WISCASSET — There weren’t fans in the stands, and there was no race taking place, as would normally be the case on a June weekend at Wiscasset Speedway.

But there were cars on the track and an order of fastest times on the leaderboard — which, for drivers who have been eager for any semblance of racing, was a good step in the right direction.

“It’s a lot more like race-feeling,” Super Streets driver and Turner resident Glen Reynolds said. “It’s awesome, and I wish we could get going, to be honest with you. It’s just a taste of what’s to come. But it’s fun, it’s good.”

Wiscasset Speedway opened up for practice on Saturday, giving drivers across different divisions a chance to get back to competitive racing. Wiscasset owners Richard and Vanessa Jordan had made the track available for private sessions, but this was the first time this season that drivers across the Thunder 4, Super Streets, Pro Stocks, 4-Cylinder Pro and Legends divisions could be on the .375-mile oval together.

The weather didn’t cooperate — rain that began about 20 minutes after the Pro Stocks practice started bumped them, the 4-Cylinder Pros and Legends to June 20 — but drivers either got some valuable testing in or got set up with a later time to build momentum for the eventual start of the season.

“(Private testing’s) good to a certain point, but it’s great to get around other cars because it just handles different,” Reynolds said. “It just gives you a different perspective of a more race-like condition, so it just gives you an opportunity to set your car up.”

Vanessa Jordan was happy to have familiar competitors back at the track, which will host a second group next Saturday, and she’s hoping it’s a step closer to the new season.

“For the drivers, it helps them get on the track and shake things down,” she said. “And for us, it gives us an opportunity to talk with them and let them know where we’re at, and if they have any ideas. Just communicate. … We are excited to have them back, and I think they’re excited to be here.”

Drivers were eager for the reps.

“It’s huge. It’s a necessity. You have to do that,” said Sidney’s Gary Thorne, a Pro Stocks racer who got on the track just before the rain, marking his first time at Wiscasset since 2015. “If you don’t do it, you’re not prepared. You have to shake the car down, especially a new one. … The whole family’s been waiting for this. We’ve been three and a half years building this car.”

Pro Stocks driver Rodney Brooks of Thomaston said he was also looking forward to the chance to test his car, though he didn’t get on before the rain and was bumped up two weeks.

“It’s got a new nose on it so I want to break that in and scuff it down to the right height,” he said. “Make sure there are no leaks, no bad vibrations, the car handles good and just get into the rhythm of turning laps.”

Even drivers coming off the most successful seasons have work to do. Jefferson’s Mike Hodgkins, the Super Streets champion last year, is going into this season with a brand new car, and had already done a private test at Wiscasset before showing up again Saturday.

“(We) completely re-did the car over the winter to make it go better, and it’s going pretty good,” he said. “I couldn’t wait, I came down and rented the race track a few weeks ago and tried it out, and decided to come down today and play around some more.”

It was just practice, but there was still an underlying intensity to the afternoon before the rain arrived.

Oh, it’s competition,” Reynolds said. “They’ve got the board up, so everybody wants to be on top of the board. There’s competition, absolutely.”

It was business as usual. It just didn’t look that way, since coronavirus guidelines meant teams didn’t mingle beyond their pits and one division had to clear out before the next could begin.

It’s just all different. Typically, these pits would be packed, and we’d have scattered cars everywhere,” he said. “The nice thing about Wiscasset is it really gives you a family atmosphere. For competitors, yes we want to beat everybody, but at the end of the day we’re all friends, we all hang out, we all talk to one another. So it’s more the camaraderie that we miss.”

That camaraderie will be back when the races begin. And the teams will be ready.

“Whenever they could tell us we could go,” Reynolds said. “As soon as they get the green light to go, I’m going to be here.”

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