HERMON, Maine — Duane Seekins of Stockton Springs has won a ton of races during his 34-year career.
But Saturday night’s win in the special 95-lapper in the Late Model class at Speedway 95 was a first for him.
“I had never won a 100-lapper or a 95-lapper in my life,” said Seekins, who also noted he had never pocketed a check for as much as $1,500 before, either.
That was the winner’s take.
Seekins started sixth, maneuvered his way to second on lap 38 and took the lead for good when he passed Dale Swoboda on lap 53.
He survived several restarts, including a handful that had to be re-done because somebody jumped the gun.
“The car was great. It was good all the way through,” said Seekins, who drives a Chevy Monte Carlo. “We’ve been working hard on this car all spring long trying to get it to go. We’ve been changing, changing, changing [it]. Tonight we got it all together.”
Bradley’s Deane Smart finished second, 20 car-lengths behind Seekins, with Hermon’s Dale Swoboda overcoming a problem with his steering wheel to wind up third.
Pole-sitter Dave St. Clair of Liberty was fourth and Rowland Robinson Jr. of Steuben was fifth.
Just nine cars finished the race as six fell by the wayside. There were six cautions and two red flags.
Liberty’s Josh St. Clair, Dave’s grandson, had a dominant car and was leading the race comfortably when his car caught on fire. A problem with the breather tube resulted in oil spilling on his exhaust headers causing his car to catch on fire.
He returned and was making headway to the front when further car issues parked him.
Smart ran in the top five consistently and moved into second on lap 89 when Deane, who had been running second, fell off the pace.
“The car went the best it has gone all season. We had a lot of problems with the setup at the beginning of the year. It seems better now,” said Smart, who pocketed $700. “These longer races are good for me because I don’t drive as hard as most of the other drivers do.”
Swoboda was running second on lap 89 when he found himself holding a steering wheel that had detached from the column, causing him to slide up the track into the banking.
“The steering wheel was wobbly and I didn’t know what the heck was going on,” said Swoboda. “Then I came out of turn two and I had it in my hands [off the column]. I said, ‘Oh no, I’m in trouble.’
“But I was able to put the steering wheel back on, [and] they told me my tires looked good, so away I went. I was lucky to finish third,” said Swoboda, who picked up $500.
Seekins’ triumph was his second of the evening as he also won the 25-lap Strictly Street feature, starting fourth but taking the lead with a pass on the inside groove on lap 18.
Clifton’s Jimmy Carr Jr. was second and rounding out the top five in the six-car field were Shawn Hamel of Bangor, Ren Dorr of Addison and Shawn Racila of Dover-Foxcroft.
“The car ran real nice,” said Seekins, who had won three previous races but had two of them nullified when he failed to pass the postrace technical inspection.
Carr finished second for the second straight week.
“My car wasn’t bad. I got caught behind the 30 car [Dorr],” said Carr.
In addition to Seekins, it was a memorable night for the Ogden brothers, Ken of Seal Cove and Dedham’s Keith.
Ken Ogden took the checkered flag in the Little Enduros, crossing the finish line five car-lengths ahead of Frankfort’s Kevin Seekins, Duane’s cousin.
And older brother Keith won his second consecutive Sport-Four feature by finishing 20 car-lengths ahead of Ellsworth’s Bradley Norris.
Appleton’s Jeremy Glasier captured the Super Street feature by 25 car-lengths over Holden’s Steve Moulton.
The Little Enduro race was special for Ken Ogden, who took the lead for good from pole-sitter Seekins on the faster outside groove on the first lap and held off the fast-approaching Seekins.
“This was my first win in four years,” said the 45-year-old Ogden. “The car was pretty consistent all night. I made a few air pressure adjustments before the feature and it seemed to help a little bit.”
“I think I could have had him if we had a few more laps, I don’t know,” said Seekins.
There were nine cars in the class and rounding out the top five were Donny Blanchard of Orrington, Whitney Bryant of Levant and Russell Blenkhorn of Ellsworth.
Keith Ogden took the lead from Norris on lap 11 of the 25-lap feature and pulled away.
Gary Richards of Exeter was third, Jason Trundy of Winterport was fourth and the fifth-place finisher was Jason Morse of Hermon.
There were six cars in the field.
“The car was good. It was a matter of who could get to the top groove first,” said the 49-year-old Ogden.
“Second is good any night. I was a little down on horsepower. Keith had a strong motor,” said Norris.
Glasier was apologetic after winning the Super Street race as he was involved in a multi-car wreck on the first lap that jumbled up the starting positions and sent two cars to the pits.
Pole-sitter Ryan St. Clair of Liberty was also tangled up in it and his car suffered some damage.
“I think it may have been my fault. I don’t know. But Ryan would be the last guy I would want to take out of the race,” said Glasier, whose car sustained damage to the right side. “I should have been more patient.”
Moulton finished second despite losing his power steering at the outset.
“I’ve got to go buy a power steering pump,” he said.
Hermon’s Doug Sinclair was third, St. Clair wound up fourth and Michael Overlock of Franklin was fifth. There were 10 cars in the race.