Kyle Gallant had an outstanding high school career at Bangor’s John Bapst High School.
He was the quarterback for the football team; a pitcher-shortstop on the baseball team and a point guard for the basketball team.
He was the starting third baseman as a freshman at Waterville’s Thomas this past spring and hit .267 with six RBIs and six doubles in 28 games.
“I had a good year. I had a blast. Coach [Greg] King did a great job taking in all the freshmen. I’m very excited to go back,” said Gallant.
But it’s summertime and that means Gallant has traded in his glove for a steering wheel.
He is a passionate auto racer and is running two cars in four classes this summer.
He drives a 1992 Honda Prelude in the Monsta-Minis class at Unity Raceway and the Sport-Four class at Hermon’s Speedway 95 and a 1990 Honda Prelude in the Little Enduro class on Wacky Wednesday at Speedway 95 and in the Flying-Fours division at Unity Raceway.
Unity Raceway runs on Friday nights while Speedway 95 races on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
He also intends to run at least a few races at Caribou’s Spud Speedway.
Auto racing in is Gallant’s blood.
“My grandfather [Ken] used to race open modifieds in Nebraska in the 1950s and ‘60s and my dad [Dan] raced in strictly streets and in the PASS [Pro All-Stars Series] in the super late models in 2003 and part of 2004,” said Gallant.
His dad and older brother Jamie currently race against him in the Little Enduros at 95.
The Gallants and friend Jason Trundy of Old Town work on their race cars together.
“It’s fun. Jason has helped us out tremendously,” said Gallant. “We all work on the car that needs the most help.”
Gallant used to attend his dad’s races when he was a toddler and he began racing go-karts in Richmond when he was eight and eventually evolved into Little Enduros and Sport Fours when he was 14.
“I had to go in front of a judge to get written permission to race,” said Gallant, who didn’t have his driver’s license at that time.
He won five races between Unity Raceway and Speedway 95 last season and he has taken the checkered flag twice this season already.
He is second in points in the Monsta Minis at Unity and third in the Little Enduros at Speedway 95. He intends to race for the points title in those classes.
He missed races in the Sport-Fours and the Flying Fours so he will run for wins in those divisions.
He finds racing “relaxing” and said it has helped him in his other sports.
“Racing requires a lot of concentration and that helps me concentrate in other sports,” said Gallant.
He also said all the sports he participates in require a “team effort.
“But you also have to worry about yourself,” he said.
He said he has answered a lot of questions over the years from his teammates at Thomas and John Bapst pertaining to his auto racing career.
“I get questions all the time,” said the 19-year-old Gallant, who considers Spud Speedway his favorite.
“It’s a really quick, well-balanced track. And the fans are great. They’re really nice. [Track owner] Greg Veinote has done a great job up there,” said Gallant, who works for brother Jamie at the Northeast Facilities Management Co. in Bangor.
OPS off to good start
The economic downturn hasn’t hurt Oxford Plains Speedway, according to owner Bill Ryan.
They have also lost just one race card to weather, a Wednesday night Acceleration Series card.
“Our car counts have been up about five percent and our attendance has been up by more than 10 percent,” said Ryan. “We usually struggle early in the season but this year has been a lot better than last year.”
Ryan and his staff are gearing up for the 36th annual TD Banknorth Oxford 250 on Sunday, July 19.
The Wallace family will be the featured drivers in the race.
Steve Wallace, who runs on the NASCAR Nationwide Series tour and is the son of former Sprint Cup points champion Rusty Wallace, and his uncle Kenny, who also runs in the Nationwide series, are entered in the race. Kenny Wallace also occasionally runs in the Sprint Cup.
Rusty Wallace is the grand marshall for the race.
Ryan began the tradition of attracting Sprint Cup drivers to the race in 2004 and, last year, Kevin Harvick became the first Cup driver to take the checkered flag since he started the tradition.
75-lap Little Enduro race on tap
Hermon’s Speedway 95 will have a 75-lap Little Enduro feature on Saturday night with the winner pocketing $1200.
There will be several other classes including a 35-lap Strictly Street series race.
Ikey Dorr of Addison, who died of an apparent heart attack while racing at the track earlier this month, will be honored before the racing begins.
He was to be honored last Saturday but racing was rained out.
Unity Raceway doubles up
Unity Raceway will have racing on Friday and Saturday nights this weekend.
Saturday’s racing is a make-up of last weekend’s wash out and will also include Fernald Frenzy, a demolition derby.