WISCASSET — On a night all about honoring former track champions, three of them dueled it out for top honors Saturday.

Sidney’s Kevin Douglass led all but the first nine laps, holding off Andy Saunders of Ellsworth and Nick HInkley of Wiscasset to win the 50-lap Pro Stock feature at Wiscasset Speedway. Douglass pulled away following the final restart with 13 laps remaining, posting his division-leading third win of the season and second in the last three races. Unofficially, the track’s 2008 Mini Stock champion moved into sole possession of second place in the point standings with the win.

The speedway spent Saturday celebrating the 50th anniversary of opening its gates for the first time on July 27, 1969. A total of 13 people — drivers, car owners and track officials — were inducted early in the day into Wiscasset Speedway’s inaugural Hall of Fame class. During Saturday night’s racing intermission, a total of 45 drivers were honored in the track’s victory lane as former champions, including 19 who are still active.

Among those were both Saunders and Hinkley. Hinkley’s father, Harold Hinkley, was part of the Hall of Fame class as a 10-time championship-winning owner with more than 120 career wins.

Nick Hinkley said it provided extra motivation.

“Definitely, definitely,” he said. “There’s a reason I wasn’t out here when they were introducing champions, because I was still working on this thing.”

Adding an exclamation point to Douglass’ win was the fact his No. 18 was caught up in a wreck in its most recent outing two weeks ago — in the second half of a doubleheader night on which he won the first race of the evening.

“It took a lot to get it back together,” Douglass said. “That wreck two weeks ago was really, really bad. It got everything in the right front, all the body in the front, and it was good to come out and know that the car is OK.”

Cody Verrill and Kevin Morse, both of Woolwich, finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Newburgh’s Chris Ryan ran into mechanical issues on lap 35 and finished 11th, while two-time feature winner Jamie Wright of Woolwich was 14th.

Nick Reno of West Bath started on the pole sporting a new No. 5, a tip of the cap to his grandfather and Hall of Fame inductee Lawrence Reno. But his time at the front lasted only the first nine circuits, before Douglass motored under him in turn one to the lead he would not relinquish.

Hinkley started sixth, one spot behind Douglass, and he whittled significantly into Douglass’ lead by the time the second caution of the race flew on lap 22. On the ensuing restart, Hinkley couldn’t make the outside groove stick while Douglass opened up another comfortable lead and left Hinkley to deal with Saunders.

“We run bleeders on these cars so your tire pressures will blow off. If one blows off more than the other, it breaks up the equality of the car,” said Hinkley, the reigning Pro Stock champion and one of only two drivers in track history to win both the Late Model and Pro Stock titles in his career. “I must have just missed something there. After 12 laps or so I could reel him back in, but bummer.”

“I was maintaining at that point. I wasn’t going to over-drive it,” Douglass said. “My spotter was telling me my lap times, so I was just trying to stay consistent with that. Unless (Hinkley) got closer, then maybe I would have driven it harder.

“I don’t run bleeders. Bleeders are a double-edge sword. They work really good, but if they don’t work… It’s cost me a race before.”

Saunders narrowly avoided disaster when a lap two incident claimed Joe Decker and Cody Verrill, marching from 13th starting spot in the 15-car field to third on the lap 23 restart, finally getting by Hinkley on lap 40.

The 2015 track champion, Saunders has raced only part-time over the last two seasons. He cited concerns over recent performances, but he was lukewarm about a runner-up finish to Douglass.

“I’ve been pretty discouraged with a lack of performance, which obviously affects the budget,” said Saunders, whose last race at the track was in May. “We parked it for four, five, six weeks and did our best to show up prepared. The plan was to win, but here we are.

“You’ve got to have a little bit of luck. The car has shown plenty of speed plenty of times, but putting together a whole race and having a little bit of luck is just something we haven’t been able to do.”

• • •

Dan Trask of Chelsea snapped a four-year winless streak by holding off point leader Mike Hodgkins to win the 25-lap Super Street feature.

“I was sweating a little bit,” said Trask, a former Super Street champion. “I was just trying to guard the bottom and give them plenty of room on the outside.”

Trask was driving a car owned by Maurice Young. Young holds the Wiscasset Speedway record with seven track championships, six in the Strictly Street division and one other in a Late Model Sportsman.

“To get into a car that is built by Maurice, and for him to actually be able to let me sit in the seat, it’s more than words can say,” Trask said.

“To get the monkey off our back, it feels awesome,” said Young, who had only gotten the car to the track four times this season — with feature finish. “To come home tonight, in one piece, with a win, we’re pretty excited.”

Lisbon’s Jeff Prindall won the 25-lap 4-Cylinder Pro feature, while Richmond’s Curtis Anderson was victorious in the Thunder 4 Mini event.


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