Greg Cummings says he underestimated his competition this season at Wiscasset Speedway but not his desire to return behind the wheel.

A year off a track can do that to a driver.

“I severely underestimated the competition,” said Cummings, 42, of Augusta. “My goal is to get my car competitive.”

Cummings, along with older brothers Ozzie and Norm, Jr., competes in the new four-cylinder Outlaw Mini division at Wiscasset. New track owners Richard and Vanessa Jordan, on the advice from drivers, merged the Outlaw and Mini Stock divisions this season.

The move attracted a few drivers to Wiscasset, including Cummings, who last year served as a crew chief to Alex Fernald at Unity Raceway.

“We switched tracks,” said Cummings, who finished second in the Monsta Mini class at Unity in 2011. “We stopped racing at Unity and went to Wiscasset to help get this new division off the ground. We brought three cars to the class and we helped the (Jordans) get the rules together. We had some input there.”

Cummings first started racing when he turned 14. He took five years off when he got married to “get my family started.”

“But then I got right back into it and haven’t stopped,” Cummings said. “It’s in the family. It’s in the blood. We’ve been racing four-cylinders since the early 1980s. Once it gets in your blood, it’s hard to get out. It’s tough to understand to someone who hasn’t done it.”

Cummings competed in both Outlaw Mini races, finishing fifth and sixth in seven-car fields.

He acknowledges he has some work to do on his 1976 Ford Pinto.

“My goal is to be competitive before I bite off more than I chew,” he said. “It’s been an adjustment. The car is a little outdated and it’s not handling the track the way I anticipated. It’s going to take some work. We’ll have to do some tinkering.”

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Maurice Young is a seven-time points champion at Wiscasset but plans for a run at No. 8 are on hold.

“At this point I’m not doing anything,” said Young, a Chelsea native. “Money is just too tight. If I could find some sponsors I’d like to go. I’d like to hit all the tracks at least once this season. But it’s hard to find the time.”

Young works as a mechanic at Pan Am Railways in Waterville. He owns a Strictly Stock car, but hasn’t done much to it this season.

“I just got the car off the lawn,” he said. “I didn’t put a wrench to it all winter but I’ve got the urge. Racing is the worst drug addiction because you can’t get rid of it. We’ll see how it goes. I’d like to maybe go to some of the races at the end of the season. I still have some time to get the car ready.”

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Sidney native Chris Thorne had no intentions of racing this season but plans changed last month.

“We decided to throw a Late Model together and run it with the Pro Stocks at Wiscasset,” Thorne said. “We wanted to support the Jordan family. We’ll try to get to the track as often as we can. We should be able to make most of the races. We’ll have fun with it.”

Thorne dabbled in the Pro All Stars Series North during the last few years. He also drove in the Pro Stock division at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2010.

Thorne finished third in a 30-lap Pro Stock feature at Wiscasset last weekend.

“We’ve been close,” he said. “We’re right there. We have some tweaking to do but we’re getting there.”

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Manchester native Reid Lanpher, 14, became the youngest driver in PASS North history to lead a lap in a series event when he competed in the Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough last weekend. He also became the youngest driver to qualify for a PASS North race. Lanpher started third, led 31 laps but then finished 23rd after he was forced to pit with a flat rear right tire.

Lanpher, who drives the No. 59 car for E.J. Prescott, will next race in a May 18 PASS North feature in Quebec.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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