WISCASSET — History doesn’t come with an asterisk.

Ben Ashline rallied back from a penalty with 10 laps remaining Sunday, pulling off a daring third-to-first move in the outside groove five laps from the finish before driving to a convincing victory in the Boss Hogg 150 at Wiscasset Speedway. With the win, Ashline became the first driver in history to win both of the track’s signature events in his career.

Ashline won his second straight Coastal 200 in May.

“It feels pretty cool,” said Ashline, 28, of Pittston, who won $5,000 for the victory. “But it’s bittersweet, because I don’t want to turn anybody around. That’s not how I race. That’s not me. I can’t stress that enough. All I asked for was a place to race. It’s unfortunate something had to happen, but we won.

“I’m excited, and it’s cool to have my name on that piece of history.”

Mike Hopkins of Hermon, the 2018 Boss Hogg 150 winner, and Kevin Douglass of Sidney finished second and third, respectively, after avoiding late-race calamity. Windham’s Brandon Barker and Jay driver Dave Farrington Jr. rounded out the top five.

Only five cars finished on the lead lap in the 19-car field.

Ashline dominated the first two-thirds of the race, but a caution on lap 120 erased his lead of more than two seconds over Garrett Hall. Hall, of Scarborough, used one of several late-race restarts to grab the lead from Ashline — doing so by driving around him in the outside groove.

Hall then held Ashline off for nearly two dozen laps by protecting the bottom groove and forcing Ashline to go high on him.

On lap 140, it appeared Hall washed up just enough out of turn two on the .375-mile speedway to open a door to the inside for Ashline down the backstretch. Ashline’s car made contact with Hall, sending Hall into the turn three wall and ending his day.

A dejected Garrett Hall of Scarborough watches his crew make repairs to his car following the Boss Hogg 150 at Wiscasset Speedway in Wiscasset on Sunday. Hall was leading the race with 10 laps to go before his day ended against the turn three wall. Kennebec Journal photo by Travis Barrett

“I think anybody here who watched it knows what happened. I don’t know what else to say other than look at my junked race car,” Hall said. “I thought I played the race really well. If he got into me a little bit getting (into the corner) instead of just dive-bombing it in and spinning me out  — it’s one thing to get in and wiggle somebody a little bit and another thing to just drive right in there.

“I guess it’s a hard thing to really take.”

Ashline said he had inside position on Hall.

“When you’re on the bottom and you’re up to somebody’s left rear tire, I don’t know what more you want me to do,” Ashline said. “Hey, it’s racing. All I asked for was a place to go, and I tried on the outside. I tried, tried, tried, and he wanted to drive into my door like it was nothing. I tried crossing him over a couple of times. I gave him opportunities.”

Perhaps adding insult to injury: Ashline and Hall are cousins.

“But it’s $5,000. I’m a race car driver,” Ashline said. “You give me an opportunity on the bottom, I’m going to take it.”

Ashline was penalized by race officials for his role in the incident and sent to the rear of the restart lineup. But, as the fifth and final car still on the lead lap, and with all lapped cars dropping to the back for restarts inside the final 10 circuits, Ashline made a successful march to the front.

When Barker drove under Farrington’s damaged car — damage he suffered collaterally in the Hall/Ashline incident —to take the lead on lap 143, Ashline followed him into third.

Two laps later, Ashline went back to the outside and drove around both Barker and second-place Douglass for the lead. He skated off to a margin of victory of more than 2.3-seconds.

With the win, Ashline did what no other driver has done in the history of Wiscasset Speedway, winning both the Coastal 200 and the Boss Hogg 150. And he did it in the same season, first driving his own car to the Late Model win and then driving for owner Ajay Picard of Palmyra on Sunday.

After finishing seventh in the Oxford 250 a week earlier in Picard’s No. 99, it was quite a week for Ashline.

Even if he isn’t all that comfortable with how it ended up.

“That’s not how I want to win a race. That’s not how I drive. That’s not me,” Ashline said. “I’m disappointed that’s what had to happen. But at the same time, (Hall) knows in his head what he did.

“It worked out for us. I was digging. I’ll scratch and claw my way until the checkered flag drops. It’s not over until it’s over, I guess.”

Jacob Dore, Kevin Morse, Joe Decker, Shane Lane and Scott Chubbuck finished sixth through 10th respectively. Hall was credited with 11th.

Josh St. Clair of Liberty, who retired on lap 131, earned a $1,400 bonus as the driver in the 14th position at the conclusion of lap 14. The award was announced prior to driver introductions by Wiscasset Speedway and the St. Clair family as a tribute to Dave “Boss Hogg” St. Clair, who created this race in 1991.

Ironically, Josh St. Clair was driving the yellow No. 14 car made famous by his grandfather, Dave.


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