UNITY — It is a little difficult to think about racing with frigid temperatures and mammoth snow banks lingering in Maine, but for some tracks opening day is less than one month away.

Oxford Plains and Wiscasset speedways are slated to open April 18th, while Speedway 95 in Hermon has set May 2 as it’s opening date. Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough is scheduled to open May 23, while Winterport and Oxford Plains dragways are set to open on April 26 and May 29, respectively.

After a year full of uncertainty last season, Unity Raceway is slated for a full schedule of racing beginning on May 17. The track will hold two events per month in May, June, July, August and September.

Of course, all of this will be dependent on the weather and how quickly the snow melts.

“It’s buried in snow,” Unity manager Nick Huff said of the track. “I’ve been over to the track multiple times and it does worry me the havoc that the winter tolls on it. We’ve got to work on some fencing and some bleachers, but we just have to wait for the snow to go away.”

Huff was encouraged enough by last season’s abbreviated schedule to push forward with more racing this year.

“The track turned a profit. It’s not money I was able to put in my pocket, but it’s all money that we can put into this year,” Huff said. “I don’t want to be a rich man off this. I want to see Unity thrive. It’s all about making Unity Raceway and not seeing it turned into a condominium or gravel pit.”

The current plan is to have two different groups race on opposing weekends, with Late Models, Outlaw Minis and Flyin 4’s forming Group 1 and Wildcats, Monsta Minis and Super Stock Enduros in Group 2. Non-point events will be held as well, such as the annual Long John 115. In the past the Long John weekend has been a two-day event, but this year Huff plans to add a third day on Friday night.

•••

Speaking of adding to a schedule, Reid Lanpher said Wednesday this will be on par with or greater than his busiest season as a racer.

A junior at Maranacook Community High School, Lanpher said he plans to run full time at Beech Ridge and sprinkle in a few Pro All Star Series North races as well. He will open his season the weekend of April 11 with a trip to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Conn. for the 41st annual Icebreaker.

“That should be really exciting,” Lanpher said. “It will be a busy year, that’s for sure.”

Lanpher would not say if one of those PASS races will be the Oxford 250, though he did say it was not out of the question.

“There are a lot of different factors that play into it but if we’re having a really good year we might consider it,” he said. “It makes it tough on teams like us (that run at Beech Ridge) but we’d certainly love to do it if the opportunity arose.”

For the young racer adding to his plate has not come without some tough decisions. In order to spend more time in the shop in the spring Lanpher is going to forgo playing baseball for the Black Bears. It is a decision he feels is worth making though as he moves forward in the racing world.

“I just want to take my racing career to the highest level possible and I want to keep it fun,” Lanpher said. “It’s all about fun for us and doing the best we can. Racing is tricky these days with funding. That honestly determines a lot of the future, but I really want to take it as far as I can and have fun.”

•••

The 2014 season ended on a sour note for Farmington’s Cassius Clark but that will not stop the former PASS North champ from racing this year.

Clark’s car was heavily damaged when it careened into the banking on turn one after being bumped by D.J. Shaw just after the finish line at the Hight Chevrolet 150 at Speedway 95 in Hermon on Aug. 25. Clark won the race, but the resulting damage to his No. 77 High Chevrolet ended his season.

Wednesday Clark said the final touches were being put on a new car for the PASS North season.

“It’s being lettered up now and in the final stages,” Clark said. “We’ll get it ready for the first race in less than a month or so if everything cooperates.

“…We’re planning on coming out of the box strong with it and I’ve got all the faith in the world in the guys.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.