By all accounts, last season at Wiscasset Speedway was a successful one for Kevin Douglass.

A decade removed from his one and only championship at the track, the Sidney racer finished second in the final Pro Stock standings at Wiscasset in 2018. He finished in the top five in eight of his 12 starts last summer, in his first full season of racing in Wiscasset’s top division. But he didn’t win the championship, and he didn’t win a feature race, both things he’d like to change this time around.

The track opens its 50th year on Saturday at 2 p.m.

“That’s the plan,” said Douglass, who was Wiscasset’s Mini Stock champion in 2008. “I was close (last year). That was my first year having a Pro Stock and doing it all myself. I’d only done it part-time before. I learned a lot. I think it’s only going to be better this year.”

There was one big obstacle standing in Douglass’ way, something beyond an older race car and some on-track misfortune.

Wiscasset’s own Nick Hinkley won three races in the first half of the season to build a big cushion atop the division’s standings and rode that all the way to his first Pro Stock title driving for his family-owned team. A two-time Late Model champion at Wiscasset, Hinkley became the first driver at the speedway to record titles in its top two divisions in his career.

“We got off to such a fast start, it looked like it was going to be a really good year,” said Hinkley, who suffered a blown motor and a significant crash midway through the 2018 season yet still managed to finish in the top five in 10 of 12 races. “We always race to win, anyway, so anytime you can get out to such a big lead early it’s a big help.”

While Douglass took his car to Distance Racing owner Jeff Taylor in Fairfield for upgrades over the winter, Hinkley did him one better. He purchased a brand new Pro Stock from Taylor to replace the 2008 model he raced to the title last season.

It was easy for Hinkley to be less than sentimental about bidding adieu to his championship ride.

“It makes it easy to get rid of them when you know you have a brand new one coming,” Hinkley said.

Hinkley and Douglass appear to be among Wiscasset’s Pro Stock title hopefuls again. They also come at it from slightly different perspectives.

“We always end up in the points hunt, but that’s not our focus,” Hinkley said. “You go to the race track to try and win. If you go all out to get a win in those first couple of weeks, and if you can get one it’s something you can use down the road.”

“I try not to get too stressed out and think about (winning the championship) too much,” Douglass said. “It will work out the way it works out. If you stress about it too much, you end up making mistakes or getting yourself in spots you don’t want to. Then you find yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in.

“I’m still out here to have fun. I don’t want to make it a stressful thing every time I go to get in the car.”

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Wiscasset Speedway will mark its 50th birthday on July 27. The night will be highlighted by the induction of the track’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.

Other highlights on the 2019 season schedule at Wiscasset, which first opened in 1969, include the Coastal 200 for the Late Models on Sunday, May 26, and the return of the Boss Hogg 150 for the Pro Stocks on Sunday, September 1. Ben Ashline of Fairfield won last season’s Coastal 200, while Hermon’s Mike Hopkins won the Boss Hogg 150.

The track will decide its champions on September 21 and 28.

• • •

The Pro All Stars Series race at Oxford Plains Speedway originally scheduled for Sunday, April 14, will now be held on April 28. The race is part of a twinbill of 150-lap events with the ACT Late Model Tour also in town that day. … Center Conway, New Hampshire’s D.J. Shaw defended his 2018 PASS championship by winning the season opener at Thompson (Connecticut) Speedway Motorsports Park on April 7. … Weekly racing at Oxford begins on April 27, while Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough kicks off its season on May 4.

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