HERMON, Maine — Liberty’s Josh St. Clair gave himself an early graduation present and birthday gift on Sunday afternoon.
St. Clair, who will graduate from Bangor’s Eastern Maine Community College soon and will turn 21 on May 6, took the lead from pole-sitter Brenton Parritt of Steuben on the first lap and led the rest of the way to win the 35-lap Late Model feature in front of 581 fans on opening day at Speedway 95.
His younger brother, 16-year-old Ryan St. Clair, finished second in the Super Street race but was awarded the victory when Steve Moulton of Holden was disqualifed.
Track announcer and media director George Thomas explained that Moulton’s car had an “illegal spacer plate.”
And Super Street third-place finisher Doug Sinclair of Hermon was disqualified for “illegal shock absorbers.”
Josh St. Clair had to hold off a late challenge from Parritt to collect his victory.
“The [Chevy Monte Carlo] was a little loose in the heat race but we tightened it up for the feature,” said St. Clair.
He said he took full advantage of the faster outside groove on the first lap since Parritt had to start on the inside.
“You definitely have the advantage starting on the outside,” said St. Clair.
Hermon’s Dale Swoboda was third; Mike Landry of Oakland was fourth and John Kalel Jr. of Orrington was fifth.
Seventy-year-old Dick McPhail from Fairfield won the Wicked Good Vintage Cars Late Model class by taking the lead late in his 1946 Ford.
“I did all right for having street tires,” grinned McPhail. “I didn’t feel like we were going to do anything after the heat race but we dubbed around with it, changed the tire pressure and I was up front.”
Wally Henderson of Litchfield was second, Keith Smalley of Warren was third, Rosey Gerry of Lincolnville was fourth and Bob Oliver of Orrington was fifth.
In the Wicked Good Outlaws class, Bristol’s John Rice was one of the rare drivers to nurse his car (1973 Gran Torino) to victory along the inside groove.
“It’s the only place the car goes good,” said Rice.
Joe Legere of Milford was second by half a car length. Ken Robinson of East Machias was third, Duane Dunifer of Carmel was fourth and Hermon’s Kris Watson was fifth.
Rice thought Legere was going to overtake him “but he didn’t. I got lucky.”
Ryan St. Clair was the youngest winner. He is just a sophomore at Thorndike’s Mount View High School.
“I was happy with a second but I’m twice as happy with a win,” said St. Clair.
Lamoine’s Derek Mingo wound up second in the Super Streets, Gray’s Kevin Oliver was third, Winteport’s Meghan Allen was fourth and fifth was Franklin’s Michael Overlock.
In the Strictly Streets, Ellsworth’s Bradley Norris started second, used the outside groove to take the lead from pole-sitter Troy Patterson of Stockton Spring on the first lap and triumphed.
“I wasn’t going to bring the car up today because I was going to run another car in the Sport-Fours. But that car blew up yesterday so I got this car out of mothballs,” said Norris, who praised crew chief Rob Fargo for his work on the car.
Rounding out the top five were Shawn Hamel II of Bangor, Shawn Racila of Dover-Foxcroft, Rowland Robinson Jr. of Steuben and Clifton’s Jim Carr.
Patterson would have been third but was disqualified because his car was underweight.
In the Sport-Fours, Veazie’s Kyle Gallant was yet another winner who started second, took the lead on the first lap and led the rest of the way.
He survived a side panel bump with Derick Terrill of Plymouth on a lap 14 restart. Terrill sustained a flat tire and finished fifth.
“Neither one of us wanted to give up a spot,” said Gallant.
Bangor’s David Green was second, Dedham’s Keith Ogden was third and Exeter’s Gary Richards was fourth.