Of all the drivers to win at various tracks last weekend, it’s likely none of them enjoyed the moment more than Josh St. Clair.

It would certainly be hard to imagine anyone who felt as relieved.

St. Clair held off the pack in a close finish to take the Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman race at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday, earning his first win since 2017 — and one that felt like an even longer time coming.

“I took a week off … came back and hard all the cards on the table, I guess,” said the Liberty native, who edged Sidney’s Chris Thorne by only .165 seconds to get the elusive win. “It had been a tough season so far. The car’s been fast, I just haven’t caught a break to save my soul, I guess.

“Just to get the monkey off the back, it felt like we were carrying around an extra pile of lead. … It was good to get a win in and know it’s still there.”

The last few years had been a struggle. St. Clair won twice early in 2017, but wrecked at Wiscasset near the end of that year and began driving a chassis that he and his team couldn’t get to work.

“I thought it would be what we needed,” he said. “But some cars are fast, and some cars aren’t, I guess. You can throw the whole book at them and be mediocre.”

Towards the end of last year, however, St. Clair got a new car, one that he said “made a world of difference.” That showed on Saturday, when St. Clair won his heat race to get out near the front of the pack for the start of the featured race, which was extended from 40 to 50 laps.

“The car was fast all day long,” St. Clair said. “It all worked out. I got the lanes I needed, the breaks I needed.”

But after waiting two years for a win, St. Clair wasn’t about to get this one easily. A series of restarts, beginning with just over 10 laps to go, condensed the field and forced St. Clair to routinely have to hold off Thorne and Andrew McLaughlin, two of the best drivers in the 27-car field.

“(They’re) the guys that seem to be up front every week, that beat me every week,” he said. “With 13 to go, there was a restart, and after that I think there were five more. It just felt like eternity waiting for that to get over.”

McLaughlin wrecked with three laps to go, making it Thorne vs. St. Clair for the win.

“Chris Thorne is a wheelman, he’s been one, he’s won multiple championships,” St. Clair said. “He’s definitely not the guy you want to see beside you on the last restart of the race.”

This time desperation won out, and St. Clair held on for the win he knew he badly needed.

“I didn’t want to see him, but it was good to beat him,” St. Clair said. “It just was good to get a win. … It’s been a long time.”

That’s what a victory can do. “Will I ever win?” turns into “How soon until I win again?”

“Maybe I can string some together now,” he said. “Finally, the luck may have turned around.”

 

• • •

 

This was looking like a year to forget for Scott Moore, as neck surgery had kept the Anson native out of competition up until the middle of July.

It didn’t take long, however, for Moore to make up for lost time.

The veteran driver beat Reid Lanpher by .15 seconds to win the Budweiser Championship Series Super Late Model race at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday. It was the second victory for Moore at Oxford, where he didn’t race from 2006-13, and his first since 2002.

“(Curtis Gerry) has been unstoppable, and then you’ve got Reid Lanpher, who’s done a ton of PASS races at Oxford,” Moore said. “You expect to be beat by those guys. We just happened to have the night unfold for us just right, and we were able to hold them off.”

Moore had the upper hand from the start, beginning the race on the pole and then getting out in front of the pack. He lost the lead to Josh Childs, then regained it when they had to navigate through lapped traffic. Soon, Lanpher, who started 19th, made his move.

“(Lanpher) scooted underneath (Childs), got to the outside of me and we raced it out for the last five or six laps,” Moore said.

Moore had enough to hang on, however, scoring a win that surprised him given his medical obstacle and the competitive field on the track.

“It’s the premier division in the state of Maine for Super Late Models,” he said. “You’ve got pretty much the ‘who’s who’ weekly that come in and out. … It’s all leading up to the (Oxford) 250. Everybody’s getting their cars ready for the 250, so they’re racing with us.”

 

• • •

 

It will be a busy weekend at Oxford Plains. On Saturday, there will be another Budweiser OCS Super Late Model race, which will follow Rookie, Bandit and Street Stock features. Racing starts at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, the track will host a pair of PASS races. The Modifieds will race for 40 laps, followed by the Super Late Models in the Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150. The racing will begin with heats starting at 5 p.m.


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