Saturday, July 13, 2024

In memory of his Dad

Episode 432

August 21, 2023

Race with a purpose

It can be tough to win a race where one of the contestants has a higher reason for victory than the average competitor. Motivation cannot make up for an ill-handling, slow race car, however, a well handling, fast race car in the hands of a driver with extra motivation to win can be hard to beat.

Thursday at Thunder Road International Speed Bowl in Barre, Vermont, that scenario played out. Upon arrival at the track atop Quarry Hill, I asked PR Director, Cale King, about what good stories were out in the pits at Thunder Road. King suggested several names including Cameron “Cam” Gadue of Highgate Center, Vermont a few minutes from the Canadian border in northern Vermont just off Interstate 89.

Cam Gadue, Highland Center, Vermont awaits the start of the feature race at Thunder Road’s Flying Tiger division. Earlier in the evening Gadue wheeled his #23 to the checkered flag in a qualifying heat race. (HTF Motorsports photo)

King mentioned that Gadue only 24-years-of-age was doing well in the Flying Tigers division similar to a Late Model/Street Stock class at other tracks in the northeast. Gadue is racing full-time at Thunder Road in 2023 after competing on the dirt tracks part-time at Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, New York, and Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vermont from 2017 through 2022.

In 2022 he bought Robert Gordon’s (St. Albans, VT) Flying Tiger to concentrate on Thunder Road. He did not come from a racing family and would attend Thunder Road 2 or 3 times per season as a youngster along with his father Kevin. A friendship with Swanton’s Dylan Rabtoy in high school is attributed to helping move the young Gadue from spectator to participator.  At first the team consisted primarily of Cam and his father with crew members added throughout the years.

Kevin R. Gadue, June 8, 1964-August 17, 2019. Husband of Renae, father to Erynn, Tyler, and Cameron. Loved by all. (Photo courtesy St. Albans Messenger)

Tragically in 2019. Gadue’s father, Kevin while checking a deer food plot on some of the family land in Fairfield, Vermont was killed when he rolled his atv in a ditch, hit his head on a rock, and died from that injury. Cam was changing gears in the race car after the show at Airborne was cancelled due to rain. Kevin Gadue was only 55.

Cam Gadue works at the family business, Ray’s Dies and Tubing in Swanton, Vermont. The business was started by his grandfather 55 years ago to produce high quality wire extrusion devices and now specializes in extrusion as well as medical endoscopy and vascular access components.

A graduate of Missisquoi Valley Union High School then Vermont State University Castleton campus in 2021 where he got his degree in business management. His father was his boss for several years until his unexpected death. Cam did not make it clear if he wishes to move eventually into management level at the company.

Rear view of the Chevrolet bodied Flying Tiger. Near the left rear taillight is John 3:16 which caught my eye while getting ready to interview Gadue. He said he got the inspiration to place the Bible verse in the same location where Bobby Labonte had it on the Joe Gibbs Interstate Battery Cup car in NASCAR. (photo by HTF Motorsports)

The #23 car was being called to the pre-race grid so a post-race interview was in order. Earlier Gadue won his heat race placing him on the outside of row one in the feature.

Post-race he described it this way, ” We had a good car. We started on the outside pole and took the lead right away! A caution at lap 9 wiped out our several car length lead. But we kept the lead on the restart. Then another caution on lap 20 the mid-point, brought us back to the field.”

Second place was special not only for Gadue but also his mom Renae who celebrated the podium finish and the memory of her husband, Kevin in Victory Circle. (HTF Motorsports photo)

“I held the lead on that restart. Brandon Gray reeled us in on or around lap 33 and held on to win. I’m pretty happy with second place. That tied us with our previous second earlier this season. Thank you to all the crew lead by crew chief Robin Wood.”

Fighting back tears, Gadue said, “Tonight was the four-year-anniversary of the atv accident that took the life of my father. We think of him all the time but we are especially thinking of him tonight. Hopefully he’s looking down on us with a big ol smile on his face. No doubt about that. We kept the same paint scheme as when he was alive to help him recognize us.”

Gadue has four more points races this season plus the Milk Bowl weekend.

Thunder Road SRX experience

From earlier in 2023 season, Thunder Road International Speedbowl lights up the night atop Quarry Hill in Barre Vermont. (Drone photo by Chris Alger)

Cale King listed some of the exciting happenings at Thunder Road after it was announced that the track would be hosting the SRX Series in July of 2023. Though the 2023 event was cancelled due to flooding in Vermont, the track has been promised a date in the 2024 SRX Series schedule.

One of the capital improvements that coincided with the SRX Series arrival was the construction of this three-story media tower. The new structure features hospitality suites on the first level, race director and scoring on level two with tower top viewing for cameras and observers. Modernized communications capability was built in as construction proceeded. (HTF Motorsports photo)

There is no comparison between the old media tower and the new. The track owners kept the old tower in case they want to start a museum it would be available. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Hosting an event like the SRX Series requires great lighting. Thunder Road owners stepped up to the plate a few years ago with new modern LED lights in the infield and front stretch. What was surprising was that these three infield lights are run by a generator hidden behind the landscaping at the base of the middle pole. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Nick Sweet with Hoosier Tire representatives before the 50-lap feature Late Model Race. Sweet left the race due to a broken rear drive hub. Sweet raced at Spud Speedway in a PASS race where he and DJ Shaw battled for the lead until Shaw won. Sweet said, “It is a long way from here to Caribou, Maine”! (HTF Motorsports photo)

Upcoming races galore!!!

Some races I will be monitoring since it is impossible to be everywhere for every race:

  1. Big Woods Grass Drags, Ashland, Maine Saturday August 26 with 10 AM start.
  2. 50th Annual Oxford 250 August 25-27th with racing every evening.
  3. Loring Timing Association Harvest Event August 30- September 1st.
  4. Sting Ray Robb next IndyCar race Sunday August 27th.
  5. Kody Swanson USAC Silver Crown race also at World Wide Raceway, Madison, Illinois.

Toyota Tacoma turns 300,000 miles

July 17, 2023 my 2004 Toyota Tacoma crossed the 300,000-mile mark on its way to 400,000 miles. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The 300,000 mile mark happened in front of one of my workplaces at Haney’s Home Farm & Garden. Many of those miles were used getting to work here, Spud Speedway, and RSU 39 for grounds keeping. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)