Joy or blues as race season winds down

Episode 335

October 18, 2020

Is it normal to feel sad about racing coming to an end?

The year 2020 started without heading to Florida for coverage of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January. This was this first time since 2016 that I was unable to be at the world’s most famous race track. Little did I know that the world would be turned upside down dramatically in late winter early spring.

My plans and ideas for 2020 were not significant in light of the pandemic throughout not only the United States, but worldwide. It seemed like for a couple months, news about racing in the County would be cancelled or postponed.

Tame the Track promotional poster for the March 2020 races in Caribou that had to be cancelled. You might say the season melted down thanks to Covid-19.

It started in March 2020 with the cancellation of Tame The Track Tour’s stop in Caribou for their season finale. It was thought that maybe a later date could be utilized, however, the magnitude of the pandemic quickly had tour officials cancelling the finale.

Throughout the spring, I listened to the Governor’s words on crowd size and realized that the Aroostook Savings and Loan Firecracker 200 Pro All Star Series (PASS) race at Spud Speedway August 4th simply would not take place at the Caribou track this season. When official word came, it felt like pin sticking a half inflated balloon. Not a pop rather a fizzle.

This race season is the first in a long time when I did not get any seat time in a race kart. The closing of Maine Indoor Karting (MIK) in Scarborough took the wind out of my sails. I was working on a self improvement project for race drivers taught by Ross Bentley with my goal to set a new personal track record at MIK. That bummed me out!

Northern Maine Karting Association (NMKA) took the year off to see if the number of interested kart racers improved. Maybe a new crop of kart racers will fire up the organization in 2021. I certainly hope that will take place.

Bright spots

Glenn Campbell with  his Casta Craft hydroplane racer and one of his collection of  a two-blade props typical of what was used in that era. I learned about Glenn from a conversation with Fran Cyr, Caribou. (HTF Motorsports photo)

A casual Facebook conversation between Fran Cyr and I in early 2020 when I saw what would later be named by me, the “Mystery Hydroplane” on one of his posts. It was then he referred me to Fort Fairfield’s Glenn Campbell, a pioneer in hydroplane racing in the County.

Little did I realize interviewing Glenn would lead me to the stories of several other area racers as well as learning the history of Kiekhaefer Mercury Marine and the connection with early hydroplane racers.

The racing accident described in Episode 312, April 19, 2020 experienced by Van Buren native Lyn Michaud while racing in Thompson, Connecticut, brought some reality to the dangers that hydro racers faced. New respect for that group of motorsports enthusiasts developed.

The story continued with Fran Cyr, Caribou, doing a fine job restoring the “Mystery hydroplane” as documented in episodes 332-334. Some day the mystery of who is the builder of the Scat Cat hydroplane will be solved and I am sure more stories will develop with the County connection to that type of racing.

Caribou’s Edwin Walker with his newly restored 1983 VW Rabbit GTI in action at the Loring autocross. Walker’s GTI was featured in a couple episodes of UpNorth Motorsports. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Bob Keselowski set fastest time (261 mph)at the Loring Timing Association (LTA) Harvest Event 2020 with his NASCAR Dodge. (Stacy Robey photo)

In addition, the two events held at Loring this summer, Cumberland Motor Club Mega Autocross and the Harvest Event of the Loring Timing Association helped fill my senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of racing. I thank those folks for following through with their competition plans.

End of season tidbits

Kody Swanson does not win the USAC Silver Crown finale at the one mile Springfield, Illinois Fairgrounds dirt track. The race was won by Kyle Larson with David Gravel second and Justin Grant third. That third place finish, plus fastest qualifier, earned Grant his first Silver Crown title. Kody Swanson who was series champion the last two years in a row, finished 10th.

Sting Ray Robb will finish out his season in a double header at St. Petersburg as part of the IndyCar NTT finale next weekend. He is the newly crowned Road to Indy Pro 2000 Champion. Sting Ray is trying to determine which Indy Lights team he will be with for the 2021 season. He earned a scholarship for 2021 worth over $800,000 as champion.

Kyle Larson in 2012

I am going to put forth my guess where Kyle Larson will be in NASCAR 2021. I have no inside information. My guess is based on reading, listening to podcasts, and watching the news.

After seeing Larson on CBS Morning Show last week, I am guessing he has a place to race since he probably would not apply for readmission if he had no concrete plans. The Hendrick Motorsports team is my guess for the 28 year old Larson.

I hear that the team has said they have a replacement for Jimmy Johnson. Scott Tapley, during the In the Pits broadcast on Friday October 16, 2020, said that he thinks the behind the scenes work with sponsors and manufacturers probably has taken place and now await the proper time to announce. He believes Hendricks will will revive the #5 car for Larson. Alex Bowman is moving to the #48 car leaving the #88 unused.

National “Wear Your Helmet to Work Day”

Grassroots Magazine announced that the annual “Wear Your Helmet to Work Day Presented by Stilo” ” was October 16, 2020. Anyone who wore their racing helmet to work could enter the contest by sending a photo to Grassroots Magazine. The winner would get a new Stilo helmet.

Read Tull, Raleigh, North Carolina was announced as the winner of the 2020 version of the contest.

Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Ryan Cote displays his version of wearing his helmet at an undisclosed location. Thank you for your service Ryan! (Ryan Cote photo)

Drag racer/photographer Stacy Robey, Caribou, on the job in the insurance industry. (Stacy Robey photo)

Mr. Motorsports Jesse Michaud, Caribou, on the job in the machine shop. (Jesse Michaud photo)

Yours truly shearing Christmas trees at Hale Tree Farms in preparation for the 2020 Christmas season. (HTF Motorsports photo)

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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