UNITY — Unity Raceway is set to open this summer.

Greg Veinote of Newburgh has agreed to lease the facility from track owner Ralph Nason. Veinote, 53, hopes to have the facility — the birth of stock car racing in Maine — open by the end of June with an option to buy the track in the future.

“We started on this whole thing last summer,” Veinote said. “We were so far apart on an actual purchase price that it took a while. But I’m of the mindset that if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it with intent that I’m going to buy it.”

Neither Veinote nor Nason would disclose financial details of the agreement, although Veinote said he has not paid a deposit.

“It’s a combination deal,” Nason said. “I’m still the landowner, but Greg will do what he does with it.”

What Veinote does with it will be non-traditional, at least by Maine’s auto racing standards. With tracks in Wiscasset, Oxford, Hermon and Scarborough all offering weekly auto racing programs on asphalt ovals throughout the summer, Veinote plans to take a wider view of the property.

In addition to four- and six-cylinder racing divisions utilizing the existing race track and the track’s infield, events will likely range from lawnmower races and tractor pulls to other types of motorsports entertainment. Car shows and cruise nights, as well as other family-oriented events, are also in play, Nason and Veinote said.

“Right now it’s known as Unity Raceway, but I want it to be known as Unity Raceway and Fairgrounds,” said Veinote, who hopes to hold approximately five or six racing events this season. “I’ve been busy getting everybody in order. It’s going to take a big effort on our part to make everything come out the way I want and make people proud to drive past Unity Raceway again.”

Veinote and Nason have previously done business together. In 2007, Veinote bought Spud Speedway in Caribou from Nason before selling it to Troy Haney less than three years later. At the time, Spud Speedway had been dormant for nearly seven years.

Nason embraces the belief that something different is needed at the track, which opened for stock car racing in 1948. Nason, of Unity, bought the track in 1980.

“You need to have something where people don’t have to spend 30 grand for a race car to race for 22 dollars (in purse money),” Nason said. “The coin is lopsided as hell. If you can bring it back to something where people can come as a family unit, have a blast, go home talking about it, and didn’t spend a whole week’s paycheck to do it, they’re going to come back.”

Nason entered into an agreement to sell Unity Raceway to Benton’s George Fernald in 2016, and Fernald’s plan was to return the track to its original dirt oval while completing a number of capital improvements to the existing facilities. When his health declined, Fernald had to return the track to Nason.

Following the completion of the 2017 season, Fernald began the process of grinding up the race track’s asphalt surface in order to get to the original clay below it. Approximately three-quarters of the surface, as it now stands, has been torn up.

Veinote doesn’t view the current condition of the track as a detriment.

“A lot of people like to look at the mountains in front of them, but I prefer to look at the mountains I’ve already flown over,” said Veinote, who owns an aviation business with his father, as well as a construction business. “It’s a mess there right now, it is. But it’s also an open slate to do something different than any other race track in the country is doing.”

As soon as the winter snow melts, Veinote will move in equipment to further grind the asphalt into a granular surface for racing on. It’s a cross between asphalt and dirt known as aggregate.

“I’m not sure if it’s going to work, but it’s got a lot better chance than (as a traditional stock car racing facility) that has a 15,000 nut just to open the place up,” Nason said.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC