WISCASSET — Ever since getting his new ride, Brandon Bailey has been counting down the days until he can put it on asphalt.

Bailey, of Woolwich, acquired his new Late Model Chevy in January after spending two years out of racing. Yet the Maine winter, as it often does, prevented him from getting much use out of it until now.

“My friend actually bought this car and resold it to me to drive for half the year,” Bailey said. “I’ve been waiting to get out here on the track for about three months, ever since I got it.”

That chance came Saturday as drivers at Wiscasset Speedway gathered for the first open practice of the 2024 season. From the pits to the grandstands to the track, the enthusiasm was palpable ahead of the track’s first opening day next weekend.

The 2024 season marks the 55th of auto racing at Wiscasset Speedway, the largest track in the state. It will be the track’s 12th year under current owners Rick and Vanessa Jordan of Kingfield.

The track had been scheduled to hold its first open practice last Saturday, but those plans were put on hold following a massive snowstorm two days earlier. Rain Wednesday, Thursday and Friday forced some contingency planning again this week, but racers and fans awoke Saturday to perfect conditions.


“We have (weather issues) every spring,” Vanessa Jordan said. “That’s just how it is, but we’re blessed with a day like today. Everybody gets some track time, and you can tell everybody is excited.”

Drivers this year will experience a revamped pit road complete with new pit pads and an improved fuel station. The Boss Hogg 150, one of Wiscasset’s signature events, will get an even bigger spotlight this year as the race purse has increased from $10,000 to $15,000.

Spectators watch cars take laps during practice Saturday at Wiscasset Speedway.

Josh St. Clair of Liberty will look to defend titles in both the Pro Stock and Super Streets series. Other defending champions include Zach Audet of Norridgewock (Thunder 4 Minis), Will Collins of Waldoboro (Late Model Sportsman) and Mac Hannan Jr. of Washington (Strictly Streets).

There’s also, as always, a host of drivers making their full-time debuts on the track. Todd Libby of Baldwin, a championship winner at Riverside Speedway and Adventure Park in Groveton, New Hampshire, is among them, bringing his 1977 Chevy Camaro to the Super Street series.

“I decided to do it a little closer to home this year,” Libby said. “I raced here two or three times in a Legends car, but this is my first year doing full-time racing here. I have a friend who’s also racing full-time up here, so it’s nice to be here and be around some familiar faces.”

That friend is Beaver Norton of Limington, who returned to racing last year after 14 years away from the sport. After driving another friend’s car last year, Norton now has his own second-generation Camaro — one that handled especially well on his early run Saturday morning.


“If the car goes as good as it’s going today, I feel pretty good about things,” said Norton, who is also racing Super Streets. “It went really good. It was a little tight in the middle and a little free coming off, but we just did a couple changes. … It’ll be a top-10 car every week, I’m hoping.”

Wiscasset will hold two more open practices Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Opening days are scheduled for April 20 (Pro Stocks, Super Streets, Thunder 4 Minis, 4-Cylinder Pros), and the following April 27 (Late Models, Modifieds, Strictly Streets, Roadrunners).

As always, the track’s two premier races will bookend the summer action. The Coastal 200 is set for Memorial Day (May 26), while the $15,000 Boss Hogg is scheduled for Sept. 1 (Labor Day weekend).

“We have a good season coming,” Jordan said. “We continue to grow, and great drivers keep showing up. We’re ready to get the racing started.”

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