Truckin' With Twisty: The Make-A-Wish DT 100
Kart Racing With Some Big Short Track Names
by Mike Twist
Over the past year or so, I haven't been seeing much racing action.  A non-racing situation in my life has kept the #51 race truck and racing tractors parked for awhile and I'm not quite sure about any of them seeing the light of the racetrack in 2009 either.  But in the meantime, I have taken advantage of every available offer to hop into someone else's racecar.  That has actually worked out pretty well - with repeat victories in the annual Media Race at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) over the past two years and a top 10 finish in the BDI Racing #151 Pro Challenge Truck at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) last season.  What my racing has lacked in quantity has been made up for in quality because quite frankly, I've found out that other people's racecars are usually faster than my own.

And now, another one of those quality events is fresh in my rear view mirror.

I'll likely never to get race in the TD Banknorth Oxford 250, but this past weekend I might have gotten the chance to race in an event that comes the closest to it on my scale.  The DT 100 kart race took place in Maine and it had far more entries than starting positions.  It also had an elaborate series of heat, consi and last chance races determined by a draw and some really big name drivers on the entry list.  All things that are simular to the 250.

The DT 100 is an event that was started this season by New Hampshire racing graphics designer Dave Thomas and put on by the staff of Victory Lane Indoor Karting in Westbrook, Maine.  The idea was the get a number of regional short track drivers and fans together in the dead of winter to race together and raise some cash for the Make-A-Wish foundation.

In their first attempt at holding the race, the event organizers hit a home run.  General admission tickets were sold out weeks in advance for the race and a healthy sum was raised for Make-A-Wish.  Most of all, the drivers of New England, and beyond, answered the call when it came to entering the race.

The entry list for this year's event was 59 strong with just about every discipline of touring racing in New England represented.  PASS North champions Ben Rowe and Johnny Clark were there, as was NASCAR Camping World East Series driver Eddie MacDonald.  From the Modifieds, Andy Seuss (who represents the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Whelen Modified Tour and True Value Modified Racing Series depending on what week it is during race season) raced in the DT 100.   Jack of All Trades racer Bobby Santos, III showed up, as did Modified standout Woody Pitkat.  NEMA Midget aces Randy Cabral and Erica Santos were entered, as was ACT Late Modeler Ricky Wolf.  Late Model/Super Late Model driver Wayne Helliwell, Jr. was entered.  The Supermodified community was very well represented with Chris Perley, Mike Ordway, Sr., Mike Ordway, Jr., Howie Lane, Rob Summers and Dave Shullick, Jr. all on hand. 

There were plenty of other racers from Lee USA Speedway and karting on hand as well, but there is only so much room to this column, so listing them all would be a challenge.

Somehow they also decided to invite me, so I headed out to Victory Lane Kart on Saturday, along with my toddler daughter Courtney - an automatic cheerleader, to take part in the show.

With the stout entry list came a challenge.  There would only be 13 starting spots for the DT 100 - and plenty of competition to earn one.

To get into the show, you could either finish in the top two in one of six heat races (with up to 10 karts in each one) or you could place in the top two of a consi and then advance to a B-Main that you had to win to get into the DT 100. 

Before I even turned a lap on the track, I figured that my chances of making it into the DT 100 were slim.  But, I almost surprised myself.

After a weigh-in where the field was handicapped by driver weight and a draw for a heat race assignment, the fields for the qualifiers were set.  I was to start sixth in my heat race.  My mid-pack assignment could have been better and could have been worse.  Without any practice time, I didn't know what to expect.  On my pace laps, when my kart could barely keep up with the field under caution, so I was not very optimistic.
But soon after the green flag dropped, the kart built up some pretty good momentum.  I was able to work myself into a nice rhythm and figured out a good line around the Victory Lane indoor oval.  By halfway, I passed my way up into second place - a transfer spot.  Could I make it into the big dance after all?

Not this time.  A late race caution came out and I got stuck on the outside for the restart.  The combination of having poor track real estate for the restart and a kart that needed  to build up a head of steam killed my chances.  I dropped to the rear after the restart and had to work my way back up.  Traffic was tough, with one competitor even turning left into me going down the straightaway.  I moved back up, but ran out of time.  I got back up to fifth place and ran a best lap better than the four guys in front of me in the closing laps.  But it didn't matter, if you weren't in the top two, you'd go to a consi.

My consi was an eventful one for sure.  A big logjam wreck occurred and I even got to lead for a corner.  But I was determined to have been a part of the caution and went to the rear with plenty of company.

Eventually, I finished sixth after starting third.  To be honest, neither the driver nor the kart deserved to finish any better in that event.

So I was a non-qualifier, but I was in good company.  Among the big short track stars who also didn't make the feature were names like Bobby Santos, III, Johnny Clark, Eddie MacDonald, Andy Seuss, Woody Pitkat, Robbie Summers and both Mike Ordways.

Wayne Helliwell, Jr. won the 35-lap J&M Towing/ Dracut Exhaust and Brakes B-Main and made it to the DT 100, where he finished in the seventh position.

The DT 100 was won by Sanford, Maine's Mike Recine while Erica Santos made her way through the field to finish a strong second.  Santos might have passed the most karts all day long.  She won her heat race after nearly getting upside down in an early wreck which had her restarting that race at the rear.  My daughter Courtney might only be only a peanut, but she already seems to have a racing hero after watching Santos in the races on Saturday.

All in all, it turned out to be a great day.  The drivers had fun, the fans had fun and best of all, a good charity benefitted from all of those good times - which means that maybe with some of the money raise, a worthy child of two will have some fun now as well.  Now, I can't wait for the second running of the race and I look forward to logging some practice laps before next winter.

1st ANNUAL "DT 100" RESULTS (A-Main)
1. Mike Recine (5)
2. Erica Santos (12)
3. Keith Gilliam (11)
4. Matt Thomas (10)
5. Chris Perley (9)
6. Mike Murphy (8)
7. Wayne Helliwell Jr. (13)
8. Kyle Thistlewood (2)
9. Ben Rowe (7)
10. Jimmy Russell (3)
11. Ben Brown (1)
12. Scott Martel (4) *DNF (axle)
13. Jason Phillips (6) *DNF (spindle)

1. Wayne Helliwell Jr. (2)
2. Alby Ovitt (1)
3. Matt Pitkin (4)
4. Mike Netishen (10)
5. Tom Netishen (2)
6. Mike Ordway Jr. (6)
7. Johnny Clark (5)
8. Woody Pitkat (3)
9. Eddie Witkum Jr. (8)
10. Erick MacPherson (9)

1. Alby Ovitt (3)
2. Mike Ordway Jr. (2)
3. Glenn Murch (7)
4. "Pistol" Pete Fraser (8)
5. Andy Wood (4)
6. Mike Unger (6)
7. Mike Goutier (9)
8. Bobby Santos III (1)
9. Kenny Dunbar (5)
*Dave Thomas Sr. (DNS)

1. Wayne Helliwell Jr. (2)
2. Tom Netishen (1)
3. Clint Moulton (3)
4. Dan Lane (4)
5. Bill Fiske (7)
6. Johnny Ashley (6)
7. Mike King (8)
8. Eddie MacDonald (5)
9. Dave Shullick Jr. (9)
10. Jason Parsons (10)

1. Woody Pitkat (7)
2. Eddie Witkum Jr. (3)
3. Rob Summers (6)
4. Kevin Westphal (9)
5. Seth Stickney (1)
6. PJ Murphy (2)
7. Ricky Wolf (5)
8. Andy Seuss (4)
9. Ricky Wentworth (8)
10. James Maxwell (10)

1. Matt Pitkin (2)
2. Erick MacPherson (5)
3. Dave Sanborn (1)
4. Bryan Kruczek (7)
5. Mike Ordway Sr. (8)
6. Mike Twist (3)
7. Derek Bentley (4)
8. Steve Dickey Jr. (6)

1. Johnny Clark (1)
2. Mike Netishen (7)
3. Matt Anderson (4)
4. Bill Dastou (6)
5. Jeff Lavallee (3)
6. Patrick Tanguay (9)
7. Travis Stickney (2)
8. Bill Bentley (8)
9. Butch Valley Jr. (5)

1. Mike Recine (7)
2. Ben Rowe (2)
3. Bobby Santos III (10)
4. Wayne Helliwell Jr. (9)
5. Eddie Witkum Jr. (8)
6. Derek Bentley (1)
7. Butch Valley Jr. (5)
8. Dave Thomas (6)
9. Mike King (3)
10. Kevin Westphal (4)

1. Jimmy Russell (2)
2. Mike Murphy (8)
3. Tom Netishen (7)
4. PJ Murphy (3)
5. Mike Twist (6)
6. Matt Anderson (5)
7. Mike Unger (4)
8. Bill Fiske (9)
9. Ricky Wentworth (1)

1. Kyle Thistlewood (9)
2. Chris Perley (6)
3. Seth Stickney (4)
4. Matt Pitkin (3)
5. Jeff Lavallee (10)
6. Kenny Dunbar (8)
7. Johnny Ashley (7)
8. Woody Pitkat (5)
9. Mike Ordway Jr. (2)
10. Patrick Tanguay (1)

1. Jason Phillips (10)
2. Matt Thomas (8)
3. Dave Sanborn (1)
4. Travis Stickney (7)
5. Andy Wood (5)
6. Erick MacPherson (6)
7. Rob Summers (3)
8. Bryan Kruczek (9)
9. Bill Bentley (2)
10. Mike Goutier (4)

1. Scott Martel (5)
2. Keith Gilliam (6)
3. Johnny Clark (3)
4. Alby Ovitt (10)
5. Dan Lane (9)
6. Ricky Wolf (7)
7. Steve Dickey Jr. (4)
8. Mike Netishen (8)
9. "Pistol" Pete Fraser (1)
10. Jason Parsons (2)

1. Ben Brown (9)
2. Erica Santos (10)
3. Mike Ordway Jr. (8)
4. Clint Moulton (4)
5. Andy Seuss (7)
6. Erick MacPherson (1)
7. Bill Dastou (5)
8. Glenn Murch (2)
9. Dave Shullick Jr. (6)
10. James Maxwell (3)

The Victory Lane Karting facility served as the host track for the DT 100.  (51 Photo)
The crowd was strong for the DT 100.  (51 Photo)
Andy Seuss (left) and Eddie MacDonald.  (51 Photo)
Erica Santos and Woody Pitkat  (51 Photo)
Johnny Clark in action.   (51 Photo)
Ben Rowe at speed.   (51 Photo)
The odium of the DT 100. (From Left to Right) - 3rd Place: Keith Gilliam, 1st Place: Mike Recine, "Ms. DT 100": Jessica Ordway and 2nd Place: Erica Santos.  (Kathy Harrington Photo)