When Beech Ridge Motor Speedway shut its door after 2021, the weekly racers over all the classes scattered throughout the Maine and beyond, settling at tracks like Oxford Plains, Wiscasset, Speedway 95, Star, and Lee USA. A few also hit the road, with the Pro All Stars Series seeing additions to the roster.
But, there was one Maine driver and team that went even further beyond.
One of the Ridge’s final race winners, Wyatt Alexander, made the bold call to race up in Canada for 2022, New Brunswick specifically at Speedway 660. With one race left on track’s schedule for the year, Alexander is the Pro Stock points leader, and in a close title fight.
"It’s been fun, it’s been a cool year for us doing something different but we’ve enjoyed it," said Alexander. "It’s really cool to be a contender, that was a goal going into the year but we didn’t know what to expect, so we’re excited after all that. Overall, we’re very happy. There’s been a few times where we’ve been chasing the car a little bit up there, but we’ve had our moments.
But, with the season finale not until September 24, the No. 96 camp is taking an opportunity to race in Maine for the first time in 2022.
Located far up in Maine’s Northeast corner, Spud Speedway is a 1/3-mile bullring which in the last decade has hosted only a handful of full-size motorsports events due to a population exodus in the region since the 1990’s. But, the residents of Caribou, ME and surrounding communities have maintained the almost 50-year-old oval and after a two COVID-19 hiatus are set to welcome back the Pro All Stars Series this Saturday.
While he and his family live closer to the Atlantic Ocean in Ellsworth, Maine nowadays; Alexander’s family roots stretch north to Caribou.
“Spud is my grandfather’s home track, and all of our family is from up there too. It’s always special to go race there, it’s great to be going back for the first time in a couple of years. You got some small towns with a low population base, especially recently. But they’re all good people, we enjoy spending time up there whether it’s at Spud or seeing my dad’s family."
Having originally been scheduled for June, but postponed by rain to this Sunday, September 11; the Feed the County 150 will not only bring racing back to Aroostook County, but will also help to raise funds for food pantries throughout the county. Alexander also hopes the event, which also be shown live on Racing America, will help put a spotlight on the region, and possibly lead to more racing at Spud in the future.
“Everyone with the track are genuine and wanting to give back like what they’re doing. This is the only race they have up there, it’s incredible to see them put it to great use. Hopefully they can do a few more races during the year in the future, maybe mix in something different. I think it would be well received.”
Ever the racer, Alexander is also excited to be taking on the PASS Super Late Model regulars; an opportunity he has not had in over two years in his home state.
“Always exciting to take on the PASS regulars, especially after the past few years not having run as many races. The last time we ran a PASS race was down at Hickory back in the spring. The last time we ran one up here was the 2020 Oxford 250, so I haven’t run with those guys much the past couple of years. It’ll be cool to see how we stack up.”
While Alexander has run in the last two PASS races at Spud in 2018 and 2019, he is confident that his experience north of the border might help give him an edge in the return visit.
“It mostly compares to Speedway 95 in Bangor, but it’s pretty smooth. It’s probably the smoothest racing surface in Maine; it puts on great racing. It’s another reason why we enjoy going there and why you get a good group every time we race there. It’s actually similar to Speedway 660 also in a lot of ways too, so that might play into our favor I suppose.”
On the flipside, there is still a lot of work to be done, and with only a Sunday morning practice before the 1pm post time, Alexander knows that the No. 96 camp will have to make the most of it. Despite the pressure, it is not subtracting from his excitement, and the hope is there for to make a winning bid.
“I hope so. We know we can win races, but we haven’t raced on the PASS tire in a while, which is different than what we’ve been used to at 660. But I think we’re ready to go after it. Looking forward to seeing everyone up there. Excited it’s going to be shown live on Racing America, hope everyone enjoys it.”