Covid shortened race season winding down in Maine

Episode 331

September 13, 2020

Stock car racing winding down in COVID-19 choked season

Racing in Maine got started late due to the uncertainty in handling the requirements placed upon motorsports by a myriad of agencies. Limited spectators, social distancing, and face covering mandates all played a part in allowing racing to proceed on a limited basis.

UpNorth Motorsports has once again been following the exploits of the County rooted Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) as they primarily concentrated on Beech Ridge Speedway in Scarborough. As reported in previous episodes the team won the Granite State Series race at the Ridge and went on to compete for a spot in the Oxford 250 in August.

Though the team was not in the top 10 at the Oxford 250 they were pleased with the progress made in preparation and execution of their race strategy. I suspect they will return with better results in 2021.

Evan Beaulieu, left and Wyatt Alexander began the 2020 season at Beech Ridge Speedway and finished the season running one and two for the feature after each winning a heat race. Best of friends off the track, they are fierce and fair on-track racers. (Brenda Meserve photo)

“We won our heat race and finished 5th in the race”, said Beaulieu. “Lead some laps though! Car was much better than it’s been. We have two races to finish the season, Lee USA Speedway on October 4th with the Granite State Pro Stock Series and Oxford on Oct 17th with PASS.”


Evan Beaulieu #56 and Wyatt Alexander #96 battle at the front early during the season finale at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, Maine. They both finished in the top five. (Finish Line Photography)

Wyatt Alexander went on to finish second to Travis Buzzell who won his first feature of the 2020 season. Dave Oliver finished third followed by Corey Bubar in fourth and Evan Beaulieu in fifth. (WAR photo)

Crew chief Bob Alexander commented, ” We had a great race Saturday at Beech Ridge. Car was good out of the trailer. We won our heat from a fourth place start which gave us the pole for the feature. Wyatt had a good run at the start with his good friend Evan Beaulieu being a bit quicker from his outside position two start.
Cars got strung out and Wyatt settled in to third. Our spotter was worried that the leader was getting too much of a lead and suggested that we should pick up the pace in order to close the gap. Travis Buzzell, the leader, continued to pull away with a four second lead at the end.”

With Wyatt Alexander back at school full time, or at least remote learning (Mechanical Engineering at UMO), the team is done for the shortened season.

Sting Ray wins another Road to Indy race

Race two of the Road to Indy Pro 2000 race at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio began in the pouring rain Sunday morning. Pole sitter Manual Sulaimon #8 leads Sting Ray Robb at the start. Sulaimon spun off on corner one as did two other racers. Sting Ray took the lead when the call was made to postpone the race until after the NTT IndyCar. (Road to Indy photo)

With much drier conditions after the NTT Indy Car race, the Pro 2000 race got underway with Sting Ray Robb on the point. The race win, his fifth of the year, gives the Payette, Idaho driver a 49 point lead over Devlin DeFrancesco his closest competitor. With only five more races to go , the series next race is a tripleheader at New Jersey Motorsports Park October 10 &11. (Road to Indy photo)

 “I’m so happy with how the weekend went”, said the 19 year old Robb. “I thought we did a great job of adapting to all the changing conditions. We started out with an okay car. I was happy to qualify fourth and finish fourth yesterday. It helped us extend the points lead.”

“Going out in the rain this morning was crazy, every lap just kept getting worse. I remember going into Turn Nine on the pace lap and there was a huge puddle. We decided to play it safe through the first few corners and that was all we needed to do to start up front on the restart. Parker {Thompson} was really fast, he made me work for it.”

“We know we have a good points lead now but this doesn’t change our strategy: We need to stay at the front of the pack all the time. Thanks to all the Juncos boys, they had their work cut out for them this weekend – and a huge thank you to all my supporters. It would be great to win that scholarship so they don’t have to work so hard next year.”

Racing is tough, expensive, and potentially dangerous

As if I need to tell the reader that racing is costly. Money can seem at times to dictate the terms of life for the young man or woman who want to race be it part-time or full-time. Racing can also be a tough task master when it comes to plying the art and skills needed to be a success.

One such story of the expense and danger of racing is the story of Braden Eves who began racing the Indy Pro 2000 Series in 2020 after winning the Indy F2000 series scholarship last season.

Sting Ray Robb and Braden Eves battling for a podium finish at Park. Robb finished second followed by Eves. After this race the series moved to Indy for a tripleheader. It was during the first race of three that Eves had a left rear hub break. When the tire fell, it caused his car to flip over the wheel two times before hitting the SAFER barrier wall in road course turn 11 or turn one of the oval. Corner exit speed was 120 mph. (Road to Indy photo)

Braden Eves helmet after his wild ride at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during lap 18 of race one of three scheduled for the road course. After flipping in turn 11 the car hit so hard it collapsed the rollbar enough that Eves head hit the track at 120 mph. Eves suffered a couple broken vertebrae in his neck and a broken bone over his right eye. Eves father attributed the Arai helmet with saving his son’s life. “You better believe our next helmet will be an Arai”, said Eves in a phone conversation Sunday evening.(Greyson Eves photo)

The Tatuus PM-18 chassis did it’s job in the crash, however, it is totaled and per most race series needs to be paid for. To get back on track the team will first need to get Braden healthy which means no more races in 2020. The chassis needs to be replaced. Photo was taken at Exclusive Autosports shop in Brownsburg, Indiana. (Greyson Eves photo)

After his release, driver Braden Eves met with Exclusive Autosports owner Michael Duncalfe outside the hospital in Indianapolis . Eves said, “Get ready for the greatest comeback you have ever seen!” (Greyson Eves photo)

Greyson Eves, father of Branden Eves after the crash on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Road to Indy Pro 2000 race one of the tripleheader, “Unfortunately, the cost of getting Braden back on the track is more than our family and a few wonderful sponsors can handle. We are focusing all of our resources on getting Braden healthy and are now facing over $100,000 in bills to pay for a car and replace his racing helmet and suit so we can get him back on track as soon as he is able.”

Site of the gofundme site to raise money for Branden Eves:

Swanson back in action in late model action in North Carolina

Kody Swanson was back in the Chad Bryant Racing late model at Hickory Motor Speedway for the twin feature races on Sunday. He is being interviewed by the track announcer after finishing second in feature number two. Earlier he finished fourth in feature one. Swanson debuted in this car in July. (Jordan Swanson photo)

‘I want to be happy about running from 6th to finish 2nd this afternoon, but it’s tough to be that close and not figure it out in time. I did learn a lot today, & had fun too. Thanks to Chad Bryant Racing and Mike for all of their hard work! Congrats to Gracie Trotter on the win.” remarked Swanson who had finished fourth earlier in the first feature race.

This was Gracie Trotter’s first late model win at Hickory. Trotter finished 8th in the first race earlier that day. She has spent most of the season racing in the ARCA West Series where she has finished second (once), third (once), fourth (twice), fifth (once), and seventh (twice) in the seven races so far this season.

Hunt the front

With all the COVID-19 drama and Braden Eves crashing, I thought it might be appropriate to include Jonathan Joiner’s post in Hunt the Front October 11, 2018

Another type of endurance racing…not a motorsport

Marc Cole, my son-in-law, at another type of race, Last Man Standing at Pineland Farms last weekend. Cole is greeted by his children Lila front and Lydia in back after lap 8 or roughly 30 plus miles. He went on to run 50 miles or 12 laps of the 4.2 mile course. The winner, Jason Bigonia ran 134.4 miles for his third win in three years. (Erika Cole photo)

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