For every sport, one of the most anticipated days of the season is Opening Day. Traditionally, Opening Day is a one-time event but Wiscasset Speedway is unique in the fact that the track gets to celebrate two Opening Days to kick off the season.
Over 75 competitors were on-site for the Group #2 season opener on Saturday which included the Portland Glass Strictly Streets, T&L Automotive Modifieds, Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis, Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Models and the flex Chestnut Auto Roadrunners division.
The program kicked off with a 35–lap spotlight feature for the Strictly Streets. Wade Kennedy was fastest in practice and also led the charge in the heat race. Kennedy got the jump on Jeremy Glazier in the feature and began to pull away from his competitors. Josh St. Clair (in a Lightning McQueen inspired race car) was also on the move early, clearing Zach Emerson for second on lap 5.
A lap 9 caution brought the field together and Wade Kennedy and Josh St. Clair went head-to-head for the top spot on the restart. Kennedy pulled ahead with the advantage but St. Clair was all over him. St. Clair pulled to his inside door on lap 16, clearing low for the top spot. Kennedy began to lose ground as he fell third to Kurt Hewins two laps later.
A late-race caution brought the field together one last time but Josh St. Clair held strong, capturing the victory. Kurt Hewins and Wade Kennedy rounded out the top 3.
Adam Chadbourne and Ryan Ripley led the charge in the T&L Modifieds all day. The drivers led the field to green in the 30-lap feature. Chadbourne pulled ahead with the advantage but was met with heartbreak on lap 15 as he blew up and came to a stop on the track, resulting in a mid-race caution and ending his day prematurely.
Ryan Ripley took over from there and continued to lead the pack through multiple cautions. Tyler Robbins took a spin on the final restart but managed to stay on the track as the field remained green, maneuvering the remainder of the race with his hood plastered to his windshield, blocking his vision. Ryan Ripley sailed into the victory as Nick Reno followed and Scott Trask beat out Wayne Whitten by a nose at the line to complete the podium.
Chip Farrington won the qualifying heat in the Chestnut Auto Roadrunners and continued his dominance in the 20-lap feature, leading wire to wire to win the race. Noah McGrath and David Whitelaw rounded out the top 3.
Zach Audet drew pole for the Outlaw Mini heat and led green to checkered, resulting in him starting the 25-lap feature in first alongside his teammate, Kyle Willette. Audet led the charge in the feature but trouble was brewing behind the leaders as Tyler Dinsmore and Jimmy Childs tangled on lap 7, resulting in Dinsmore taking a hard hit to the wall in turn 3.
Zach Audet continued to pace the field but mechanical troubles plagued the #19 machine with 4 to go, resulting in a fire under the vehicle. The race was red flagged and Kyle Willette took over the top spot. Willette, the defending champion, held off his competitors to pick up the victory. Brothers Bryan and Craig Robbins completed the podium.
The program concluded with a 40-lap feature from the Late Models. Shane Clark and brothers Ryan and Josh St. Clair picked up the 3 heat race wins. Clark took off with the advantage over Ryan St. Clair in the feature. The leaders began navigating lap traffic at halfway and Ryan St. Clair was posed with sudden mechanical troubles, descending through the field. Scottie Hall took a spin on lap 31, resulting in a caution.
Will Collins took over on the restart and began to pull away. A late-race caution brought the field together once more but Collins’ maintained his edge. 13 year old Daniel Harding went head to head with veteran Chris Burgess in the closing laps, battling for the final spot on the podium.
Collins took the victory as Shane Clark followed. Daniel Harding beat Chris Burgess at the line, completing the podium. Following post-race inspection, Harding was disqualified due to a tire softener violation and Chris Burgess was awarded third place.
The 2nd season opener was full of exciting racing action in every division, which is a great sign of things to come this season!
Next week, group 1 returns with the Pro Stocks, Super Streets, Thunder 4 Minis, 4-Cylinder Pros and the Wicked Good Vintage Racers. Grandstands open at 4 p.m. and the green flag flies at 5.
To view the official season schedule, race results, track information and more, please visit http://www.wiscassetspeedway.com.
Wiscasset Speedway is located on West Alna Road in Wiscasset.