would’ve went better, we accomplished what we set out to do and that was really neat.”

“The Doran Racing team was great to work with again, and have some really special people involved – who were all very gracious and welcoming for my family and I. They worked really hard too, and gave me a great car for Thursday’s race. They put in the effort and deserved to win, and I’m glad that it all worked out and to have been part of it! God is good!”

From Linda Mansfield press release:

“The blue and orange Doran Enterprises No. 77 Beast powered by a Bill Tranter-prepped Chevy V-6 engine and driven by Kody Swanson of Zionsville, Ind. was the class of the field. Although Swanson had never seen the track before, he topped the charts in qualifying with a time of 13.410 seconds in the car, which is sponsored by Glenn Farms of Woodland, Ga. He then won the 125-lap feature on the quarter-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval near St. Petersburg for the $5,000 top prize.

As the fastest qualifier Swanson was permitted to start on the inside or the outside of the front row. He chose the outside and led initially until Kyle O’Gara passed him.

Swanson bided his time, trying to save his tires and brakes. He passed O’Gara around lap 66 and had built up a small advantage over the field until that disappeared when a red flag flew on lap 84 to clean up spilled fluid on the track.

Bobby Santos III is often one of Swanson’s main competitors in similar events, and he won the preliminary night feature. After starting fifth, Santos had also passed O’Gara before the red waved, and was right behind Swanson for the restart with 41 laps remaining.

But Swanson had a great restart, fought Santos off, maneuvered his way through lapped traffic, and even built up a 1.077-second margin over Santos at the checkered. O’Gara held on for third followed by Joe Liguori and John Inman.

Swanson family celebrates in Victory Circle at Showtime Speedway, Clearwater, Florida. Jordan on left is an integral part of her husband Kody’s success in her role as spotter. Jordan is holding their son Adam and Kody holds oldest son Trevor. (Jordan Swanson photo)

Thursday night’s race honored the memory of Dave Steele, a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame driver who was killed in an asphalt sprint car accident March 25, 2017 at De Soto Speedway in Bradenton, Fla. Swanson and Steele were friends and former teammates in midgets. Steele was a two-time USAC Silver Crown champion. Swanson is the winningest driver in USAC Silver Crown history with five championships.

Nolen Racing in quest for USAC Owner’s Championship in 2020 

Nolen Racing announces their 2020 race schedule with the #20 Silver Crown Sprint car and Little 500 entry. (Courtesy of Nolen Racing)

Nolen Racing based in Whiteland, Indiana has yet to win an Owner’s Championship in the USAC Silver Crown Series. Last season they placed second with Kody Swanson at the wheel of their #20. Swanson won the driver’s championship, however, trouble at one track forced Swanson into another team car thus gaining no points that day for Nolen Racing.

Nolen Racing hope to three peat as the winner of one of the biggest Sprint Car races of the season the Little 500 held at the 1/4 mile Anderson Speedway, Anderson, Indiana the night before the Indy 500. The last two Little 500 wins were with Kody Swanson at the Wheel.

The USAC Silver Crown Series will open at the 1/2 mile high banked Nashville Speedway, Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday afternoon May 3rd. This will be the Silver Crown series first visit to the Speedway.

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