July 18, 2021
“Oh, so close” was what ran through my mind as I heard the word from a racer at the Loring Timing Association (LTA). He said that Bob Keselowski not only broke his personal speed record of 264 mph set earlier in the week but ran 269.332 mph. The record is held by New Hampshire’s Jason White in his RecMech Corvette set August 31, 2019 at 269.673 mph.
This .341 mph different is amazing considering all the inputs that go into land speed racing. I suspect Keselowski is pondering where to get that extra speed. Amazing performance considering he is using an older model NASCAR Dodge Charger from an earlier era when Dodge was actively racing. The R5 Dodge racing engine is a single four barrel carbureted 358 cubic-inch with nitrous injection. It has the reputation of producing nearly 900 horsepower at 9,000 rpms without nitrous.
Team owner Brian Keselowski (BK Motorsports) the son of Bob Keselowski mentioned that the older NASCAR cars are the lowest cost way to go land speed racing. Many cars are available on the used car market with even more possibilities of purchasing cars after NASCAR goes to the newest generation of Cup racer cars next year.
Saturday afternoon, Bob Keselowski took to the track to make a run at the record. He uses a different starting line procedure when he smokes the tires off the line. “I need to leave hard to not waste any of the course length” said Keselowski the father of NASCAR Cup driver Brad. “It also is used to hopefully reduce the stress on the pinion (2.75:1 ratio nine-inch Ford style rear differential), however, it broke when it caught traction.”
Earlier in the day Ron Keselowski broke the same type of pinion gear at nearly the same spot. Bob Keselowski wondered out loud what type of pinion gear they might need to use which will take the abuse of land speed racing.
According to Brian Keselowski, the team will not likely be back for the fall LTA event since they are going to Bonneville to attempt to up the 271.8 mph speed set by Bob Keselowski September 16, 2018. They will be back in 2022.
Barn Finds Tom Cotter races rare Cunninghams at LTA
Tom Cotter along with friend Chuck Schoendorf crossed another event off his bucket list by bringing two of his Cunningham cars to set some personal speed records. Cotter in his Facebook post said, “My friend Chuck Schoendorf and I brought our Cunninghams to Loring to see how fast they would go. Chuck hit 143 MPH on his second run and reached his goal.”
“My journey to top speed took a bit longer, starting out at 110 MPH, but by closing the windows, removing the bumpers, passenger seat and air cleaners, taping all the leading edges, covering the grill with cardboard, increasing tire pressure and removing the cooling fan, I was able to eventually increase speeds to 111, 114, 115, 118, 119.1, 119.2 and ultimately 121.7 MPH.”
“It’s a totally grassroots environment. I felt like a teenage hot rodder in Southern California.
Next year, 125!”
Cotter left Friday afternoon for a car show at Seal Harbor Museum. He said he would be back noting the low-key approach at LTA.
Mapleton family make Land Speed Racing a family affair
The State Road in Mapleton has some beautiful farm land, a Polaris dealership, as well as classic Aroostook County homes. It is also the location of one of northern Maine’s most prolific land speed racing families, the Dick family and Dick’s Auto Body.
The family’s love for cars goes back to when grandfather Richard Dick the dentist took a liking to automobiles. He had a collection several of which are in storage. I hope to view these cars in a future episode.
Dr. Dick’s son, Matt figured prominently in the restoration of the 1937 Chevrolet Cabriolet owned by Milton Adelman and restored by Greg Roderick of Presque Isle. He began racing at the Loring Timing Association events in 2014 with a Buick.
Since then he along with sons Marshall and Madison acquired a non-descript 1993 Pontiac Formula Firebird with 123,000+ miles on the odometer. Except for a cool air intake and slightly modified exhaust the car remains streetable.
The three have made over 100 runs at Loring with the Pontiac since 2015 when the car made its debut. Except for some engine troubles a few years ago which necessitated an engine overhaul the car has remained reliable and consistent.
This year was Madison Dick’s first year in the driver’s seat. He set the standard for the family with a run of 153 mph early in the event. Both his father and brother were able to muster speeds of 149 mph.
Matt Dick remarked that the car is capable of 154-155 mph as is, however, conditions would need to be ideal to accomplish that speed. Cool air and favorable tailwinds might be part of that equation.
Regardless, the inter-family rivalry is fun to observe as they joust for the top speed slot. Matt mentioned that after the start, you hold the throttle to the floor and run down the track wide open. Maybe Madison’s lower weight made the difference.
Jason White shakes down blind racer record car
While his record holding Corvette C6 is being rebuilt after a crash at the Arkansas Mile earlier this year, New Hampshire’s Jason White accompanied by friend Kevin Peckham. They agreed to get involved with Dan Parker’s attempt to set the world speed record for a blind driver. Parker was severely injured in a drag race with his Pro-Mod in 2012. As a result of the accident, he was left 100 % blind.
In 2013 he built a modified motorcycle which he raced at Bonneville Salt Flats thus becoming the first blind person to race at the iconic venue. In 2013 he went back to Bonneville and set the class record all without driver aids except his audio tracking system.
When Jason White heard about Parker’s goal he wanted to help. Parker’s car is a 2008 C6 Corvette closely resembling White’s own Corvette. Since he was familiar with the car, White felt he and Peckham might be able to test and set up the car to enable Parker to reach his goal of 210 mph. That became the goal at Loring this past week.
Parker, who lives in Columbus, Georgia, over 1200 miles from White’s shop in Northwood, New Hampshire picks up the story, “Big congrats to Jason White from RecMech Motorsports for his records this weekend in my Vette. Jason offered to come all the way from New Hampshire to drive my entire rig back home, go over the entire car and race it this weekend to sort out some issues. He added 2 records to his stable.
Thanks to Jason, Kevin and the team for doing this for me.”
Jason also commented about the excitement of Bob Keselowski almost taking top speed honors at the Loring track. “You never know who could show up in the fall. But Bob being so close is very exciting! It really adds to my anticipation for next year. I’m fairly certain you will see someone over 270, and we will do everything we can to be in contention. We will be bringing a fully rebuilt, faster, safer car. If it’s (the record) not broken in the fall, we will be happy to keep the record warm for another winter!”
“We have already made plans to repair and return with Dan Parkers car this fall to hopefully get it over the 200 mark.
More information about Dan Parker can be found on his website: https://theblindmachinist.com/
More about the LTA Summer event in the next episode including which two race cars, both capable of 200 + mph has offered Marcia Buck Barker rides for Loring. Stay tuned for the inside scoop.
Cold Hard Art on national television
Over the last couple of months UpNorth Motorsports has shown the trophies made for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) by Tom Patsis owner/builder/artist at Cold Hard Art located in Brownsburg, Indiana. The six-race series concluded this past Saturday with the finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Nashville, Tennessee. All races were featured in prime time on CBS.
The race was won by Chase Elliott followed by inaugural SRX champion Tony Stewart second and Chase’s father Bill Elliott in third. During Tony Stewart’s post-race interview he was asked what the championship meant to him. He concluded his remarks with very positive words about the SRX racecar championship trophy made by Tom Patsis. The trophy maker name is not usually mentioned in victory lane. The quality and craftsmanship that went into these trophies must have meant much to Stewart. Good job Tom Patsis.
More County motorsports activities coming soon
The largest motorsports event this season will be at the Northern Maine Fair August 5-8. Activities include Tractor and Truck pulling Friday and Saturday evenings plus demolition derby and Tuff Tracks on Sunday August 8th. In addition the indoor largest car show in Maine will be held at the Presque Isle Forum, Rods, Rides, and Relics August 6,7, and 8. Information about these can be found at the Northern Maine Fair website: http://northernmainefairgrounds.com/contests-premiums/
The former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone will be hosting the return of the Cumberland Motor Club and their Mega Autocross, The three day event will take place August 6-8, 2021 on the north end of the runway. Information about the autocross can be found at http://www.cumberlandmotorclub.com/cmc/
Let’s go racing!
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)