St. Clair makes best of restart

Posted May 04, 2009, at 12:21 a.m.

HERMON, Maine — Liberty’s Josh St. Clair turns 20 on Wednesday.

So he gave himself an early birthday present at Speedway 95 on Sunday afternoon.

Despite starting in the slower inside groove, St. Clair pulled away from race leader Joey Doyon on a lap-23 restart and he held off St. Albans’ Greg Morse to win the 50-lap Late Model feature by two car lengths.

Hermon’s Dale Swoboda was third followed by Winterport’s Doyon and Bradley’s Deane Smart in the 14-car field.

Little Deer Isle’s Matt Eaton blew a tire on the front stretch while racing for the lead on lap 23, prompting the caution.

On the restart, Doyon had clutch problems and St. Clair capitalized.

“My clutch was slipping real bad. I couldn’t get [the car] going,” said Doyon. “Something in the engine started missing, too, but the car was still fast.”

Doyon said they also discovered after the race they had holes in their right-side tires.

St. Clair knew he had to take advantage of the restart.

“I knew that was my only shot. I wasn’t going to be able to go by him on the bottom [without a restart] was too loose. I couldn’t get off because my car the corner enough,” said St. Clair whose grandfather (Dave) and father (Puncin) were also in the race.

Morse said his car was too loose to chase down St. Clair.

“It was tight in the heat race so we changed things around and we went a little too far,” said Morse, who was happy with his finish. “But it was a good race. Hats off to [St. Clair]. He did a good job.”

In the 25-lap Super Street feature, Holden’s Steve Moulton took the lead on lap four and was able to stave off Hermon’s Kris Watson by 1½-car lengths.

Appleton’s Jeremy Glasier was third in the seven-car field with Franklin’s Overlock and Hermon’s Doug Sinclair rounding out the top five.

“I tried to get past him but the bottom groove was gone. There was no bottom groove. You couldn’t get any bite off the corners. I was just spinning my tires,” said Watson.

“The car was awful in the heat race,” said Moulton. “So we changed the rear springs and the tire pressures and the car came around.”

There were only four cars in the 25-lap Strictly Street feature and Brad Norris of Ellsworth passed leader Travis Poulin of Holden on lap 22 to take the checkered flag for the second straight week.

Poulin was second with Bangor’s Shawn Hamel finishing third and his son, Shawn Hamel II, taking fourth.

Poulin was leaking oil throughout the race and Norris capitalized.

“My [engine] was cutting out when Brad got by me,” said Poulin. “I was just hoping to make to the end.”

“I was giving it everything I could to get by him, but if he had kept it together, he would have won the race,” said Norris.

In the Sport-Fours, Hampden’s David Green triumphed for the second straight week as he used the lapped car of Andrew Leeman to help him get by James Johnson II of Bucksport with four laps remaining in the 20-lap race. He beat Johnson by one car-length.

Green said the new American Racer racing tires played an important role in his win.

“They stick good on the inside groove,” said Green. “You know the car is going to stick wherever you go. It was an awesome race.”

Johnson said his inexperience helped Green pass him.

“It’s the first time I’d ever been up front. I wasn’t used to it. I got nervous,” said Johnson.

Hermon’s Ralph Allen, Clinton’s Tim Robinson and Stetson’s Gary Richards rounded out the top five.

Max Zachem of Preston, Conn., won the NELCAR Legends feature in his 1934 Ford sedan by six car lengths over Durham’s Evan Beaulieu in his 1934 Chevy Sedan.

“The car was great all day. Anyone could have driven it [to victory],” said 16-year-old Zachem.

Topsham’s Bob Weymouth, Windham’s Charlie Buxton and Scarborough’s Tyler Jordan were third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the Wicked Good Vintage Racing feature, Bradley’s Tim Reynolds and his 1941 Lincoln crossed the finish line half a car-length in front of East Machias’ Kenny Robinson in his 1949 Plymouth.

Bradley’s Mike Millette (’40 Oldsmobile), Machias’ Alan Robinson (’65 Buick) and Bristol’s John Rice (’72 Ford) rounded out the top five.

“I just got off the corner a little better than [Robinson] did,” said Reynolds of the final lap dash for the finish line.

lmahoney@bangordailynews.net

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