August 9, 2020
Motorsports racing makes 2020 debut in the County
It was a bittersweet weekend for me. This Sunday August 9 was to be the Third Annual Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 Presented for Feed the County Pro All Star Series (PASS) race at Spud Speedway. The race was scratched due to the factors associated with COVID-19 problems.
I thought of that several times this week including while mowing the Caribou track to maintain the turf in this off year. I looked at the empty grandstands and pits wondering what could have been the highlight for racers and fans this season.
My spirits were buoyed however with the appearance of the Cumberland Motor Club (CMC) at Loring for their 11th annual two day Mega Autocross. I never got the official numbers of entries, however, the unofficial numbers approached 80. That was a great number considering the forces at work to mess with attendance at any event let alone a motorsports race in northern Maine.
On the microphone in the center of photo, Co-chairman for the CMC Mega Autocross at Loring, Chris Moberg explains the proceedings to racers. The majority of participants were in their cars listening to the meeting via their FM radio to maintain social distancing requirements. The semi-circle arrangement reminded one of the drive in movie format. Fellow chairman for the event Emmett Hodder on right in black club shirt. The club was blessed with excellent weather for the “Test and Tune” on Friday as well as the two day autocross.(HTF Motorsports photo)
County race historian makes an appearance at autocross
Fort Fairfield’s Gary Saucier needed to break the funk that has surrounded him the last few weeks. The PASS Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway is one of his favorite races to attend. When the status of the 250 changed to a non-spectator race, he sent his tickets back with a great deal of disappointment. This weekend was to be the PASS race at Spud Speedway, another of his favorites not running in 2020.
Thanks to his friend Jerry Zimmerman, Saucier was able to get permission to do ride alongs in the immaculate 2014 Mustang GT. Zimmerman was not attempting to set quickest time of the event, rather he wanted to have a good time behind the wheel.
If you look closely you will see the helmeted head of Gary Saucier on the passenger side of Jerry Zimmerman’s 2014 Mustang GT at speed on the track set up at the former Loring Air Force Base. The letters on the side are the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) class designation for the Mustang. (HTF Motorsports photo)
At the CMC Mega Autocross when your car is not on the track competing, team members will act as corner workers for the group of cars who are competing. Gary Saucier on left and Jerry Zimmerman work one of the corners during the Saturday portion of the Mega Autocross. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Muscle car and luxury car trade fast times
A Ford Mustang is typically not thought of as a great autocross car. Likewise a luxury car like Nissan’s Infiniti is not thought of as a top choice for speed at autocross. This past weekend both generalities were proven false.
Quickest on Saturday and Sunday was Pat DeArmott with his 2004 Infiniti G 35 which cornered well. DeArmott in only his third year of driving in autocross, showed great car control taking the luxury car to the edge a few times during his runs on the largest venue that CMC hosts autocross races. DeArmott said, “I’ve done intake, full exhaust, coil overs, data acquisition, oil cooler, and a bunch of other stuff along with everything that the previous owner (Charlie Baxley) had done”.(HTF Motorsports photo)
A view of the rear spoiler that looks like that which is found on a NASCAR Cup Series car. Shawn DeArmott said the spoiler, added this year, must work since they had not spun at Loring this season which might be attributed in part to increase downforce in the rear. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Mark Milisits 2016 Bullitt Mustang was quick both days on the runway course. The length of the course allowed the muscle car to stretch its legs a little. When the PAX score was figured for Sunday Milisits was fastest and DeArmott was second. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Photos from Mega Autocross 2020
Full song with his 1999 Subaru RS, Caribou’s Matt Beaulieu remarked, “Loring Autocross was an amazing turnout considering the difficulties that Covid has placed on us. Usually the event attracts a lot of Canadians. They could not get across the border, however the number of drivers and cars was still astonishing. Some very fast drivers, with some very fast cars. This makes my 6th or 7th consecutive year running and its never a disappointment. My 99 Impreza performed well in its class considering I was on DOT approved street tires, and not competition rated racing tires. Almost all the other cars in my class were on competition slicks. I didn’t run my car Sunday, due only to the tires… but I did do some ride alongs, and the course was astonishingly fast. Overall a great experience for myself, and my family. Can’t wait to do it again! (HTF Motorsports photo)
Lloyd Guerrette in his 1999 Corvette gathers up his car after slipping slightly upon power application. Loring is a track that allows this type of car to use some of its incredible torque. Guerrette has County connections in the St. John Valley. (HTF Motorsports photo)
This 2005 Lotus Elise S owned by Vicki Collins looked fast sitting still and at full throttle on the runway at Loring. Many in attendance commented about the true sports car look of the Lotus. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Jake LeRoy got his 2004 Honda S2000 pointed the wrong way after coming in too hot for this section of the course. No cones were injured in the photo. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Braelen Creswell’s Birel ART Rotax was the fastest kart entry in the two day event. It was a little disappointing that more karts did not show at Loring. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Caribou’s Edwin Walker with his newly restored 1983 VW Rabbit GTI in action at the Loring autocross. Walker’s GTI has been featured in recent episodes of UpNorth Motorsports. This was Walker’s first experience driving in an autocross. (HTF Motorsports photo)
Portland’s Jesse Deupree with his 1993 Caterham HPC7. The homebuilt car was purchased by Deupree to satisfy one of his two passions. The other passion is sailing. In a conversation with Deupree he mentioned the need for Street Survival courses for teenage drivers to give them real world driving skills which might save their life. (HTF Motorsports photo)
The next Cumberland Motor Club autocross is scheduled for October 10 & 11, at the Canaan Motor Club in New Hampshire.
Doubleheader sweep by Harvick suits Maine man just fine
While listening to the Sunday NASCAR Cup Series race from Michigan as the laps ran down, the move to the front by Kevin Harvick allowed him to hold off Denny Hamlin by two car lengths for the sweep of Michigan International Speedway doubleheader weekend. The win meant that Harvick has won four of the last five at the Michigan track.
Mike Morneau formerly from Oxford, Maine now living in North Carolina, is the tire carrier for the Stewart Haas #4 entry driven by Kevin Harvick. Harvick won both of these trophies in the weekend doubleheader. The two wins assured Ford Motor Company the retention of the Michigan Heritage Trophy for the top manufacturer at the Michigan track. The two races are wins five and six this season for Harvick and crew. (Mike Morneau photo)
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)