Strong’s Dale Brackett has discovered just how hard it is to run his own team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

He attempted to qualify for races at Martinsville (Va.) and O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, only to be sent home before each race.
“It’s been really tough,” said Brackett, who grew up in Abbott. “We were out to lunch [at Indianapolis].”

In an attempt to evaluate his program for his homecoming race in Saturday’s 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, Brackett has recruited the Bainey family to give him some help.

Brackett bought his two race trucks from Tim Bainey Sr. before the season.
“You can’t buy talent, but you can buy experience,” said Brackett.
Tim Bainey Jr. will pilot the No. 06 Chevrolet Silverado with his brother, Dan Bainey, as his crew chief. Tim Bainey Sr. will serve as the spotter.
“What we’re hoping is to help the whole team,” said Bainey Jr. “[We’re going to] help the crew guys get experience and to help them with setups.”

Bainey, a Phillipsburg, Penn., resident, has seven career starts in the Truck series, with three coming this year. He started a career-best 21st at New Hampshire last year.
“We ran good up until before halfway and we had an engine problem,” said Bainey of last year’s race at Loudon, N.H., where he finished 30th.
The Baineys won’t be the only help Brackett gets this weekend. Three Maine-based sponsors have committed to sponsoring the team for Loudon.

“We have some great local corporations that came on board and we want to give them a good run,” said Brackett.
Complete Hydraulics of Plymouth, Barry’s Collision and Repair in Augusta and Roy’s All Steak Hamburgers in Auburn will sponsor his truck.
“That’s our first big break for us,” he said. “The good thing about it is that is this also affords us to also be able to go to Martinsville [in October].”
Though it’s Brackett’s truck, this will be the first race that his name isn’t over the door.
“I hate seeing the truck run on the track without me in it,” said Brackett. “[But] I’m excited about it from the standpoint of I’m going to have the opportunity to sit back and look at the big picture. To look at our strengths and weaknesses in the team.”
When Brackett called Bainey with the opportunity to drive his truck, Bainey jumped at the chance.
“I’m very excited,” said Bainey, who races for Andy Hillenburg on a part-time basis. “It’s always fun to be able to work with guys like Dale and his team. It’s not a big corporation, it’s a fun time. It reminds me of the way way we started out.”
Rain ruined Brackett’s first attempt at making the Truck race in Martinsville, but inexperience cost his team at Indianapolis.
“I couldn’t get the truck through [technical inspection] and we missed first practice,” he said, adding that his crew chief was unable to make it to the track.

Brackett relies on a dedicated volunteer crew that works at his shop in Strong.

“They spent money out of their own pocket to do this,” said Brackett. “It’s $550 for a crew member’s license. That’s just a license to go over the wall [for pit stops]. They bought their own safety gear. They believe in me and what we’re doing.”

The Brackett Family Motorsports team has an excellent chance to make its debut this weekend as only 35 trucks have been entered for 36 starting positions as of Wednesday evening.
Brackett has changed his philosophy a bit. He’s now focusing on the next race and not looking too far ahead.

“I’ve gotten to the point to where we’re doing one race at a time,” said Brackett, who had planned on attempting seven races, but now plans on four. “I’m hoping [sponsors] will like what we’re doing and they’ll want to be a part of it.”
Brackett returns to the driver’s seat in October at Martinsville.

Theriault, Martin running ACT Invitational

Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault and Frenchville native Shawn Martin will be racing the American-Canadian Tour Invitational at Loudon, N.H.

The 50-lap race will be run after the Truck series race Saturday.

Theriault has splashed onto the ACT Late Model tour as a rookie this season. He sits eighth in points after starting only nine of the 12 races. His best finish came at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough where he placed second.

“It’s very exciting for the whole crew,” said Theriault. “Not many people get to have the opportunity we’ve been given.”

He’ll be making his debut at the 1.058-mile oval.

“We’re running about 150 [mph] in our cars,” he said of an earlier test session at NHMS. “The track is so smooth, it doesn’t even feel like your running that fast.”

Martin, who resides in Turner, will be making his second ACT Invitational start at the Magic Mile.

“It’s really exciting,” said Martin, who finished second in Oxford Plains Speedway Late Model points to Tim Brackett. “It’s a whole different feeling this year from last year.”

Martin placed 14th in last year’s Invitational.

Just waiting to race is hard on the drivers. The drivers get 20 minutes of practice at 8 a.m. Saturday, but don’t race until 5:45 p.m.

“It’s extremely difficult just waiting for the green flag to drop,” said Martin. “Different tire compounds get put on the track [by other series] and the track tightens up.”

Other Maine drivers in the ACT Invitational include Dennis Spencer Jr. of Oxford, Bradley Babb of Windham, Glen Luce of Turner, Travis Adams of Canton, T.J. Watson of Cundy’s Harbor, Scott Luce of Strong, Ricky Rolfe of Albany Township and Tim Brackett of Buckfield.

Winner of the last two TD Bank 250s at Oxford, Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., will attempt to defend his ACT Invitational title. He is also entered in Friday’s K&N Pro Series East race and Saturday’s Camping World Truck race.