WISCASSET — Chris Thorne wasn’t interested in consolation prizes Saturday night.

Logan Melcher of Jay won his fourth Late Model race of the season at Wiscasset Speedway, first pulling away from Thorne on a restart with 11 laps remaining and then holding off a charging Tiger Colby of Wiscasset to take the 50-lap feature win. Colby ended up second with Thorne third.

Melcher’s four wins are the most by any driver in the division this season.

“I’m not going to lie, I really appreciate (Thorne’s) patience,” Melcher said “He must be the most patient race car driver we’ve got here at the track. It’s an honor to race with him, let alone beat him.”

Thorne, of Sidney, virtually clinched his fifth career Late Model championship with his finish. With Harrington’s Andrew McLaughlin finishing seventh to be mathematically eliminated from title contention, Thorne holds a 56-point lead over Melcher with one race remaining in the season.

All Thorne has to do is finish 25th or better — with Melcher winning both his heat race and the feature on Sept. 28 — to win the championship. Only once this season has a Late Model field at Wiscasset had more than 25 entries.

Not that Thorne has paid close attention to the title picture.

“How close is it?” Thorne asked before departing victory lane Saturday night. “At the end of the last race, if it all comes together, it would be nice to win it — but honestly today the championship was not on my mind. I want to get at least one more win before the year’s over.”

With a fifth championship, Thorne would tie Bowdoin’s Scott Chubbuck for second on the track’s all-time list. Maurice Young of Chelsea has six career championships.

“Winning the championship is nice, but it’s not like I sit at home every night and think about how great all of my championships are,” Thorne, 35, said. “This year, I really wanted to have fun and win a bunch of races. That’s really what we’re here for now.”

Logan Melcher of Jay is all smiles in victory lane after winning the 50-lap Late Model feature Saturday night at Wiscasset Speedway in Wiscasset. Kennebec Journal photo by Travis Barrett

He appeared close to winning Saturday night for the first time since opening day in early May.

After starting 13th in the 22-car field, Thorne navigated through a rash of early incidents and cracked the top five before the race was even 15 laps old.

Melcher took the lead from pole-sitter Bill Pinkham of Wiscasset on lap 30. On a restart one lap later, Thorne followed Melcher from third and tried to hang to the leader’s outside following a final lap 39 restart.

He simply couldn’t make the outside work to get around the speedy Melcher.

“Tonight was really the first time all year the car really felt good,” Thorne said. “Something on that last restart changed and the car just wasn’t as good as it had been before.

“Logan has really taken off this year. He’s been a rocket. I finished second to him twice and lost to him again tonight, but we were so close tonight. I was hoping I could get ahead of him in lapped traffic, because I knew once it was the two of us out front it was going to be whoever could get there first.”

Melcher unofficially sits six points ahead of McLaughlin for second in the standings after nine races.

“The car was really hooked up on the outside,” Melcher said. “It was kind of loose getting out (of the corners), but on the outside I could really make the track wide and make the track big and use every bit of the race track I needed to to let the car rotate. That’s where I could really generate some speed in the middle (of the corner).”

• • •

By taking the green flag in the 25-lap Outlaw Mini feature, Jimmy Childs of Leeds became one of three drivers to clinch a 2019 championship at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday night. Richmond’s Scott Trask won the race over Kyle Willette of Waterville and Zach Audet of Skowhegan. … Woolwich’s Adam Chadbourne clinched the Modified division title in a race won by Nick Reno of West Bath. The victory was Reno’s fifth of the season. … Zach Emerson of Sabattus finished third in the Strictly Street feature to secure his second career championship in the division. Saturday’s event was the final Strictly Street points race of the season with the open competition 75-lap Strictly Shootout slated for Sept. 28.

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