Zach Emerson of Sabattus pulls his No. 23 into the technical inspection area at Wiscasset Speedway following a qualifying race at the track on Saturday. Emerson finished second to his son, Jonathon, in the feature event later in the day. Staff photo by Travis Barrett

 

WISCASSET — It’s family first for the Emersons at Wiscasset Speedway. But in Zach Emerson’s humble opinion, his family is first a little too often.

Jonathon Emerson led all but the first five laps Saturday afternoon, holding off his father Zach in the 35-lap season-opening feature for the Strictly Street division. It marked the third time that the father-son duo from Sabattus finished 1-2 at the track.

“I don’t know how many times it’s been, but I can tell you it’s way too many,” Zach Emerson said. “Usually, he’s had the upper hand.

“I don’t like finishing second to anyone.”

“I’ve never finished second to him, though, so that’s the good thing,” Jonathon Emerson said.

Emerson, who celebrated his 20th birthday this week, started third in the 15-car field and battled pole-sitter Mac Hannan for the first five laps. He set sail in the outside lane to pull alongside Hannan on lap six — edging him by the width of a front fender at the start/finish line — and pulled clear to the lead by two car lengths down the backstretch.

From there, Emerson was long gone.

“I’ve always been the type of guy that I’d rather go outside someone,” Jonathon said. “I didn’t really have the opportunity in the feature right away. But I’d rather go on the outside and pass someone on the outside because it’s cleaner, better.”

Jonathon Emerson of Sabattus pulls his car into victory lane at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday. He finished first in the Strictly Street feature, one spot ahead of his father. Staff photo by Travis Barrett

Behind the eventual winner, there was plenty of hard racing with Zach Emerson finally working past Hannan for the runner-up spot on lap 27, and Hannan, Kurt Hewins, Ashton Reynolds and Brett Osmond swapping spots three through six all the way to the checkered flag. Hewins, of Lewiston, crossed the stripe in third, with Osmond and Bernie Dinsmore rounding out the top five.

“There were a bunch of us that could have won today, it was just a matter of who got out front,” Zach Emerson said. “We had to be patient and pick our way through. I think I was having carburetor troubles. It kept breaking down on me, but I don’t think I would have had anything for (Jonathon).”

While the Emerson name might be synonymous with Street Stock racing over at Oxford Plains Speedway, including Zach’s late father Larry Emerson, the family has established itself at Wiscasset over the last several seasons.

After winning the Strictly Shootout last fall — an annual open race for Street Stock-type cars from all of Maine’s short tracks — Jonathon Emerson said he considers Wiscasset his home track.

“We had a really good base last year at the end of the Shootout, and we just went from there,” Jonathon said. “We had a few mechanical failures in practice and we took care of those, and then it’s just (working on) drivability and adjusting just a little bit.”

His father agreed.

“When we’ve been here, we’ve been really good right from the get-go,” Zach said.

In other feature racing, Liberty’s Josh St. Clair made it two-for-two to open the 2021 season. St. Clair took the lead 13 laps from the finish and drove off to win the 40-lap Late Model feature over Andrew McLaughlin and Will Collins. Tiger Colby and Brandon Bailey finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

St. Clair also won the Pro Stock/Super Late Model feature on the track’s opening day one week earlier.

“That’s a turn of events from the Street Stock race,” said St. Clair, who was involved in an accident on the first lap of qualifying in the Strictly Street division. “It’s pretty awesome to have a couple of runs like this.”

Zach Audet of Skowhegan won the Outlaw Mini main event, and Ryan Ripley won the 30-lap Modified feature. David Whitelaw won the 15-lap Roadrunner feature.

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