While most tracks in the area already have or are about to open, it seems Unity Raceway could remain closed this season.
Owner Ralph Nason has been looking to lease the track since last fall but has not found anyone willing to do so.
“I’m still looking, still hoping, but there’s nothing that’s really happened,” Nason said. “No one’s really come forward.”
“…I never really did think too much (about selling the track). I would, but it’s not really hurting me financially, so I don’t need to get rid of it. That would probably be one of the last of our ideas.”
Opening the track, however, does not make sense financially to Nason, and he went on to say that neither he nor his children are willing to run the track this season.
“I was the guy that knew both sides of the street because I was a racer,” Nason said. “I know that feeling in my gut, and I also knew when it got too expensive. They just think that we should fix all the problems and we should do, do, do.”
Nason said he has been approached by a couple of people interested in leasing the track over the past few months, but none of the leads ever came to fruition. Even still, he’s holding out hope that someone will come forward in time to open.
“Maybe somebody will come along,” Nason said. “I hope they do, and I’d certainly help them.”
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At Oxford Plains Speedway, the question is not if the track will open, but when?
The Pro All-Star Series North’s Ripley & Fletcher Ford 150 — originally slated for April 5 — was supposed to take place today at 2 p.m., but thanks to the weather forecast drivers will once again have to wait to start their engines.
According to six-time PASS North champ Johnny Clark, drivers found out after Friday’s practice that the race Saturday had been postponed due to the forecast for inclement weather. There could be a chance the race will be held Sunday. PASS later announced via Twitter that Saturday’s race had postponed.
“We were testing today and they pretty much said, âgo home, tomorrow looks terrible,'” Clark said. “We might potentially get it on Sunday. We don’t really know if we’re racing.
“…You prepare just the same. I’ll just be bummed out if we don’t get it in because we’ve had two weeks in a row of good testing.”
For Clark in particular he was hoping to race this weekend to begin putting behind what has been a rough last two seasons. Since winning his last title in 2011 Clark has struggled — winning just two races in 2012 and none in 2013 — but he is hoping to change that in a big way in 2014.
“We want to make a statement just like everyone does that we’re here, we’re ready,” Clark said. “It’s extra important (for us) because of the terrible year we had last year.”
So far, things couldn’t be going any better for the No. 54 Clark’s Westside-Butler MacMaster Performance Engines Chevrolet when it comes to getting back on track heading into the opener.
“We’re certainly getting there,” Clark said. “We’re probably making bigger strides than I anticipated.”
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When the Ripley & Fletcher Ford 150 finally does take place, defending champ Cassius Clark will be looking to get off to a fast start as well. Clark won the opener at Oxford Plains last season en route to the 2013 title.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Clark said. “It âs been a long winter.”
“…Oxford is a track where we’ve had a lot of success; we’ve had a couple races where we would have liked to have done better too but I think we’re going to be in good shape.”
Aside from a couple of different set-up ideas, the Farmington native said his No. 77 will be pretty much the same as it was last year — with hopefully the same results.
“That’s what our goal is,” Clark said. “For sure.”
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Maranacoook High School’s Reid Lanpher will also be in the field this weekend at Oxford Plains, weather permitting, but it won’t be his first time racing this season.
Lanpher raced in the 25-lap Amsoil Nelcar Legends race this past Saturday at Wiscasset Speedway and did quite well for himself. The Manchester native placed second in the 14-car field despite being sent to the back of the pack at one point.
Lanpher made his way into the second position by lap 20, but couldn’t make a move to get past Mathew Bourgoine of Newport in the final five laps.
Evan Crawley——621-5640 [email protected] Twitter: @Evan_Crawley