BY TRAVIS LAZARCZYK

Staff Writer

With fewer drivers and fewer fans at Unity Raceway this season, George Fernald, Jr. isn’t sure he’ll be able to finish the season at the track.

Fernald, who leases the track from owner Ralph Nason, blamed the economy for the track’s troubles.

“When I took over five years ago, (the economy) was bad, but it seems to have gotten steadily worse,” Fernald said. “We have half the cars we had last year. If you don’t have the car count, you don’t have the fans.”

Some of Unity’s Late Model races this season have seen as few as six cars entered. Last week, nine cars raced in the Late Model division, Fernald said.

“I expect a couple more for the race Saturday, because it’s $1,000 to win,” Fernald said.

Fernald estimated he’s losing between $1,500 and $2,000 each week, and added that he’s had to use money from his other business, transporting mobile homes, to keep Unity Raceway afloat. He hopes to have a meeting with the drivers soon to discuss options for finishing the season.

“I’ve done everything I could,” Fernald said. “I raced there 26 years and this is my fifth year running the place. I’d hate to see it close, but I just can’t do it on my own.”

* * *

Fans of old style drag racing should get to Winterport Dragway next weekend, when the Gasser Guys will be competing in their midseason championship.

The Gasser Guys time trails will be Aug.10, with racing on Aug. 11.

Gasser Guys drag racing features cars built in 1974 or older. According to Jim Kidder, who will work as a flagger at the event, the Gasser Guys club has more than 200 members across the Northeast.

“It keeps growing, because it’s old school,” Kidder said.

The cars can reach speeds of 130 miles per hour in 660 feet. Kidder said at least 80 racers are expected at Winterport.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie and friendship,” Kidder said. “It’s a family thing.”

Left turns: Spud Speedway in Caribou postponed its racing slate this weekend because not enough employees were available to work. According to a note on its Web site, the track will be open for practices on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

Staff Writer Bill Stewart contributed to this story.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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