Richard and Vanessa Jordan spent months trying to ready Wiscasset Speedway for the season opener early last month.

This week, the Kingfield couple shifted their focus to the track itself.

“We’ve started the maintenance program,” said Vanessa Jordan. “We’re looking long term, but we wanted to get started.”

H.C. Crooker and Sons are grinding and resurfacing parts of the track this week — particularly along a bumpy Turn 4.

Work began Monday and practices were canceled this week in advance of the first night race of the season tonight.

“We’re grinding the track and focusing on the cracks,” Jordan said. “We’ll get those grinded down and re-pave. It won’t make all the bumps go away, but they’ll be a lot less than what they have been. This is the first step in the project.”

Jordan added they will re-evaluate the track at season’s end and decide what, if any, additional work needs to be done.

“We’ll see what happens in the fall,” she said. “It’s too late in the season to get it all done. We don’t want to interrupt race season. We just wanted to show people that we are serious about getting this track back.”

Wiscasset will move its racing schedule to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The rack opened April 6 but cold and rainy weather kept car counts down last month.

Jordan said she hopes the switch to night racing will help bring more drivers out.

“The car counts have been pretty solid,” she said. “They are not high numbers, but we knew that going in. Quite honestly, it was good for us as we needed to work on getting everything together. But we’re getting in a groove and we’re feeling pretty good.”

* * *

Ben Ashline’s season is over before it began.

The 22-year-old Pittston driver tore his rotator cuff and labrum lifting heavy boxes while working at Walmart. The injuries will require surgery, which will sideline him for at least four months.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years,” he said. “This would’ve been my 13th year. I’ve been doing this for more than half my life. This is like taking crack away from a 12-year addict. This is all I’ve ever known.”

Ashline was preparing to race at Oxford and on the American-Canadian Tour before the injury. A surgery date has not been set.

“To not do it, and not by choice, it’s tough,” Ashline said. “This is a tough setback.”

* * *

Troubles continue for six-time Pro All Stars Series North champ Johnny Clark.

The Farmingdale driver, who struggled last season, debuted a new car at the series opener April 21 at Oxford Plains Speedway with frustrating results.

“Nothing went right at all,” Clark said.

A distributor wire melted, which shut the engine down on lap 65 of a 150-lap feature.

“The motor quit and we got to watch the rest of the race,” Clark said. “The wire wasn’t mounted in the best of places and it melted. We’ll be playing catch-up now for the rest of the year. The car didn’t perform how we hoped it would.”

Clark is now 64 points behind Farmington native Cassius Clark, who won the race.

“We’ve struggled now the last six or eight races,” Johnny Clark said. “And now we’ll have to play catch-up for the whole year. But we’ll keep digging. We won’t give up. We’re just ready to move on from Oxford.”

That chance comes today at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, which opens with the Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge 150. Racing begins at 3 p.m.

“Hopefully, we can get it straightened out,” Clark said. “All we need is a good, solid run to get back on track.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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