Pittston native Ben Ashline has been in and seen his fare share of wrecks in his auto racing career.

It comes with the territory of competing in a sport that is inherently dangerous in nature, yet even Ashline — who is eighth in points on the American Canadian Tour — has trouble putting into words what happened Saturday night in Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua, N.Y.

“That’s a really, really messed up situation, he said.

Like most, Ashline has seen the videos posted on Youtube and other media of the dirt track event in which 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. exited his car after crashing as a result of contacting NASCAR’s Tony Stewart. In the video Ward Jr. proceeds to walk out onto the track, point toward Stewart and is struck by the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. Ward Jr. later died from his injuries.

The incident is a somber reminder to the dangers of racing, as well as one that reinforces a lesson Ashline learned when he first began racing.

“The one thing my father always told me is to stay in the car. You stay there until a track worker gets to you because at that point you know it’s safe,” Ashline said. “It’s kind of common sense really. Nobody tries to get out of their car and tries to cross the highway.

“…Somebody lost their life and it’s a bad deal. I feel really bad for both parties involved.”

• • •

Greg Winchenbach has one goal heading into this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Monster Truck Throwdown at Oxford Plains Speedway.

“Give the fans what they came to see — and that’s Crushstation beating up on everybody,” the Jefferson resident said.

Winchenbach — who has competed in Monster Jam events on and off for the past four years in addition to running with the Monster Truck Throwdown Tour — will be the lone Mainer in the field and his behemoth machine will certainly be easy to pick out. His vehicle masquerades as a giant lobster, complete with rubber bands keeping the claws in check.

“Why not promote the state I’m from,” Winchenbach said. “I love this state. I’m not going anywhere else.”

• • •

Unity Raceway is finally ready to hold its first event and entries are starting to come in for this weekend’s featured event — the Super Stock Twin 100’s.

“It’s shaping up really good,” track general manager and race director Nick Huff said. “I’ve received the full entry fees from about 15 guys but I expect more on the day of.”

Huff said he’s expecting to get about 25 entries for the Twin 100’s, which will be $1,000 to win per race.

Among those already entered are Brad Bellows, Zach Audet, George Fernald and track owner Ralph Nason. The day’s worth of racing is slated to begin at 2 p.m. with 50-lap Outlaw Series and Modified Enduro races also on the docket.

• • •

Also slated for this weekend is the Mainely Motorsports 400 at Richmond Karting Speedway.

Trials will be held on Saturday with a full slate of kart racing scheduled for Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.

“We’re shooting for 25 in each class,” track owner Will Anderson said.

Anderson — who also noted that he believes there will be nine different classes for the event — is in his first year of ownership at Richmond after taking over the track in October.

Anderson said the first year has gone “good” so far, although he will not make the races this weekend. He will be helping out his son, Curtis, a former Richmond competitor who now races Thunder 4’s at Wiscasset Speedway.

Evan Crawley—621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: Evan_Crawley

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