WISCASSET — When Kevin Douglass received a phone call from Wiscasset Speedway owner Vanessa Jordan last November, he figured it was because the track was looking for a pace truck driver on race nights.

Jordan wanted him to drive this season, yes. But he’ll be turning laps at a slightly quicker clip than the 35 miles per hour the pace vehicle usually goes.

Jordan wanted Douglass to drive the Pro Stock she owns with her husband, Wiscasset Speedway co-owner Richard Jordan, at the speedway this season. After being without a full-time ride since winning the track’s Mini Stock championship in 2008, Douglass leaped at the opportunity.

“(Track promoter) Ken Minott messaged me and said Vanessa wanted my number and wanted to talk to me,” Douglass, of Sidney, said. “I thought it was about driving the pace truck, because I had done it a couple of times last year when they needed somebody. But then she said that they had the Pro Stock and wanted to know if I might be interested in driving it.

“When she said that, I was like ‘Is this really happening right now?'”

Douglass made a series of spot starts in a few different divisions since winning the track’s Mini Stock championship a decade ago.

He won a Pro Stock race at Wiscasset in 2013, his first career Pro Stock win, an he won a 75-lap Pro Late Model event at Oxford Plains Speedway that same summer. He’s driven Modifieds and street stocks, too — but he’s always had the itch to get back to a more consistent racing schedule.

Enter the Jordans and the No. 18 Pro Stock he’ll drive this summer for them, a seat vacated when Mike Orr stepped away following last season.

“My goal is to win the championship. It’s pretty simple,” said Douglass, who has more than 20 career feature wins at Wiscasset. “Vanessa said from the beginning, ‘We don’t want to put any pressure on you. We just want you to go out and have fun.’ But I guarantee, I will put more pressure on myself than anyone else will. I’ve had a lot of success over the years. Granted, it was in a Mini Stock most of the time, but I’m competitive. I’m not just out there to ride around.”

His campaign opened last Saturday with a heat race win and a fourth-place finish in the 40-lap Pro Stock feature on opening day after leading the first quarter of the race from the pole.

Douglass didn’t necessarily want a break from full-time racing, but financially he couldn’t afford to run the cars he liked most. After winning the 2008 title at Wiscasset, he wanted a different challenge than the Mini Stock offered. He bought a Sportsman car and later drove a Pro Stock for the first time. In either case, keeping those cars going to the track week after week wasn’t feasible.

He didn’t race at all in 2017, after closing out 2016 with just a single start in a street stock in Unity Raceway’s season finale. When he got the unexpected call from the Jordans last fall, it represented the opportunity most weekly racers only dream of.

“I never wanted to be out of it, but once you drive a Pro Stock you never want to drive anything else. I kind of priced myself out of it,” Douglass said. “The only reason I’m racing this year is because of them. Vanessa thought about me, for whatever reason. I still don’t really know why.”

While his win at Oxford ranks as his favorite win anywhere, Wiscasset is the place that’s become a home for Douglass. Being back in the place where he’s most comfortable — in the relaxed environment that Richard and Vanessa Jordan have worked hard to cultivate — feels right for Douglass.

“The facility and the way it’s run, with all the improvements they’ve put into it, I think it’s the best track in the state,” Douglass said. “They put their money into the track, and it shows. They’re making all the right moves.”

Including, from his perspective, hiring Douglass to race full-time this summer in the track’s top division.

• • •

Less than a year ago, Wiscasset’s Nick Hinkley was running both a Pro Stock and a Late Model weekly at his hometown track, still trying to get a handle on the Pro Stock efforts of the team owned by his family.

This season, Hinkley’s chief concern will be the Pro Stock.

“We’ve done the Late Model thing now since 2008. We feel like, other than the big races, we’ve pretty much got it figured out,” Hinkley said after finishing second in the season-opening Pro Stock feature last Saturday. “The problem is you can’t really travel around with (the Late Model), but with the (Pro Stock) the sky’s the limit with where you want to go.”

Hinkley also said he will try and run a few Pro All Stars Series races that don’t conflict with the Wiscasset weekly schedule.

“We’re going to try White Mountain (in North Woodstock, New Hampshire) and probably Speedway 95 (on June 17), and then who knows what will happen after that,” Hinkley said.

The Late Model will still make a few starts this season for Hinkley. He plans on running the Coastal 200, a race he’s never won, Memorial Day weekend.

• • •

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Curtis Gerry, the 2016 Pro Series champion at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, will be among the list of favorites to win the PASS 200 at his home track on Saturday. The Waterboro driver won the Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday — this third straight PASS win at Oxford dating back to last summer’s Oxford 250.

Gerry has three career touring series wins, all at Oxford and all in the last two seasons. He would have four after winning a 150 at Beech Ridge in 2016, but he refused technical inspection and was stripped of what would have been his first career PASS win.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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