Chris Thorne has done a lot of things at Wiscasset Speedway, most notably winning three consecutive Late Model championships at the track.

One thing the Sidney driver has yet to do, however, is win the marquee event on the track’s schedule each spring. On Sunday afternoon, Thorne will have the chance to do just that when he and some two dozen other drivers take the green flag in this year’s edition of the Coastal 200.

“I definitely want to win it,” Thorne, 32, said. “I’ve been close a couple of times. We had the car to win it one year, but a broken rear end ended our day and I’ve been chasing this race since. That’s at the top of the list of things to accomplish at Wiscasset.”

With a car that was overhauled during the winter, Thorne has posted a pair of top-five finishes in two races this season to assume a slim points lead in the track’s Late Model standings.

After winning the track championship in consecutive seasons from 2007-2009, Thorne stepped away from full-time racing. The timing coincided with his growing young family and the track closing for a couple of years until Richard and Vanessa Jordan purchased the speedway and reopened it in 2012. Thorne made a few appearances in the track’s Pro Stock division in 2013 and competed in several events in 2014 and 2015.

One of those events a year ago was the Coastal 200, where he finished third behind 2014 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway champion Dave Farrington Jr. and Harrington’s Andrew McLaughlin. McLaughlin sits second to Thorne in this year’s standings by just two points.

“For our team, that was the biggest moment of the year,” said Farrington, of Jay, who for the second consecutive year was one of seven drivers across the country to be selected for participation in the Alan Kulwicki Driver Development Program. “It was a great feeling to win that race, to be able to do a Polish victory lap to honor (Kulwicki) and to be able to do all of that at the track where I got my feet wet in stock cars was a pretty special feeling for our little team.”

Farrington has made starts on the Pro All Stars Series and the American-Canadian Tour this season. While he’s happy with where his Super Late Model performances are at — two top fives and four top 10s in four races — he said his Late Model team still hasn’t gotten all the bugs worked out.

“We’re not where we were last year at this time,” Farrington said. “We’ve kind of put everything back to where we were, and hopefully we’ll be ready to go from there (on Sunday).”

Thorne, like Farrington, said his team has been inching closer to hitting the tuning just right on his family-owned No. 17 as the Coastal 200 nears.

While Thorne was recognized in the past as a driver whose consistency trumped aggressiveness at all costs, he said that he’s changed a bit behind the wheel.

“Last year, I was more aggressive than I’d ever been,” said Thorne, noting that the track’s handicapping system for weekly racing forces faster cars to navigate traffic from the back of the field. “You have to find a way to get to the front, and you can’t waste your time getting trapped behind guys. I probably lost a couple of friends last year, because I definitely made a couple of moves that weren’t that popular.”

In a one-off race with no points implications, drivers know the reward of racing with only winning on their minds.

Track promoter Ken Minott, who has been with the track through three different owners now, has always enjoyed that aspect of the Coastal 200 as a race highlighting the true weekly racer as well as a few interlopers. The list of former Coastal 200 winners features touring drivers like Farrington and former PASS champion D.J. Shaw, as well as local standouts like Josh St. Clair, of Liberty, who won the race in 2014, the year it returned following a several-year hiatus.

“The Coastal 200 has always been the crown jewel of our season,” said Minott, who expects a final car count somewhere in the high 20s. “In Maine, nothing holds a candle to the prestige of the Oxford 250, but I’ve always thought of this race as the next level right behind it.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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