Auto Racing Roundup: St. Clair back on top at Wiscasset

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WISCASSET — For the first time since 2014, Ryan St. Clair made a visit to Victory Lane at the track where his family name has been a fixture for decades. 

The third-generation short track driver from Liberty held off a hard-charging Chris Thorne for top honors in the 40-lap Trophy Dash for Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman teams on Saturday at Wiscasset Speedway.

This was St. Clair’s second career win on the lightning-fast 1/3-mile mid-coast oval. Thorne, of Sidney, made several attempts to get by St. Clair in the closing laps, trying a slingshot move off Turn 4 to gain momentum. Point leader Andrew McLaughlin, of Harrington, crossed the stripe in third with another solid effort.

“It sure feels good to be back here in Victory Lane,” St. Clair said. “After I got out front, I just focused on hitting my marks and being smooth. I knew Chris was fast, he just didn’t have enough to go out around us. I wasn’t about to let this one slip away tonight. It feels just as satisfying as I remembered.”

St. Clair took the lead from James Osmond on lap 18 and checked out on the field. With no cautions to slow the pace, he put his beautiful No. 30 entry on cruise control until the checkered flag waved.

Late Model rookie Logan Melcher, of Livermore, crossed the stripe in fourth, while Will Collins (Waldoboro) completed the top five. 

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Adam Chadbourne prevailed in a hotly-contested 40-lap tilt for the K&A Services Modified division. The veteran from Woolwich held off Dresden’s Allan Moeller for top honors, while Michael Brown (Hope) filled out the podium in third.

Spencer Vaughan (Canton) and Brian Treadwell (Hancock) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

A little brotherly love was on display in the closing laps of Saturday’s Norm’s Used Cars Strictly Street feature. Leeds veteran Kurt Hewins managed to fend off the not-so-subtle advances of younger brother Kyle to win the feature.

His margin of victory over little brother was a scant .099 seconds.

“This car wasn’t really going well in the outside groove, but since Kyle helped me on the setup it is much better now,” Hewins said in Victory Lane. “I have to thank him for that help, my car has really come around.

“He gave me a good little shot there at the end, but I knew he wouldn’t dump me.”

Shawn Austin (Norridgewock) finished a distant third, while Turner veteran Glen Reynolds crossed the stripe in fourth. Reynolds is one of several former Oxford regulars now racing every other week in Group 2 action at Wiscasset.

Solon’s Brad Erskine (brother to LMS driver Ben) finished a solid fifth.

Jake Hendsbee (Whitefield) held off four-cylinder ace Jimmy Childs (Leeds) to win Saturday’s 25-lap tussle for the Outlaw Mini division. The high-revving little cars went flag-to-flag without a caution, offering no chance to tighten the field. 

Scott Trask (Richmond) wheeled his machine to third, while Rob Greenleaf (West Bath) and Brent Roy (Vassalboro) completed the top five.

The Senior Tour Auto Racers (S.T.A.R.) series made a visit to Wiscasset on Saturday, thrilling fans with some nice-looking and super-fast vintage race cars from around New England. 

Arthur Hannaford, who runs primarily with the Maine-based Wicked Good Vintage Racers, won the Modified division feature, while Charlie Lima finished second in the famed No. 2X Coupe. Scott Tucker filled out the podium in third.

Curt Snow was victorious in the Sportsman division feature, holding off Art Merchant and Skip Stearns for top honors. Each of the top three drove fine examples of those little pre-war Coupes that were so popular in the 1960s.   

Wiscasset Speedway officials and fans celebrated the track’s 49th birthday with a huge Fireworks display at the conclusion of racing. When Wilford Cronk opened the track back in 1969, he could have only hoped the place would thrive in 2018.

As supporters of Maine’s rich racing history, track owners Richard and Vanessa Jordan will host the Maine Vintage Race Car Association’s annual Summerfest on Sunday, August 5. The event starts at 10 a.m. and draws over 100 cars of all types, along with several Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees to greet fans. 

pwhipple@sunjournal.com

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