Rainouts frustrating local drivers

Posted July 05, 2009, at 10:28 p.m.

HERMON, Maine — The rain just wouldn’t go away.

Wet weather once again canceled racing at Speedway 95 Saturday night. It’s the fifth time this year that rain has nullified racing for Wednesday and weekend races at the track.

“Rain has been eight times worse than it ever has been,” said Holden’s Steve Moulton. “It kind of bums me out because we don’t get to race all the time.”

Old Town’s Brent Fletcher, who races in the Sport Four division, has also been disappointed with all the rain.

“Last couple of months we’ve had nothing but rain,” said Fletcher. “[But] what are we gonna do?”

To the disappointment of many drivers, the rained-out races won’t be made up.

“It’s all gone,” said track co-owner Del Merritt. “We’ll just go back to the regular Saturday racing next week.”

Financially, moving the races to Sunday didn’t make sense for Merritt.

“The rain dates just don’t work for us,” said Merritt. “Typically on Sunday, we just don’t draw anybody. If you schedule a race on Saturday night, we just don’t draw anyone on Sunday [for makeup races]. Maybe [the fans] plan for a Saturday race and they have [other] Sunday plans.

“We’ve tried it in the past, racing on Sunday, but they just don’t work for us. Better off just biting the bullet and trying again next Saturday.”

Some drivers weren’t pleased with the races being outright canceled and not made into a double feature the following weekend.

“I’m hoping Del makes a couple of them up,” said Moulton.

“I guess we don’t have rain dates,” said Town Hill’s John Phippen Jr. “Whatever they decide is what we’ll play with.”

Phippen, the Late Model points leader, was sympathetic to Merritt’s situation.

“That’s totally up to them, they have to pay the bills,” said Phippen. “I look out for my business and they have to look out for theirs.”

Money wasn’t much of a concern for the drivers, it’s the points lost toward a championship that bothered them.

“There’s no way to catch the guys in front of us [without making the races up],” said Moulton, who sits second in Super Street points to Hermon’s Kris Watson.

“It will make it very hard to chase him down,” said Fletcher of Sport Four points leader David Green of Hampden. “We’re always one, two or three, right behind one another [on the track].”

Phippen wasn’t concerned about points, he just wants to race.

“I’m not worried about [the points situation],” said Phippen. “[But] we didn’t build a race car to sit in the rain. I wanna race. I’m 56 years old [and] I’ve got many races left in me.”

The 35-lap series race for the Sport Four division will be moved to Saturday, replacing the regularly scheduled Sport Four race. Any series race will be made up in place of next weekend’s race, said Merritt.

Speedway 95 holds three series races per division throughout the year. There’s a separate champion for the top points finisher of those races.

But the races will only happen if the rain can stay away Saturday night.

“If it doesn’t stop raining, we’ll be under water soon. We’ll have to have boat races next week,” laughed Merritt.

Phippen leads Hermon’s Dale Swoboda by 44 points in the Late Model division. Deane Smart of Bradley and Winterport’s Shane Clark are tied for third, 60 points behind Phippen.

Watson leads Moulton by 46 points in the Super Street class with Doug Sinclair of Hermon six points back of Moulton for second.

The Sport Four division is paced by Green, 31 points ahead of Fletcher. Bradley Norris of Ellsworth holds a 36-point lead over Bangor’s Shawn Hamel in the Strictly Street division.

bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

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