Dare to make plans for 2021

Episode 344

January 3, 2021

Plans? What plans?

If 2020 has taught me anything it is that plans are made for changing. God said in Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) that, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”.

With that in mind I will make some decisions for 2021 that deal with UpNorth Motorsports and racing. Then at the end of the year I can look back and see how right or wrong I was. I think it is going to be fun.

When I started UpNorth Motorsports 343 episodes ago, my definition of motorsports was somewhat narrow. I thought any episode would need to be about racing. Since then, I have broadened my horizon.

What is motorsports…it is the enjoyment of motorized cars, boats, trucks, bikes, planes, and much more. If I like the story, I want to tell it. The media either has no time or desire to tell the stories that I want to tell others about.

The good part of this is that I am open to your suggestions, however, I must let you know right up front that I have almost zero budget for travel since the blog itself is not a paid position with the news. I am blessed that they give me a forum for my crazy ideas.

You then must realize that you may need to convince me that the story I need to tell has merit. Enthusiasm needs to sometimes rub off on me.

Fran Cyr gave me an idea which led to a story about hydroplane racing in the County. After eight or so episodes on boat racers and their machines, that story has not concluded. I hope to do more follow up in 2021. This is from a guy who is not a water sport enthusiast. Almost drowning on my 13th birthday has soured my desire to be on the water. These folks have ignited a curiosity in me about their wiles.

Restorations will be big

Along the pathway of researching for episode materials, I met a variety of folks with a desire to restore cars, tractors, trucks, snowmobiles, and boats. One of the men I wish to feature is Greg Roderick, Presque Isle, Maine.

This social distancing has hampered my getting together with Greg and his son Riley. He has many stories that intrigue me. We may need several episodes to show some of the beauties he has restored. I am looking forward to that time.

Tom Peters, Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame’s only snowmobile racer has a bundle of snowmobile stories and sleds. Through him, Rob Kieffer, and Danny Raymond, I have found many leads. Bottom line…look for more restoration stories in 2021.

No Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona coverage for 2021

Those of you following NASCAR and IMSA may not realize how much those folks have had to curtail media coverage of events. These international events now have very limited media on hand. Interviews with teams or personnel are done virtually for the most part.

With this in mind, UpNorth Motorsports is not part of the select few that will be on the grounds at Daytona, understandably so. I will not give up completely and coverage of certain stories will still continue. The phone still works as does social media.

Where will I be in person in 2021?

Great question! I am listing some of the events that have not yet been cancelled that I hope to be covering in the next year:

  1. “Climb to the Clouds Mt. Washington Hillclimb” July 8-11, 2021
  2. Loring Timing Association July 14-17 “Maine Event” and September 1-4 “Harvest Event”
  3. Cumberland Motor Club “Mega Autocross at Loring” typically the first weekend in August.
  4. A trip to a race track where Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) and Evan Beaulieu is racing.
  5. If the border opens then maybe a trip to Speedway 660 to watch Drew Greenlaw Racing and Ryan Motorsports compete.
  6. Maybe Oxford 250 (If Austin Theriault is competing and WAR also that might help me make the plans)
  7. Thunder Road, Barre, Vermont for a Thursday evening race. Fantastic place to watch racing with new lights and turn 3/4 viewing looking directly down on cars less than 25 feet away.
  8. Maybe an IMSA race, IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or Daytona road course. (Super longshot)
  9. On site interview with Cold Hard Art’s Tom Patsis (another longshot but a guy can dream)
  10. Participate with Northern Maine Woods Excursions Off Road Club in one of their adventures with my 4-wheel drive truck

Regardless, I will bring you along for the story as best I am able to tell it.

Personal preparations for 2021

Constant improvement in writing UpNorth Motorsports is my goal. I want you to see things as I see them or as someone tells me about them. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

With that in mind, I have enrolled in an online photography course which, I hope will allow me to put together better photos for you to enjoy. My goal is to utilize the non-automatic features in my digital camera as I gather a better understanding of how to improve my photo taking skills. I have already learned some interesting features my camera possesses.

If the Adult Ed welding course at Caribou Tech Center is offered this spring, I will be one of the first to sign up. My welding and fabrication skills definitely need tuning up. Welding instructor Keith Dumond is one of the best in the business. His former students’ success in the industry prove that.

Get involved with more of Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets, webinars, podcast, and e-books. I have had the chance to interact with folks who you may only see on TV. Ross’s website is https://speedsecrets.com/ Even though my driving time in 2021 will probably be very limited, I think that knowing the inside background about racing helps me to be a better writer about motorsports. Ross has already helped me in my understanding of race car preparation.

I hope to build a couple projects that will be displayed probably after completion or maybe at the halfway mark in the build. I will give you a hint, one involves a race kart and another is a tool build.

One ongoing project is building and testing STEM projects for when I am called in to school as a sub or brought in as a special speaker. My dream is to at some time in the future host a STEM Camp at Spud Speedway. I would love to hear your ideas on this subject.

Words of advice from a motorsports pros

Maybe you are from a small town in northern Maine or Vermont. Is it possible to have a career in motorsports? My answer has to be “Yes!”.

The road is going to be tough and may involve moving from small town to area near racing center. I will be following the career move of Heather Holler who has been featured in past episodes. She is making a giant move!

After the muddy ARX II race at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) near Austin, Texas in 2018. Heather worked freelance at races and repreps between events for Dirt Fish (Heather Holler photo)

She left this week for Alzenau, Germany to begin work for Hyundai Motorsports Rally program. This is an example of what may be needed to have a career in motorsports.

Regular readers of UpNorth Motorsports know that one of my favorite subjects is Tom Patsis, owner of Cold Hard Art (CHA), Brownsburg, Indiana. I recently noticed a post from Tom that might be valuable to the reader with thoughts of getting into or moving up the chain. I recognize a career in motorsports is not an easy choice.

NHRA Camping World season champion trophy constructed for 2020 awards. Master builder Tom Patsis shares his thoughts about careers in motorsports using what he has learned. (Cold Hard Art photo)

“When I was a kid in Maine, I built dragsters out of Legos. Then I went to tech school in high school to learn how to work on street cars. After graduation, me and my best friends went to University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) in Lima, Ohio.  Learning how to work on race cars which helped me get a job at Don Schumacher Racing (DSR Brownsburg, Indiana)”.

“I worked on a DSR Pro Stock Motorcycle team for five years. When that team ended, I moved over to the fab shop building dragsters and funny cars for six years learning how to properly build things”.

“That has led me here to my art business. So, to take that path with the help from so many great people and companies, I am now getting to build the NHRA World Championship trophies for all these great teams.”

“I truly feel like I have come full circle in what I wanted to do as a kid. So in summary kids, even if you feel million miles away from where you want to be. Be PATIENT keep your FOCUS and expect you will have big SCARIFICES, TOUGH times and don’t be scared to ask for HELP along this path”.







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