July 21, 2013

Drive returns for TD Bank 250 ex-champ

Jeremie Whorff hasn't raced much since winning the TD Bank 250, but is set for a return.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

OXFORD - The last time Jeremie Whorff showed up to run in the TD Bank 250, he won it.

click image to enlarge

He may be Kevin Powell around these parts, but in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area, he’s Krazy Kevin Powell, the owner of car and motorcycle dealerships. This weekend he’s at Oxford Plains Speedway, looking for a victory in the TD Bank 250.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Martin LaTulippe is one of the three drivers from Quebec who made the trip to this year’s race, but more are expected in the future.

TD BANK 250

WHEN: Sunday; gates open at 10 a.m., qualifying starts at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Oxford Plains Speedway

In 2006, Whorff, now 29, picked up $36,600 in prize money and became the last driver from Maine to win the 250.

Sunday, he will be one of the three former winners who will try to qualify for the 40th running of the prestigious short-track event at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Unlike two other former winners, father-and-son Mike and Ben Rowe, Whorff comes into the week with a rather short racing resume. He really hasn't raced the past four years, while both Rowes are regulars on PASS North's tour for Super Late Models.

"I got married back in '09 and started a family and the racing took a back seat," Whorff said.

Last year, Whorff, owner of MidCoast Excavating and Flatworks Concrete in West Bath, hauled his old car out of mothballs and tried to resume his racing career.

"We tried to run in the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge and ended up blowing a motor," he said.

On July 12, Whorff ran the car in a 150-lap PASS North event at Oxford Plains.

"It went fairly decent," he said. "It had a few issues because it had been sitting for a while so we decided to pull it off before we got it in a wreck. We've been working on it all week."

Whorff said the setup for the car is close to what it was when he won the 250 seven years ago, the last time Super Late Models were allowed in the race.

"We figured we'd haul (the car) out of the trailer and dust it off, and try it out again," he said. "We're just going to go out and have a good time and see how it goes." 

"KRAZY" KEVIN POWELL is one of the eight southern drivers who will run in the 250.

"I got the nickname Krazy Kevin back when I was kid racing go-karts," he said. "The other dads told my dad, your kid's crazy. He's knocking everyone out of the way, and it's stuck."

Powell uses the nickname to promote his businesses in North Carolina.

"I own car dealerships and motorcycle dealerships in the Winston-Salem area, so my nickname is "Kraaaazy Kevin Powell," he said. "Everywhere I go all over town, kids and everyone are always yelling my name. It's fun stuff."

This season, Powell has been driving on the PASS South tour for owners Dick and Becky Woodman, transplanted Mainers who live in North Carolina.

"They're coming home to race in front of their friends and family," Powell said. "They haven't seen them for a long time so I'm really honored to drive their race car."

Occasionally, Powell races the tubularly built, opened-wheeled modifieds.

"We sometimes use our bumpers and knock people out of the way," he said. "In these Super Late Models, not so much. There's a little bit more finesse with those." 

THREE YOUNG drivers will make bids to become the youngest ever to qualify for the starting grid.

They include Tate Fogleman, 13, of Durham, N.C., Spencer Davis, 14, of Dawsonville, Ga., and Reid Lanpher, 15, of Manchester.

Each of them started racing go-karts when they were 5 or 6.

Davis, who races year-round, and Fogleman, son of reigning PASS national champion Jay Fogleman, are fifth and 10th, respectively, in the PASS South standings.

ONLY THREE DRIVERS from Quebec made the trip south to run in the 250, but that number is expected to increase in the next few years.

"We had zero Super Late Model cars in Quebec two years ago," said Kevin Roberge, a 25-year-old driver from Quebec City and co-owner of the Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallee Jonction, Quebec.

"Now we're up to 12 or 15, so I guess every single year it's going to grow and grow. I wouldn't be surprised in the next two years to have 15 guys from Quebec coming down to race."

Martin LaTulippe of Vallee Jonction made the haul after replacing the engine in his car.

"We expect to be able to make the show Sunday if we don't have any problems," he said.

Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

 

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