The 2022 season at Wiscasset Speedway is already nearly half over. As the temps warm up heading into the middle weeks of the race season, the action heats up and the top contenders start to find their stride, and the championship points chase starts to come into focus.
by Ken Minott
This was certainly the case as race teams gathered on a hot steamy Saturday evening at Maine’s fastest track for a Group 2 program, with action in the Strictly Streets, Late Models, Outlaw Mini’s, and Modifieds. The show also featured the lone visit on the schedule for the Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR Tour). Saturday proved to be a night for the veterans and championship-caliber drivers to shine. Each of the winners on the night, past or defending champions in their respective divisions, grabbed their second feature win of 2022 and launched themselves back into the title conversation once again.
The Portland Glass Strictly Streets had center stage with a 35-lap spotlight feature. 2-time champ Kurt Hewins of Turner took advantage of a front-row starting spot and made it count, turning in a dominant performance for the victory – his second of the season. Hewins withstood a couple of mid-race restarts, including a showdown restart against last year’s runner-up Jonathon Emerson. Each time he took less than a lap to take charge and claim the checkered flag. Emerson, who lost the Strictly title to Josh St Clair on a tiebreaker, settled for second. They were joined in victory lane by Augusta’s Jason Gaboury. The top 5 was filled out by Appleton’s Jeremy Glasier and defending champ Josh St Clair.
The Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman division boasted a strong and talented 22-car field for their 40-lap feature. Clinton’s Frank Moulton held the early lead while the division’s top drivers methodically picked their way through traffic. Several mid-race cautions, each for spins, would bunch up the field and give drivers like Josh St Clair, Will Collins, and Ryan Ripley a shot at a podium spot. St Clair who started the race back in 18th had the lead by lap 10 showing a strong car that could run pretty much anywhere he put it on the track. Ripley gave chase along with Moulton and 5-time champ Chris Thorne, who had raced his way up from 22nd to 4th with just 10 laps to go. While the veterans went at it for the top spot a couple of the division talented rookies Daniel Harding and Jet Decker were hanging around in the lead pack as well. The final lap kept fans on the edge of their seats as the reigning champ Josh St Clair grabbed his second win of the season – second in a row. Ripley chased him across the line just car length behind with a heated side-by-side battle for 3rd. Moulton and Thorne tangled entering turn one on the final lap. Daniel Harding was there to take advantage and quickly jumped up to grab third for himself with David Getchell hot on his heels. Ripley would suffer a 3-position penalty in post-race tech inspection, turning the 2nd place trophy over to the 12-year-old Harding. The youngster from Fairfield has impressed the fans and his peers on the track. Getchell ended up with the 3rd place trophy with Jet Decker and Ripley rounding out the top 5.
The 25-lap feature for the Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis would go caution-free, giving 3-time champ Jimmy Childs of Leeds a chance to run out to a sizable lead while point leader Zach Audet picked his way up from the back of the field. Childs, who had been fighting mechanical issues over the past three races, maintained a solid 3.5-second advantage all the way to his second win of the season, drawing him back into title contention with Audet. The reigning champ had to settle for the runner-up honors while teammate Travis Pouliott of Benton took home third. The top 5 positions were filled out by Winslow’s Kyle Willette and Montville’s Bryan Robbins. The 88.5FM Modifieds followed suit behind the Outlaw Minis also going caution-free with an action-packed 30-lap feature. 14 cars took the green flag with Wayne Whitten Jr and rookie Brandon Williams leading the field to green. Whitten held point through the first half of the race, but he was just holding the spot for the champ as Adam Chadbourne charged up the outside. Chadbourne, a 3-time defending Modified champ grabbed the lead and set sail for the checkers. Not to be outdone, Wiscasset’s Nick Hinkley, a multi-time Late Model & Pro stock champ himself, was making his modified debut, driving Allan Moeller’s mod. Hinkley followed Chadbourne along the outside lane and straight to victory lane. Chadbourne would take the win, his second of the season and second straight win. Hinkley was impressive in his debut with the runner-up finish. They were nearly caught by veteran wheelman Jeff Burgess who made a late-race run of his own to nab the 3rd place trophy. Ryan Hayes of Jefferson was the top rookie in the race with a 4th place finish, followed by Bangor’s Matty Sanborn in 5th.
The Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR Tour) was also on the schedule, making their one appearance of the season at Maine’s fastest track. The vintage race group travels to tracks throughout New England showcasing some of the cars that ran area tracks “back in the day”. Bob Guyon, a veteran racer who ran in the early day of Wiscasset Speedway, grabbed the win in the Star Sportsman division 20 lapper, while Scott Tucker, who also runs with the Wicked Good Vintage Racers, took top honors in the Star Modified 20 lap feature.
Wiscasset Speedway returns to action on Saturday, July 2nd with Group 1 Fan Appreciation Night presented by Bozzuttos Inc. The evening will kick off at 4:00 pm with an on-track driver autograph session. Next, there will be kids’ bike races in three different divisions (3-5yr old trikes & training wheels, 5-7yr old intermediate, and 8-12yr old advanced), plus there will likely be a few drivers willing to trade in 4 wheels for 2 and take on the kids. There will also be a “Red White & Blue” contest and patriotic parade by the kids during intermission. On the track, there will be fireworks with the always competitive and action-packed Market 27 Super Streets as the spotlight division, plus Norms Used Cars Pro Stocks, Sweatt’s Concrete Thunder 4 Minis, and Brackett’s Market 4-Cylinder Pros. Pit gates will open at 12noon and grandstand gates at 3:00 pm. As always, grandstand admission is just $5 with kids 6&under free. The race day schedule and other info can be found at http://www.wiscassetspeedway.com. Wiscasset Speedway is located on the West Alna Road in Wiscasset.
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