For more than a decade, one dedicated short track driver from the western Maine hamlet of Waterford has terrorized the ovals. While he is cutting back on his schedule for 2015, he’s always a threat win.

Thirty-eight-year-old Jamie Heath has dominated four-cylinder support class action around New England. His tendency to roam and try new tracks has developed skills beyond that of your average weekend warrior.

“I have bounced around a lot in recent years,” Heath said. “If we saw a track or event we wanted to run, we’d just load up the trailer and go give it a try. I’ve learned a lot more than if I just stuck to one track.”

In a 15-year career that began in Oxford’s Outlaw division in 2000, Heath has claimed 74 feature victories. One of his most recent wins came last fall at the former Riverside Speedway (now known as Speedway 51) in Groveton, New Hampshire.

“Jamie has won races in just about every Wednesday night class that ever ran at Oxford, and has proven his skills on a variety of different tracks,” fellow Waterford resident and current Super Late Model driver Spencer Morse said. “He’s always willing to help young drivers like me as they work up through the ranks. I feel he’s one of the top support class drivers around.”

That tendency to help other racers has earned him a great deal of respect. It’something he says wasn’t available when his learning curve was in its infancy.


“I see people struggling with their cars, so I go over to try and help them,” Heath said. “I always tell guys if you need some help, come ask. I didn’t have that help when we first started, so if I can save somebody a little trial and error, I’m more than happy to do it.”

Heath had the assistance of local short track guru Matt Dufault through the 2014 season, and says that help gave his program a much-needed boost.

“Matt definitely knows his stuff. If it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t have won so many races all over New England. I was fortunate to have him working with me; it taught me a lot about getting the car set up properly for different layouts and track conditions.”

As for cutting back on the number of races for 2015, Heath says it simply got too demanding.

“We ran 25 or 26 races total last year, and it was just too much. We ran 14 races at Oxford, and went through 14 right front tires. We’ll still race quite a bit this year; just not as often as we did in 2014. It can chew you up, and it takes away from other things you need to do.”

His career started off on a positive note, even if his first win was taken away by officials.


“In 2000 when we first started, I got my first-ever win but lost it after post-race technical inspection,” Heath explains. “So that really sticks out in my mind when I think about the early days. In 2001, we had a really good season and finished top 10 in points. We ran three years in the Wednesday night Outlaw class and had some pretty decent success.”

In those days, the Wednesday night Acceleration Series was new, and car counts were high. If you started out way back in your feature, you had a major challenge to get to the front.

“That was a blast back then. You might start 30th on the grid and have to pass a ton of cars. If you made it to fifth by the end, you knew you’d done a good stroke of business. The Wednesday night deal is a great place to learn. We’ve seen some talented guys come out of there and go on to make a name for themselves on Saturday nights.”

As with most racers, Heath doesn’t compete in the lower classes by choice. He and hundreds like him will tell you it all comes down to cost.

“I’d love to be running a Super Late Model, but I don’t have the money to do it right,” Heath said. “Even the tire bill is significant with the big cars; yet in our class I can buy a new tire for $35 or $40. You can’t do that if you run a Super Late Model.”

Yet short track racing can’t exist with just the premier classes, and everybody has to start somewhere. The fact that many weekly short track pilots will never advance out of the support classes is a fact most can accept. They’re just in it for the fun and thrill of competition.

“It would be nice to win the championship this year, but I’m not going to dump anybody out of the way to get it. I’m the kind of driver that takes what he can get on any given night. If I’ve got a fifth-place car, I’ll keep the fenders on it and take that finish. Our early goal for any year is to get a win, but once we do, we raise that goal again. I just love to go out and race.”

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