Racing is a family affair for the Alexanders

first_img Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 Latest Posts Biocenter_img Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 ELLSWORTH — Most might not expect 16-year-old Wyatt Alexander to feel nervous before taking his driver’s license test.After all, the Ellsworth High School senior has been driving competitively since he was 4, starting with go-karts and working his way up to the Pro Stock Chevy SS he races today.But in November, Wyatt felt the same pressure all teenagers experience before the exam — if not more.“I’m the kid who’s expected to pass it no problem,” Wyatt says. “I was super nervous I would do something silly and mess it up. That would have been embarrassing.”Wyatt didn’t mess up. He is well experienced in managing stress behind the wheel, and he hopes to make a career out of it someday.Brett Alexander (left) and his son, Wyatt, sit next to each other at the Wiscasset Speedway. PHOTO BY JOHN A. MILLER PHOTOGRAPHYThis is placeholder textThis is placeholder textWyatt, an Ellsworth native, has grown up around cars. His grandfather, Bob Alexander, founded K&B Automotive in 1992 and built its garage on the Surry Road in 1999 — the same year Wyatt was born. Wyatt’s father and Bob’s son, Brett Alexander, eventually took over the business, where all three generations of Alexanders now work.The trio also runs a race team together, and they compete every other weekend. Wyatt drives, Bob is the crew chief and Brett is the crew.“My dad and my grandfather have taught me the ropes,” Wyatt says. “We treat racing like a business.”Wyatt’s trophies sparkle on display near the entrance of the shop. “Those are just a few of them,” says Brett from behind the counter.A plaque on the window sill reads Wiscasset Speedway “2015 Rookie of the Year” — an honor for racers who excel in their initial year in a new division. Last season was Wyatt’s first in the Pro Stock class, which he says is considered the top level before entering the NASCAR ranks. He competes in races across the country.Wyatt’s interest in cars dates back to when he was a toddler. He started out racing go-karts at Thundering Valley in St. Albans from 2004 to 2012.Bob recalls the days when Wyatt would regularly slam his foot on the gas and spin out.“He was pretty terrible when he started out,” Bob says.“Yup,” Wyatt confirms.That didn’t last. Wyatt won his first World Karting Association (WKA) series in 2009. Three years later, he won a WKA national championship — his most cherished award from his karting career.A young Wyatt Alexander poses next to the Legends car he used to race. FILE PHOTOAt age 12, Wyatt started racing in the Amsoil NELCAR Legends car series. He made history as the youngest in Maine to ever race Legends cars, which are vehicles powered by motorcycle engines and modeled after 1930s Coupes and Sedans.Wyatt notched the Legend Cars Maine State Young Lion title in 2014 before making his debut in Pro Stocks. In 2015, he became the youngest to take the checkered flag at the Boss Hogg 100 championship at the Wiscasset Speedway.“Most of the guys I’m racing against have been doing it longer than I’ve been alive,” Wyatt says.“But he has earned the respect of the older drivers,” Bob adds.Cars are not the only thing that runs through the Alexander family — racing does, too. Bob raced cars for 22 years. His 100-plus wins earned him a spot in the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2013.Bob entered the racing scene in the early 1970s while crewing for a friend at Spud Speedway in Aroostook County.“He actually let me drive one time,” Bob says, “and I ended up wrecking his car.”Bob wasn’t deterred from the sport. He bought his own car and trailer and became hooked on “the adrenaline rush of winning.” Like Wyatt, he won “Rookie of the Year.”“Wyatt inherited those traits,” Bob says. “He has better control and a better feel for the car than I ever did.”Bob’s son and Wyatt’s dad, Brett, was also a racer for a brief stint, but he preferred the mechanical side of cars.Bob and Brett are not the only family members heavily involved in Wyatt’s racing.“For us, it’s a family deal,” Bob says. “We’ll do everything in our power to support him.”The family regularly loads into the trailer and joins Wyatt on tour across the country. His little sister Quinn has been attending his races since she was two weeks old.Bob says Quinn, who just turned 3 on June 28, is Wyatt’s biggest fan. She even has her own headset in which she speaks to her brother. “Race safe, Bubby,” she’ll tell him.But Bob is quick to note that racing is more than just a hobby for the Alexanders.“We’re intense,” Bob says. “We go to the race track planning to win that day.”Driving is only part of the sport. Bob and Wyatt estimate that the family spends 40 hours every week working on the car, which has a Howe chassis.Bob Alexander gives a thumbs-up at the Wiscasset Speedway. He works as his grandson Wyatt’s crew chief. PHOTO BY JOHN A. MILLER PHOTOGRAPHYBob says full-time crew chiefs and members as well as car builders make between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. Teams who employ such labor are often fronting an annual bill costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.“We could not race without this resource,” Bob says of the shop, K&B Auto. “We’re fortunate enough that I’m retired, so I can do that.”“He slaves for free, basically,” Wyatt adds.“I do it because I love to do it,” Bob says. He laughs. “But I wouldn’t do it for anybody else.”Between racing and working full time, the Alexanders spend a lot of time together.“Which is obviously awesome,” Wyatt says. “We butt heads from time to time, but I wouldn’t change it.”When it comes to tweaking the car, the team collaborates on every decision. The lighter the vehicle, the faster it goes. They say keeping up with new developments in car dynamics is a perpetual task.“Halfway through the season, people will try new things,” Wyatt says. “If it’s working, everyone does that. Next season, everybody is doing something different.”Wyatt says 60 to 70 percent of the sport depends on the car and crew.“A lot of people don’t understand what it takes to get the car on the race track every week,” Wyatt says, “and all the work my grandfather puts in.”Outside of his family, Wyatt says he encounters people who just “don’t get it.” He often hears, “It’s not even a sport. You just turn left.” But the flak doesn’t seem to bother Wyatt.“I get that all the time,” Wyatt says. “I don’t push it on people. It’s my own thing.”Wyatt can take the heat — literally. While racing, he wears a two-layer Nomex suit as well as a helmet and fireproof shoes and gloves. He says the temperature inside the car can reach 130 degrees.Wyatt Alexander, 16, races a Pro Stock Chevy SS (No. 96) at the Wiscasset Speedway. PHOTO BY JOHN A. MILLER PHOTOGRAPHYWyatt also regularly fields the question, “Have you ever crashed?”“It’s like if you’ve ridden a bike for a long period of time and fallen down,” he says. “Yeah, I’ve definitely had my fair share of hard hits. But we put all our money into safety equipment first.”Wyatt has made up to $4,000 from a single race, but he says the prize money doesn’t come close to offsetting the car maintenance and travel costs. He relies heavily on sponsorships — 80 percent of which come from local businesses.“They say racing will make you a millionaire if you started out as a billionaire,” Wyatt says. “We’re not in it for the money.”Wyatt sells T-shirts on his website, and he even signs autographs. He already has fans, though he’s too modest to call them that.“They’re fans of the sport who happen to like me,” he says.When Wyatt was 14, he earned the affection of a little boy whose name is also Wyatt — the perfect icebreaker for the star-struck child.Wyatt gave a hat to the boy who, since then, has regularly attended Wyatt’s races at Speedway 95 in Hermon.“Maintaining those relationships is key,” Bob says. “Kids who just want to come up and see the car or sit in the car or get an autograph — it means so much to them.”Bob knows this firsthand. When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, he says a 50-year-old woman from Presque Isle told him she was his biggest fan when she was 8.“She said, ‘When I was a little girl, you went out of your way to sign my T-shirt,’” Bob says. “I had no clue.”Bob says hearing that was a career highlight.Wyatt doesn’t hesitate when asked who his idols are.“My grandfather and my dad,” he answers.Wyatt has inherited many of Bob’s fans, and his grandpa’s legacy has become a source of pride.Wyatt is also competing against racers he used to follow as a child, such as Johnny Clark of Farmingdale — a six-time Pro All Stars Series North champion.“I look around, and I’m like, ‘Holy smokes,’” Wyatt says. “Even if I don’t beat them, just racing with them and being one of those drivers is cool.”But Wyatt can beat them. A few weeks ago, he took first in a race in front of Kelly Moore — the driver with the all-time most wins in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series.Wyatt says he would like to drive professionally, but he’s realistic about the financial costs of making it into NASCAR.“If I get the opportunity? Absolutely,” Wyatt says. “We do what we can, but we need the sponsors to do this.”Regardless, Wyatt says he plans to stay in the automotive industry one way or another. An AP honors student in math and science, he’s interested in engineering or perhaps taking over the family business someday.“I grew up here, rolling around in the dirt,’ Wyatt says of the shop. “I don’t really know anything else.”For more information about Wyatt, visit EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016last_img read more

Maradona delighted at Infantino’s 48-team World Cup plan

first_img(REUTERS) – Diego Maradona is delighted by plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams and Argentina’s former captain said yesterday that it would rekindle interest in the tournament.The FIFA Council is expected to approve a proposal to expand the finals from 32 to 48 teams, starting in 2026, when it meets today.Maradona, one of the greatest players to grace the game, has been a long-time critic of FIFA but the two sides buried the hatchet last year after Gianni Infantino was elected president of the global soccer body to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter.“I’m delighted by Gianni’s initiative because it gives chances to teams that otherwise would start the qualifiers knowing they had no chance of getting to the World Cup,” Maradona told reporters after a veterans’ match at FIFA headquarters.“It gives each country the dream and it renews the passion for football, it appears to me to be a fantastic idea,” added Maradona, who captained Argentina to World Cup success in 1986.He had also previously criticised Infantino, saying it was “very wrong to go from drawing the lots to running for FIFA president.”The remark was a reference to Infantino’s previous role as general secretary of European soccer governing body UEFA, where his duties included supervising draws for European competitions.He said it was important for the sport that FIFA’s image improved after it was battered by a corruption scandal that has seen 40 individuals and two sports marketing companies indicted in the United States.“We want a FIFA that is clean so people come back to the stadiums; with so much corruption people have got tired of always seeing the same thing,” said the 56-year-old.Maradona was a frequent critic of Infantino’s predecessor Sepp Blatter and claimed there was “a mafia” inside FIFA.last_img read more

Lack of action on insurance costs slammed

first_imgDeputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has said that unless the Government take immediate and precise action against the Insurance industry, then ordinary people will have to continue to suffer increasing costs and massive hikes in their insurance premia.Motor insurance premiums in Ireland remain at one of the highest levels in all of Europe at 32% higher than those charged in 2014.Typically, premia in Ireland are 3 to 4 times higher than any other European country. In terms of insurance cover for businesses some small companies are being quoted 100% to 200 % hikes in their renewal on an annual basis.Pat the Cope fumeded “Motor insurance premiums and insurance cover for businesses remain far too high at present.  Young drivers, returning emigrants and drivers of old cars continue to be unfairly treated by a dysfunctional market, which is in total control and quite simply can name their price when it comes to issuing your annual insurance cover”.The Donegal Deputy said that unless we have a functioning insurance market that operates in parity with European norms, we will not successfully bring in the new competition that is clearly required in the Irish market.And he added that without reform and new competition, we will continue to be crucified with high costs. He added “This government is once more playing catch up on insurance reform despite many commissioned reports and actions committed to under the Cost of Insurance Working Group and the Oireachtas Finance Committee.“The Government’s approach of compile a report or two to buy time and relieve the public pressure on them rather than taking action that would actually help those that are struggling to renew their insurance premia.”According to the Fianna Fail Deputy the government has failed to take action to tackle rising costs.He said “For example, it is now nine months since the completion of the final report of the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC). Its central recommendation, a Judicial Council, has still not met to start compiling guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury.“A dedicated unit within An Garda Síochána to fight insurance fraud was first proposed in January 2017 by Fianna Fáil but yet here we are in August 2019 and nothing has happened. “Here in Ireland we need to do a lot more to bring transparency to the insurance market.  Many foreign insurance companies are reluctant to come here simply because this government is once more playing catch up on insurance reform despite many commissioned reports and actions committed to under the Cost of Insurance Working Group and the Oireachtas Finance Committee.“We have a clearly dysfunctional insurance industry that is more powerful than our present Government, and until the proper balance is restored with the necessary changes to the quantum of insurance pay-outs, dealing effectively with multiple claims, combating fraudulent claims and new completion into the Irish market, until then the existing high premiums will remain unfortunately.”Lack of action on insurance costs slammed was last modified: August 27th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:carCostdonegalHikeinsurancePat The Cope GallagherSlammedlast_img read more

MH370: Searchers confident it will be found!

first_imgThe Australian led international team looking for MH370 is confident that it will be found within the next year.Yesterday Martin Dolan Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau told the UK’s Express that he is confident the wreckage will be found soon.MH370 went missing on March 8 last year with 239 passengers and crew aboard on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 last year.However despite the most expensive and comprehensive search in aviation history no trace has been found of the Boeing 777.“Once we started looking and defining the search area, it became quite clear it could take up to two years,” Mr Dolan told Express.“We still remain confident it will be found in the next year and all the analysis we have puts the aircraft somewhere in that large search area.”Mr Dolan said that there is “no more information that would allow us to calculate a different area and governments accept that.”Almost half of the 120,000sq km area has been searched so far with the expectation that it will take another 12 months to complete the task.Mr Dolan rejects all the rumours saying that “all the information we have puts the aircraft in this defined search area.”“The crews and equipment being used are excellent and the data we’re receiving is of a quality beyond the specifications yet.“If we have to search the entire area, it will be completed this time next year but we expect to find the aircraft before then.”The primary countries involved and or funding the search are Australia, Malaysia and China, although the UK, USA, France and The Netherlands are technical contributors.MH370: Pilot knows where it isMH370: Only human inputlast_img read more

10 months ago​Man Utd veteran Mata thanks Mourinho: But it’s time for optimism

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say ​Man Utd veteran Mata thanks Mourinho: But it’s time for optimismby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United attacker Juan Mata has thanked Jose Mourinho for all he did at the club.With the Portuguese boss now gone and replaced by club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a few United players have been saying their piece on Mourinho’s departure.The Spaniard remained his classy self in his comments about his former boss.He wrote in his personal blog: “Obviously, it has been a different week with the change of manager and I’d like to thank Jose for the trophies we won together and wish him luck for the future.He added: “As you will all be aware, the legendary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is our new boss and we couldn’t have started off upon his return to the club in a better way.”It was a convincing win against Cardiff and it will raise morale going into the end of 2018 and the rapidly approaching new year.”It is time for be optimistic, to look ahead and keep working hard to climb up the table. We are really motivated to do so while entertaining our fans, who deserve so much.” last_img read more

10 months agoWATCH: Cesc Fabregas in tears for Chelsea farewell

first_imgWATCH: Cesc Fabregas in tears for Chelsea farewellby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas was in tears at the end of their FA Cup triumph over Nottingham Forest.The Spaniard is expected to leave the Blues in the coming days and join up with Thierry Henry’s AS Monaco, in what will be a reunion with his former Arsenal captain.Fabregas has just five months remaining on his Chelsea contract and would have been required to take a significant pay-cut to his £160,000-a-week salary to have stayed at Stamford Bridge.He was named captain for what will be his final game, a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round. The occasion was somewhat soured after he missed a penalty in the opening 45 minutes.Cesc Fábregas’s emotional farewell to Stamford Bridge today after 500 games in English football. What a player.Thanks you, Cesc.— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) January 5, 2019 TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

10 months agoMan Utd striker Lukaku: Solskjaer style benefits me

first_imgMan Utd striker Lukaku: Solskjaer style benefits meby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United striker Romelu Lukaku says he’s working closely with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Lukaku scored in the FA Cup win over Reading.He told MUTV: “I take it one day at a time, work as hard as I can and help the team.”I am really happy and try to improve along the way.”He [Solskjaer] helps us a lot in the training when we’re doing finishing practice with things like how to strike the ball, how to move away from the ball.”The way he wants us to play really benefits me because he wants me to be in positions where I want to be.”He understands what type of striker you are and plays to your strength.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

2 days agoMan City seek social media influencers to promote Champions League games

first_imgMan City seek social media influencers to promote Champions League gamesby Paul Vegas2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City are seeking social media influencers to help promote the experience of attending games at the Etihad.The Mirror says City are advertising for social influencers to help sell the “great atmosphere” at the Etihad Stadium during Champions League games.The ad, which was posted on influencer marketing platform Tribe, also calls for males – preferably students, young professionals and those new to Manchester – to post content that can “tell an authentic and genuine story of what it’s like to be at a game”.In the ad, City said: “The Champions League this year has given us three relatively unknown teams meaning our core fans are less likely to attend.”We identified students, young professionals and those new to Manchester who are our ideal audiences, however we can’t ignore core fans either as they still account for most ticket sales.”We want to get across the great atmosphere of the Etihad through the use of influencers who can tell an authentic and genuine story of what it’s like to be at a game.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Toronto stock index up loonie higher following Thanksgiving holiday weekend

first_imgTORONTO – Financial shares helped push Canada’s main stock index higher Tuesday following the three-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index advanced 42.04 points to 15,770.36.“There’s a better seasonal backing for banks as we go into Q4,” said Sid Mokhtari, executive director of portfolio and technical research at CIBC Capital Markets. “That’s a theme that’s been going on today.”A surge in the price of oil — which saw the November crude contract spike $1.34 to US$50.92 per barrel — did little to buoy the energy sector, which was down 0.01 per cent.“There is anecdotal evidence that suggests that there may be some improved demand side for the commodity as global growth starts to improve,” Mokhtari said of oil’s upward movement.“I also think to a greater degree it has a lot to do with the price action… It’s finding stability above a series of technical averages, that level being roughly US$49 to US$50, and as it gets above the US$50 level it forces a lot of shorts to come back into the market.”South of the border, it was also a positive trading day on Wall Street.The Dow Jones industrial average added 69.61 points to 22,830.68, a record high. The S&P 500 index was up 5.91 points to 2,550.64 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 7.52 points to 6,587.25.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.99 cents US, up 0.30 of a cent.Elsewhere in commodities, the December gold contract climbed $8.80 to US$1,293.80 an ounce.The November natural gas contract was up six cents at US$2.89 per mmBTU and the December copper contract was up three cents to US$3.06 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

Drew Brees Supports Jonathan Vilma In Affidavit

Jonathan Vilma, the New Orleans Saints’ linebacker who received a one-year suspension in the team’s bounty case, received strong support from quarterback Drew Brees in his quest to play this season.Vilma is fighting his punishment levied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Brees’ affidavit was entered in New Orleans federal court as evidence for Vilma’s motion to dismiss the 2012 suspension for the linebacker’s alleged involvement in a program offering bonuses to players who injure opponents. Vilma has sued Goodell, claiming defamation. An NFL investigation found that the New Orleans Saints operated a bounty system rewarding between 22 and 27 players for hard hits and injuring opposing players.Drew Brees, who signed a five-year, $100 million contract last week to stay with the Saints, also swears that he wasn’t aware of any bounty program.“I have no knowledge of a pay to injure program existing, and yet to personally see any evidence that would substantiate these allegations,” Brees says in the affidavit. “In my four years as a teammate with Jonathan, I have found that he is a man of integrity who passionately plays the game of football within the frameworks of the rules and has respect for his opponents.”Drew Brees was generous in his depiction of Vilma, who has been a model citizen off the field. He said Vilma has been dedicated to helping the city recover from Hurricane Katrina and has started a foundation to build schools in Haiti.“As a professional football player, our platform to reach our communities is directly driven by the manner in which we compete on the field,” Brees said. “Therefore, Jonathan’s absence on the field will adversely affect his ability to impact the community in a positive way as a leader and a role model.”Vilma and Saints coach Sean Payton have been suspended for the 2012 season for their roles in the bounty program the NFL says went on for three seasons.The league wants the case dismissed because the collective bargaining agreement reached last August to end the lockout gives the commissioner the authority to punish players for “conduct detrimental” to the NFL. But Vilma is not accepting Goodell’s unilateral decision without a fight. read more