WISCASSET — Vanessa Jordan wasn’t sure she’d make it a year. Now the race track she owns with her husband, Richard Jordan, will celebrate its golden anniversary this weekend.

Wiscasset Speedway turns 50 this month, seven years after the Jordans bought the track at auction. On Saturday, the facility will celebrate with a number of special additions to its weekly racing program — including the unveiling of its inaugural Hall of Fame class and the honoring of of all of its former champions and previous owners.

“Richard and I, we’re just touched and can’t say enough about how honored we are just to be able to carry the whole thing,” Vanessa said this week.

But she didn’t always feel that way.

“Richard’s smiling from ear to ear, and I’m just panicking inside,” Vanessa said of the day the couple bought the .375-mile, banked seacoast oval. “I was wondering, ‘What the hell did we just do?’ Everything in the world pointed to it couldn’t be done. The expense of doing it, bringing people back, bringing drivers back. There was a lot of negativity around the track at the time, but truthfully, we knew we had nowhere to go but up.

“I told (Richard) I’ll commit to doing it for one year. If it looks like it can work, we’ll do it. If not, we can’t.”

Seven years later, Wiscasset Speedway is as healthy as its ever been.

Cars and crowds both returned, in part thanks to a forward-thinking pricing scheme and a racer- and family-friendly schedule. Just as in Wiscasset’s first full season of operation under the Jordans in 2013, adult tickets remain just $5 and its eight divisions alternate through an every-other-week schedule during the season.

In many ways, the speedway is a throwback to the state’s early stock car racing days.

The physical track itself hasn’t undergone any changes to Cronk’s original layout in 1969, and it eschews pricey touring series events while focusing on racing in weekly divisions. Wiscasset Speedway is the only track in Maine which runs both Super Late Models (Pro Stocks) and Late Models.

Thirteen people will be inducted into speedway’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, from former champions to car owners, car builders and others who have directly impacted racing at the facility.

Additionally, Cronk, Dave St. Clair and Doug White will also be recognized as former owners of the track. St. Clair owned  Wiscasset Raceway from 1991-2007.

“It is a tribute to, of course, Wilford Cronk. Without that man’s dream and the fortitude to build it — a contractor and a worm digger who thought, ‘I can build one of those,’” Vanessa Jordan said. “I love the fact they’re honoring everybody who took a turn at running this place, because I know for a fact how hard it is. And it’s a tribute to all the guys who raced here in the beginning.”

The night will include a meet-and-greet with former track champions, the Hall of Fame inductions, fireworks and a 50-lap Pro Stock feature event.

The program begins at 5 p.m.

• • •

Austin Theriault does some prep work in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway garage on Friday in Loudon, N.H. Staff photo by Travis Barrett

Fort Kent native Austin Theriault returns to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

Theriault, who finished 35th in his first career Cup start last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, will return to the seat of the Rick Ware Racing No. 52 for the Gander RV 400.

“Rick asked me to run the 52 at Pocono, and I said absolutely,” Theriault, 25, said. “It’s a track I’ve been to multiple times in the ARCA series. In honestly had no clue before the race at (NHMS) that I’d be running Pocono.”

In three career ARCA starts at the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped track, Theriault has a career-best finish of fourth. He’s never finished outside the top 10 there.

Theriault’s No. 52 will carry sponsorship from Trick Shot Penetrating Lubricant this weekend, a sponsor RWR has utilized before. Bangor Savings Bank, Theriault’s primary sponsor at NHMS, will also have a presence on the car.

“It’s about focusing on racing and not so much focusing on the debut this weekend,” Theriault said. “That’s behind us. It’s about moving forward and continuing. You only have one first time.”

At New Hampshire, Theriault’s weekend was difficult from the outset. He lost significant practice time Friday as the team replaced a steering box, got his first full lap at speed during his qualifying attempt and retired from the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 after completing just 185 laps before a rear gear issue forced him to the garage early.

Still, Theriault thought the weekend was a success.

“Finishing position aside, it was actually a really good weekend for the other objectives we had — to make all of the people who helped make this possible happy,” Theriault said. “In this day and age, having people who find value in race cars is so critical.”

Thirty-eight cars are entered in the Gander RV 400, one more than entered at NHMS. Theriault is guaranteed a starting position, however, with fewer than the field limit of 40 expected.

• • •

Hudson, New Hampshire’s Derek Griffith became the first three-time winner in the Pro All Stars Series this season when he won at White Mountain Motorsports Park last weekend.

D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire, maintained his points lead with seven top 10s in nine races.

PASS heads next to Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire, for a midweek show on Tuesday before traveling north to Spud Speedway in Caribou on Aug. 4.

The 150-lap event at Spud offers the winner an automatic qualifying spot for the Oxford 250 at the end of August.


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