Garret Leiter’s Late Model Sportsman car sits idle at Wiscasset Speedway. Submitted photo

The green flag on the short-track racing season in Maine has yet to be waved, but a couple tracks have at least allowed a way for drivers to get their engines revving. 

Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough and Wiscasset Speedway have both announced group practice sessions starting this week. Oxford Plains Speedway posted on its website that it is “looking to hold open practices within the coming weeks.” 

Beech Ridge will get the cars rolling first, with cars from the Thursday Thunder JV divisions holding their first open practice sessions on Thursday, June 4. Thunder varsity divisions will practice on June 5 and NASCAR Nite cars get to turn laps on Saturday, June 6. Sessions are scheduled to last between 45-60 minutes, depending on division, and are open to “weekly Beech Ridge teams inside Maine,” according to a post on the track’s Facebook page. 

In an email to the Sun Journal, Beech Ridge said it worked with the town of Scarborough and the state to create a practice schedule “responsibly and compliantly.” 

Jay native Dave Farrington Jr., the reigning Pro Series champion at Beech Ridge, said he is planning on attending the first practice session for NASCAR Nite cars, which he called “a start.” 

“As the reigning Pro Series champion at Beech Ridge, we want to be racing and should be by now. Unfortunately with the circumstances we’ve been dealt we aren’t racing, but I’m sure the Cusack family (which owns the track) is doing everything in their power to get everyone back to the race track,” Farrington said. 

Dave Farrington Jr. proceeds through the rain-soaked track at Wiscasset Speedway during the Coastal 200 in May 2019. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“You have to realize that this is more than a sport or a hobby. Stock car racing is a passion, a business and a way of life for those involved,” Farrington added. 

Dave Farrington Jr. Sun Journal file photo

Wiscasset’s practice sessions will begin on June 6, starting with Group 1 divisions. The two-hour practices will continue for Group 2 cars on Saturday, June 13, with June 20 currently scheduled as an open practice date. The track has health and safety guidelines in place relating to the coronavirus that are posted on its website. 

Garret Leiter, who lives in Livermore Falls, is preparing for his first season in Wiscasset’s Late Model Sportsman division, which is part of Group 2. 

Leiter said he is “very happy” the track is holding group practices. 

“I rented the track for a few hours a couple weeks ago to test and get some seat time. I’m happy that Wiscasset is doing division specific practices starting next week because there’s a huge difference between being fast alone and being fast with multiple cars on the track,” he said. 

New to stock cars, but with experience racing go-karts and motocross, Leiter said he is “learning to be patient with this pandemic,” but admitted that the wait has been hard. He and his team planned on traveling to compete in a race in North Carolina recently, but that was canceled because of rain. Instead, they took part in a race at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, New Hampshire. 

Garret Leiter gets out of his car at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H. as Erick Leiter, front, and Jeffery Meserve check on him and the car. Submitted photo

“We placed fourth and needless to say it wasn’t worth the damages done to my car. But that’s all part of racing,” he said. “We are currently working on the car every night getting it ready for Wiscasset.” 

He’s not sure when he’ll get to race again, but Leiter said he’ll take “all the seat time I can get.” 

“We’ll be racing before we know it,” he added.


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