Alan Tardiff
Veteran short track racer Alan Tardiff, of Lyman, powers off Turn 4 at Oxford Plains Speedway during a practice session earlier this season. Tardiff won his first career Super Late Model feature at Oxford on June 10 and is leading the point standings. 

LYMAN — In most cases, when a driver leaves the friendly confines of the track where he learned to race for the challenges of a different venue, success doesn’t come right away.

Yet for 32-year-old Lyman native and third-generation racer Alan Tardiff, the combination of great chemistry in his new team, a brand-new race car and raw talent have helped things come together pretty fast.

In seven starts this season, Tardiff and his TMR Racing squad have earned a win (June 10), three top-fives, four top-10s and are leading the Super Late Model point standings by a comfortable margin. 

“When the opportunity came about to race for TMR this year, I told them I wanted a new challenge,” Tardiff said. “I’ve raced at Beech Ridge my whole life. Oxford is one of my favorite tracks in Maine. We wanted to go race at a place we like, and so far, it’s been working out pretty well for us.”

His new team, headed by owner Rick Lockwood and co-owner Tom Mason, feels more like a family than a group of gear-heads. The 2017 season has brought a smile to everyone’s face, not just because they’re running well, but because of the way Tardiff says they’re treated and the environment itself.

“At Oxford, we’re all treated very nicely by the officials,” Tardiff said. “Race teams there all seem to get along and talk to each other. The overall atmosphere is very positive. It’s a longer drive home for us, but we’re really enjoying ourselves.”

With 23 years of racing in his resume, Tardiff has driven a variety of cars. His experience includes a three-year stint in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, where heavily-financed teams rule the day. Between 2008 and 2010, he made 17 starts.

In 2009, he ran 10 of 11 races held, earning three top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He earned the Pole Award (fast time) on April 25 of that year at Tri-County Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina, and went on to finish third in the race. It was, in fact, a case of David holding his own against Goliath.

“It was really satisfying to compete against those high-dollar guys and beat some of them,” Tardiff added. “We ended finishing the season seventh in final points, which I thought was pretty respectable.”

Tardiff has auto racing in his blood. His grandfather, Paul Tardiff, competed at Beech Ridge soon after Jim McConnell opened the place in 1949 and won the B Class championship in 1959. His father, Marc, also drove for a while before he became a car owner with drivers Pete Rondeau and Bobby Randall.

“I’ve been around the sport my whole life, so it’s just natural for me. I’m proud of what my grandfather did in his day and what my father did, as well,” Tardiff said. “I just focus on my team now and hope to carry on their legacy in a respectable manner.”

Tardiff’s extensive career also includes three starts on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) in 2007 and 2008, with a single top-10 to his credit. One of his career highlights is the 2013 Oxford 250, in which he started 16th and raced his way to an impressive eighth-place finish.

As the owner of AMT Designs, Tardiff serves the Maine racing industry with quality artwork and the production of vinyl wraps for cars, screen printed apparel and promotional cards. AMT Designs has done the Oxford 250 souvenir shirts the past two years, a gig Tardiff says he’s very fortunate to have.

“I started this business back in 2000,” Tardiff said. “It was just as a part-time deal. I was filling a void created when a friend of my father moved south. It started with friends and family, and today I’m very busy with a lot of customers. I’m fortunate to have the 250 shirt deal, with the rich history of that race.”

As with every other driver who is enjoying success on the race track, Tardiff has a key group of folks who make his racing program possible. While it takes good equipment, it also takes the right people in the right places.

“I’m especially thankful for this opportunity to drive for Rick and Tom, I couldn’t ask for better team owners,” he said. “My father helps us a lot, he is very good at working with tires. No matter how well a race car is prepared, if the tires aren’t right, your day isn’t going to be very good. 

“I also have Alan Jackson, or AJ, as we call him. He’s been with me since the K&N Pro Series days. One of the new guys with TMR this year is Brian Walker. He keeps the race car clean and cooks for the team. A hungry crew isn’t a happy crew, and Brian does a great job making sure we’re well fed on race day. 

“Our valued marketing partners are AR Bodies and Investment Properties, LLC, of Gorham. I greatly appreciate their support of this race team.”

As we quickly approach the month of July and the halfway point of the season, Tardiff says the goal now is to keep the car consistent and attempt to remove the Bracketts from their position as the Kings of Oxford.

“I think everybody knows, when you come to Oxford, you’re going to have to contend with Tim and TJ Brackett,” Tardiff said. “They’ve pretty much controlled the premier classes the last four years now, so I knew they wouldn’t exactly be willing to hand over the reigns. We’ll have to work hard to earn that coveted title.”

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