WAR working their way to top in 2021

Episode 362

May 21, 2021

Second place finish at Beech Ridge

Named one of seven finalists in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) 2021 in March 2021, Wyatt Alexander age 21 from Ellsworth, continued his march toward winning the 2021 $54,439 award. The contestants range in age from 16-22 and represent states from Maine to California.

Alexander follows the footsteps of fellow Mainer Dave Farrington Jr. who was a KDDP finalist in 2015 & 2016.

Alexander drives for the family-owned Wyatt Alexander Racing (WAR) team. His crew chief is his grandfather Bob Alexander a member of the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. The car is owned by his father Brett Alexander, owner of KB Automotive in Ellsworth.

The 2021 effort by WAR is their first attempt to capture a track championship in the Super Late Model class. They chose to race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

With the second-place trophy on the hood of the #96 Super Late Model after a night of success at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. (WAR photo)

Team driver, Wyatt Alexander said this about the race, “Strong 2nd place finish in the feature last night, fastest lap of the feature, fastest lap of either heat race, and a heat race win. The car was really solid, was a really fun race, and we had a strong shot in the feature just couldn’t quite get the pass done.”

“I learned a lot about what I can do to capitalize on opportunities at Beech Ridge and always learning more about my car underneath me. Huge thanks to everyone as always, Gramps, Dad, Greg Emerson, Dylan Turner, Dalton Myers, and Garrett & Scott Lamb for their help last night.”

“Really solid night and can’t complain about having a couple trophies on the shelf already this year with a car that is continuing to show speed in Scarborough.”

Crew chief, grandfather Bob Alexander commented, “Another race date and we had another great car. We have been working on some different setup items each week to try to find what makes the car happy.”

“Practice went well but our transmission issues continued to come to the front with Wyatt unable to get a solid 3-4 shift. We get two, ten-minute practice sessions to get the car sorted, scuff tires and repair any problems.”

“The decision was made to swap out the transmission and shifter for our spare unit. Wyatt ran 5 laps to scuff the new tires, pulled into his pit where Brett and the crew changed the transmission and got him back out in time for a few more laps before the end of practice. I wish that I had thought to actually time the operation.”

I wish they had taken photos of the swap. Stories like this make memories not soon forgotten in the racing world. In the heat of the moment sometimes documentation of the struggle is limited.

We drew for a 2nd place start in heat number two, said Bob. ” Wyatt won the heat, started outside pole in the feature, ran in second for the entire 50 laps.”

“He was in an intense battle with the first-place car of Dave Oliver for the last half of the race, actually tied for first on lap 45. The two of them put on a great display of close racing and sportsmanship with many laps of side-by-side racing.”

The team will continue competing in the “Open Comp” racing at Beech Ridge for race 5 of 5 next weekend. They will then transition into the race for points mode for the rest of the summer.

Big Week for Kody Swanson

Kody Swanson from Kingsburg, California, now living in Indianapolis, Indiana is one of the many drivers I have been following for several years in UpNorth Motorsports. In all these years, 2021 is the most ambitious seasons for the 5-Time USAC Silver Crown Champion.

He will not be competing in the dirt track portion of the USAC Silver Crown championship. Swanson will be with a new to him, Doran Racing, for the Silver Crown asphalt races. This is the team he drove for at Daytona in the historic races in a Ford GT.

He also will be competing at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg in a midget, sprint, and Silver Crown cars. He will be making two appearances at Anderson Speedway. One of his biggest competitors will be his brother Tanner Swanson living and working back home in Kingsburg. Between the two Swanson brothers they have dominated the Winner’s Circle at Lucas Oil Raceway.

I wish I could spend the next week at Indy.

Competing for Team Platinum at Berlin Raceway, Marne, Michigan only 10 minutes from Grand rapids. He won the first 35 lap feature and finished ninth in the second feature event. (Team Platinum photo)

Kody Swanson’s busy month of May schedule. Next month he makes his CBS debut in the Supercar Racing Experience (SRX) at Eldora Saturday, June 26, 2021. The race will be on CBS primetime at 8 pm. (Kody Swanson photo)

Tale of two Indy attempts

Coming out of a pandemic year was reason enough to be interested in the Indy 500, however, two other stories caught my attention. The Beth Paretta Autosports mostly female race team with Simona de Silvestro from Switzerland at the wheel. The other the emergence of the Top Gun Racing Team from Indianapolis with Rookie R.C. Enerson as wheelman.

Paretta Autosports with owner Beth Paretta and driver Simona de Silvestro at Indy 2021. They have a technical alliance with Penske Racing. (Paretta Autosports photo)

The Paretta Autosports team was put together by Beth Paretta known for her part in bringing together Penske and Fiat-Chrysler Dodge in NASCAR when she was the head of performance-oriented Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Division.

In 2016 she formed Grace Autosports to attempt to put a female team together for the Indy 500. She always had a goal of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mechanics (STEM) education for girls which is continuing with Paretta Autosports.

“Race for Equality and Change.” The program, spearheaded by IndyCar and Indianapolis Speedway owner Roger Penske aims to diversify the ranks of owners, drivers, workers and supports diverse businesses. When Penske called in January the idea for Paretta Autosports came to fruition. The last few months have been a blur for Paretta and her team getting all the parts of the team organized and moving in the same direction.

The #16: Simona De Silvestro, Paretta Autosport Chevrolet preparing to qualify for the Indy 500. The team did qualify on Sunday’s Last Chance Qualifier with a speed of 228.353 good enough for the 33rd and final spot in the 105th edition of the classic. (Paretta Autosports photo)

Top Gun Racing Team with owners Stephanie and Bill Throckmorton and Gary Trout. Team driver R.C. Enerson. (Top Gun Racing photo)

The Top Gun Racing Team began with an idea of Bill Throckmorton, owner of Grant King Racing a non-descript shop just off Crawfordsville Road in outer Indianapolis. I found the place while driving between the IMS and Lucas Oil Raceway while covering the Brickyard 400. Oh, how I wished that someone was at the shop when I stopped in because it was a “hang-out” of legendary Indy Car builder A.J. Watson who I never did get to meet.

The Grant King Race Shop restores antique Indy Cars and era specific open wheel race cars. They also have a museum with many vintage race cars and stories. This is from whence the idea mentioned above burst forth.

Top Gun Racing took delivery of two Dallara tubs and enough parts to make one complete car and the spare tub. This was April 2, 2021.(Top Gun Racing photo)

One of the first modifications had to be the addition of the mandated halo for all Indy Cars. (Top Gun Racing photo)

The completed #75 at test on May 10, 2021 at World Wide Technology Raceway, St. Louis, Missouri. (Top Gun Racing photo)

Top Gun Engineer Roy Wilkerson consoles mechanic Bridget Clifford after the team fell short in qualifying for the Indy 500. The two spent many “48-hour days” putting together the primary and back-up cars in the last month. (Top Gun Racing photo)

Messer wins season opener at Speedway 660

Ryan Messer, Harvey, New Brunswick wins the season opening 75 lap feature at Speedway 660. This was the debut of their new Clattenburg Racing Fabrication (CRF) chassis. Nice job RYAN Motorsports! (Mike Francis photo)

A busy week ahead in racing soooooo….

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Joshua 1:9)

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