By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — After an impressive 12th finish out of a field of 35 cars in July, Tom Estey returns to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to take another shot at racing success.
Estey owns a car that will race on Sept. 21 at Loudon, part of NASCAR’s Webb 100 Whelan Modified Tour.
In July, Estey’s car took the 12th spot, up against many top-dollar cars with multi-million-dollar sponsorships.
Estey owns Estey Lumber in Londonderry, a three-generation family business that offers wood products, wood chips, mulch, and now a country store with seasonal produce, florals and gifts.
He has lived in town all his life.
Watching the racing world was something he always loved, Estey said. He eventually wanted to get involved.
“I”ve always loved cars,” he said. “My neighbor also had a modified car and ran some local tracks like the Star Speedway in Hudson.”
He decided to try his hand at running his own car.
“I always thought, ‘someday,’ but I never thought I’d own a car,” he said.
A search to find the right car led him to an online dealer who had just the vehicle he wanted.
“I got the car from New Jersey, it was race ready, but I still had to make some changes,” Estey said.
The car now sports the name of Harold Estey Lumber, named for both Estey’s father and grandfather.
The Londonderry man would not divulge how much the car cost, but he did say racing can be an expensive sport, especially for someone like himself. He works hard in the racing world, does a lot of the pit crew tasks himself, and doesn’t have any million-dollar companies offering car sponsorships.
“I pay for everything out of my own pocket,” Estey said.
Estey’s driver is Jacob Dore of Maine, who made his Whelan tour debut driving Estey’s car at Loudon in July.
“He’s real good,” Estey said of his 24-year-old driver.
Dore has made a name for himself on local speedway circuits, including Star, and is the current points leader and defending EKeys4Cars Modified champ at the Epping raceway.
He has won numerous racing honors in Maine and in various other racing competitions around New Hampshire, including the Twin State Speedway in Claremont. Dore earned many junior championships while working his way up the regional racing ranks.
The car is currently with Dore in Maine, being fine-tuned and prepped for the Sept. 21 race at Loudon.
Estey said there is nothing like the excitement and the crowds at Loudon. He called the modified races truly exciting for anyone who is a race fan.
“If you watch racing, you want them to be action packed,” he said.
It’s also an added adrenaline rush to know the races are broadcast on television.
“Modifieds put on the best show,” he said. “It’s a really good time.”
Estey credits Loudon and the state for making racing available to a legion of fans who travel there to watch some of the country’s best drivers. He said New Hampshire is lucky to have NASCAR bring major events to Loudon.