UNITY — The biggest race of the season nearly became the biggest mess at Unity Raceway on Sunday.
The second annual Last Chance Motorsports 150 drew a deep field of Late Models and a decent crowd, but also a caution-filled feature as drivers chased a purse that paid at least $2,000 to the winner.
And when it was over, after 15 cautions and a few technical difficulties, Brian Whitney survived to take the checkered flag.
The Burnham resident led 57 laps, including the last 51 as a field of 27 was whittled to just 10 in the second half of the race.
Josh St. Clair, of Liberty, finished second while Palmyra native Ajay Picard was third.
There were seven cautions in the first 50 laps alone, and track manager Jare Humphrey stopped the race to try and restore order.
It worked — but only for a few laps.
Phil Richardson wrecked near Turn 1 on lap 63 and both cars needed to be towed from the track.
Three laps later, the lights between turns 3 and 4 went out, which again brought a caution flag out — the 10th of the night.
When racing resumed, the field again went under caution when the No. 25 car driven by Will Collins spun out along Turn 4.
All the while, Whitney and St. Clair, who started on the pole, stayed out of trouble and in contention.
An accident midway through a 44-lap Monsta Mini class delayed the start of the Late Model feature by about an hour.
Kyle Robinson, 15, of Clinton, lost control of his No. 62 car coming into Turn 1 on lap 24 and plowed up a dirt banking, crashed through a chain-linked fence and finally came to a rest up against a wall — the last barrier between the track and School Street.
“Going into Turn 1 the throttle got stuck,” Robinson said. “I lost control of the car and it just hit the banking. I let go of the steering wheel because I didn’t want to break my wrist. I just hung on tight.”
And when the car came to a stop?
“I unbuckled and got out as quick as I could,” he added. “I was happy to get out of the car.”
Track officials needed to repair the fence before the race could resume.
While workers tended to the fence, Robinson returned to the pits and his team put the car back together.
“We put a couple tires on it, fixed the throttle and fixed the radiator,” said Kyle’s dad, Tim Robinson. “Then we sent him back out.”
Kyle Robinson finished 10th out of 17 cars.
“Pretty crazy,” he said.
The big-money race had by far the largest field in any division at the track this season.
The opportunity to win at least $2,000 also enticed a few drivers to shake off some proverbial rust and return to racing.
One of them, David Folsom of Skowhegan, competed in his first race since the annual Long John at Unity last October.
Folsom, 51, suffered a serious injury to his left hand about two years ago that nearly ended his career. He missed all of last season, save for the Long John, and the first three months of this season.
However, he couldn’t stay away this weekend.
“I missed it,” said Folsom, who finished runner-up in 2011 to Jeff Burgess in the Late Model division. “I wanted to come back and do it again. Plus, I have three cars for sale so I can showcase them here.”
WISCASSET — Bill Penfold, working his way from the back of the pack to the front on a restart, pulled away for the 30-lap Pro Stock feature win Saturday night.
Penfold and Jeff Burgess were battling on lap 19 when the two made contact and spun on the track and were forced to the back of the line for a restart. After the restart John Rideout was first followed by Dylan Turner and Steve Reno. On lap 21, Reno passed Turner for second with Penfold charging hard. When Rideout slid up the corner on lap 24, Penfold made his move and passed him for first place. After that lap, Penfold raced away with the win and was followed by Rideout and Turner.
The 25- lap New England 4 Cylinder Pro Stocks were first up for the night. Craig Dunn avoided a crash on lap 14 to earn the feature win. Jeff Prindall, who started on the pole, was second followed by Dave Patten.
The Super Stock 25-lap feature was up next and the race was quick and straightfoward. There was a caution on lap 12 and Adam Chadbourne was able to break away and maintain first. He held on for the win followed by James Osmond in second and Zac Creamer in third.
A three-caution Thunder 4 race was next. Dan Trask eventually earned his second victory. Kevin Sherman finished second and Ryan Chadwick was third.
The flext race of the week was a 100-lap Enduro feature. There were 32 cars racing. Kevin Sherman, who started third, ended up with the win followed by Phil Main Jr. and Steven Turner.
SCARBOROUGH — Saturday’s NASCAR Nite Pro Series 40-lap feature was won by rookie Evan Beaulieu.
In the Pro Series division, veteran Mike Rowe maintained his points lead throughout the night to take home the championship over Dan McKeage. Dan Morse made a couple late-race passes to capture the Sport Series championship over Garrett Hall. Cole Watson avoided an early-race incident to hold his lead over Lewis Anderson for the Wildcat championship. In his second year of Nite racing, Brandon BArker edged Shawn Brackett to bring home his first career Road Runner title.
BARRE, Vt. — Travis Stearns oscored his first career American Canadian Tour victory in one of the biggest races on the 2013 schedule. The rookie held off eight-time ACT Champion Brian Hoar to claim the win in the 35th Annual VT Foodbank Labor Day Classic 200 at Thunder Road on Sunday.
Two-time Thunder Road champion Dave Pembroke led the entire first half of the 200 lap event, building a large lead through lap traffic before the second caution flag of the event flew on lap 116. Every lead lap car took advantage of the caution period to visit pit road for fresh right side tires. Hoar and Stearns were the first two cars back onto the race track claiming the first and second positions but starting 4th and 5th respectively on the ensuing restart. Pembroke stalled on the exit of pit road and could not get the car refired sending him to the tail of the field.
Current ACT point leader, Wayne Helliwell, Jr. came from 17th to take third, Pembroke recovered to take fourth and two-time Thunder Road Champion Nick Sweet completed the top five. Current ACT runner-up Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Brooks Clark, Cody Blake, 2013 “King of the Road” Derrick O’Donnell and Jimmy Hebert earned top ten finishes.