Wiscasset Speedway continued their season opening festivities on Saturday, April 23rd, hosting the Group 2 season opener featuring the Portland Glass Strictly Streets, 88.5FM Modifieds, T&L Automotive Roadrunners, Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman and Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis.
WRITTEN BY: AMY HARROP – CHASING THE CHECKERED
The track saw growing car counts in every division and the addition of a handful of new drivers making the move over from the now-defunct Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. In total, 65 competitors and teams filled the pit area on Saturday.
Josh St. Clair, who became the first driver in track history to win 3 different championships in a single season last year, carried over his Opening Day Dominance from week one as he scored both the heat and feature victory in the Portland Glass Strictly Streets, which was the spotlight division of the day. St.Clair fought off a hard-charging Wade Kennedy, who was the 2021 Wildcat champion at Beech Ridge, in the closing laps of the race to pick up the victory. Mike Haynes rounded out the podium. Wade Kennedy was penalized 3 positions following post-race technical inspection due to a parts violation, moving the #99 of Jeremy Glazier into the official top 3.
The program continued with the flex division, the T&L Automotive Roadrunners. Adam Gardiner showed strength in the early portion of the race as he took off with the race lead. But, Seth Woodard remained persistent, stealing the top spot on lap 5. The two drivers remained close for the remainder of the race, advancing to a full straight away lead over their competitors in the closing laps of the race. It was Seth Woodard who took the crown, scoring the victory with Adam Gardiner and Jason Meservey rounding out the podium.
The Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis featured the biggest rivalry of the day with Jimmy Childs and Zach Audet, two multi-time champions (with Zach being the defending champion) going head-to-head for the Opening Day win. Jimmy Childs took off with the early advantage, but Zach Audet was right back to his door by lap 5. It came to a head for the two drivers as they tangled on lap 7, resulting in Childs cutting down a tire and Zach Audet making contact with the turn 4 wall. Audet was sidelined following the incident, but Childs returned to the track, embarking in an uphill battle as he went from last to first, reeling in the leader with just three laps remaining. Jimmy Childs scored the unofficial race victory as Shane Smith and Chris Watkins rounded out the top 3. The second place finish was Shane Smith’s first podium in 7 years and Chris Watkins’ third place finish was his first career podium. Race results for this division are still unofficial and pending further review.
Jett Decker, a newcomer to the Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model division, held the early lead in the 40-lap feature. Meanwhile, Shane Clark was charging to the front, ultimately stealing the top spot away from Decker on lap 8. Clark continued to pace the field as the laps continued to wind down, but had to fight off a hard-charging Josh St. Clair, who was looking to pick up his second feature victory of the day, in the closing laps of the race. Shane Clark succeeded, scoring his fourth career win and first feature victory in four years. Will Collins rounded out the podium. The infamous “Boss Hogg” himself, Dave St. Clair, made an appearance in the division, racing alongside his grandson Josh and celebrating his completion of the race with some donuts on the front stretch, surely entertaining both himself and the fans before he exited the track.
The 88.5FM Modifieds concluded the program with a final 30-lap feature. Jeff Burgess pulled away with a sizable early lead over his competitors. An early caution brought the field back together, allowing Ryan Ripley to take over the lead. Adam Chadbourne, last year’s 7-time winner and eventual champion, was coming through the field in the closing laps of the race, but unexpectedly retired to the pits with three laps to go. Ryan Ripley ultimately secured the win as Jeff Burgess and Brian Treadwell rounded out the podium.
The racing action continues as the Group 1 divisions return to the track on Saturday, May 7th. Wiscasset also returns to night racing, as the grandstand gate opens at 4:00 pm and racing will commence at 5:00 pm. As always, grandstand admission is just $5 with kids 6 and under free. For the full season schedule and more track information, please visit http://www.wiscassetspeedway.