On April 22nd, Wiscasset Speedway hosted their highly anticipated 2023 season opener. After a six month off-season, over 2,000 fans piled into the stands for the exciting racing program which included four weekly divisions and the visiting NELCAR Legends.
Written By: Amy Worrey – Chasing the Checkered
The racing action kicked off with a spotlight division; the Gosline Insurance Super Streets. Josh St. Clair won the heat race and took off again in the feature, setting the pace as he reached the tail-end of the field by lap 10. He later extended his lead to a full straightaway by halfway.
Will Collins came to a stop on the final lap of the race as Brandon Sprague also took a spin. This drew a caution and Josh St. Clair was deemed the official race winner. Ryan Ripley and David Greenleaf (first official podium finish) rounded out the top 3.
Ben Burgess won the qualifying heat in the Brackett’s Market 4-Cylinder Pros and battled it out for position with Josh Hall for the early lead in the 25-lap feature. Hall pulled ahead with the lead on lap 7 and later extended his lead to a half straightaway by lap 13. While his competitors battled it out for position, Hall began to pull away at the front of the pack. He took home the victory as Ben Burgess and rookie Reed Reno completed the top 3.
Ty Leclerc took off with the early lead over Nick Bulkeley in the 25-lap NELCAR Legends feature. Jacob Burnes was also on the move in the opening laps of the feature, clearing Bulkeley for second on lap 7. Ty Leclerc began to lose handling in the second half of the race and nearly lost it on the backstretch on lap 18. He subsequently got a bump from runner-up Burnes, who repeated the maneuver with three laps to go. Burnes stuck the landing on his second attempt, overtaking the top spot from Leclerc and ultimately scoring the feature victory. Nick Bulkeley followed, rounding out the podium.
A few early-race cautions plagued the start of the 25-lap Sweatt’s Concrete Thunder 4 Mini feature. Once the field got rolling, Zach Audet took the charge over last year’s division champion, Shane Webber. He maintained his dominance through the conclusion of the feature, picking up the victory as Shane Webber and Derek Cook completed the podium.
The race program concluded with the Norm’s Used Cars Pro Stocks. The day started out with carnage as 13-year-old rookie Daniel Harding and veterans Garrett Hall and Kevin Morse tangled on the backstretch on the opening lap of the first heat race. The unfortunate event resulted in heavy damage to all three cars and none of these drivers were able to make it onto the track for the 40-lap feature.
The start of the feature was also chaotic for Josh St. Clair, who was forced to start the feature from the tail-end of the field due to his transponder not working. A lap one caution followed, further delaying the racing action.
Once the field settled, Nick Hinkley powered into the early lead but defending champion Kevin Douglass was on his heels. Douglass made his way under Hinkley on lap 5, overtaking the top spot. Meanwhile, Josh St. Clair was on the move, clearing Jamie Wright for third on lap 14. St. Clair was reeling in Nick Hinkley in the closing laps of the race, approaching his door on lap 28. The two drivers made slight contact before St. Clair pulled ahead with ten to go. He then attempted to reel in the leader but Kevin Douglass was too far gone, picking up the victory. Nick Hinkley followed, completing the podium.
The 2023 season kicked off with exciting racing action from all five divisions but there is still more to come as Wiscasset Speedway is hosting their second Opening Day of the season with their Group 2 season opener on Saturday, April 29th. The racing lineup includes the Late Models, Modifieds, Strictly Streets, Outlaw Minis and the flex Roadrunners division. Grandstands open at 1:00 pm and the green flag flies at 2:00 pm.
To view the official season schedule, race results, track information and more, please visit http://www.wiscassetspeedway.com.
Wiscasset Speedway is located on West Alna Road in Wiscasset, ME.