Jeff Burgess knows that winning brings expectations, which in turn brings pressure.

The defending Late Model points champ at Unity Raceway acknowledged he’ll feel some pressure this season, beginning with opening day today.

“The expectations are we should win right off the bat, considering how good we were last year,” said Burgess of Madison. “We expect pressure. If we don’t win opening day, it’ll be a disappointment.”

Unity Raceway opens today with a full slate of racing, which includes a 52-lap Late Model race that will pay $700 to the winner.

The Wildcat (40 laps), Monsta Mini (25), Pro 4 (25), Nelcar Legends (25), Challengers (25) and Flyin 4’s (25) divisions will also race today.

George Fernald Jr., who leases the track from Ralph Nason, said he and a work crew put the finishing touches on the track Friday.

Renovation work included the installation of a $4,000 fence between Turn 1 and 2.

“We also put in new cement pads on the wall,” said Fernald, who will also act as race director this season. “We’ve cleaned the track and we should be ready to go.”

Fernald said he hopes to attract about 20 Late Models today. The class averaged about 14 last season.

There are changes coming in the class as well.

Former three-time Late Model champ Frank Moulton, a Burnham native, is returning after he left for Beech Ridge Motor Speedway last season.

A hand injury to Skowhegan native David Folsom, who finished second to Burgess in points last season, will prevent him from racing full time this season.

“I expect Moulton and Burgess to pick up where Folsom and Burgess left off,” Fernald said.

Added Moulton, who won the points title from 2008-10: “I’m pretty excited. There’s always a little bit of nerves until you get there. I expect to do pretty well. I’d be disappointed if we weren’t in the hunt for the win.”

Burgess won six points races last season to win the championship.

He’s eager to defend his title this season, and will try to do so with a revamped car.

“The car is good and fresh, and the motor is re-done,” said Burgess, who will race with a Hamke Chassis motor.

The new body will also give Burgess’ car a new appearance.

Burgess’ ride this year will be copper with a fluorescent red stripe painted down the side. The car was white last season.

“Franky is a good racer,” Burgess said. “We race well together, but we had a couple incidents that I thought were a little more his fault than mine. But it’s all part of racing. It should be fun.”

The Wildcat class will feature a new points champion this season. Chelsea native Maurice Young, who won the title last season, left for Oxford Plains Speedway. Runnerup Chris King, of Burnham, will race a part-time schedule this year as well.

“We could have a different winner every week in a lot of classes,” Fernald said. “It should be a good year.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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