Clifton McCullough of Hudson has been charged with assault for punching flagman Jordan Harnish at Hermon’s Speedway 95 following racing at the track on Wednesday night, according to Chief Deputy Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department.
Morton said the police report indicated that Harnish black-flagged a teenage driver and sent the driver to the pits.
After the race, there was a conversation between the flagger, the driver and his crew and when that took place, McCullough overhead comments made by the flagger about the driver, William McCullough, and went over and assaulted the teenage flagger.
The 15-year-old flagger was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bangor where he was treated and released with minor injuries.
Morton said the sheriff’s department and state police worked on the case together and McCullough admitted to assaulting the flagger.
“[McCullough] said he wasn’t aware the flagger was a teenager,” said Morton.
McCullough has an October court date at the Penobscot Judicial Center, according to Morton.
Morton added that McCullough was “forthcoming” and doesn’t have a criminal record.
If convicted of the Class E assault, McCullough could spend up to a year in jail but his sentence can’t exceed a year.
Harnish said he was shocked by the attack.
“I was having a good conversation with the driver and his crew and [McCullough] came out of the dark and ran after me. He struck me in the face five times, twice he hit me in the shoulder and once he hit me in the back,” said Harnish. “I never had a chance to throw a punch.”
The fight was broken up by crew members and other fans.
Harnish had his glasses broken and has a swollen face that is “still sore.”
But he said he hopes to return to the flag stand soon.
Mike Harnish, Jordan’s father, said McCullough apologized to him.
Jordan Harnish said he doesn’t accept his apology and that McCullough is a family member of the driver who was black-flagged and sent to the pits along with Ryan Modery because, according to Jordan Harnish, “they wrecked each other and were playing games all night. I had enough of it.”
Mike Harnish complained that there should be more of a police presence in the pits to prevent situations like the assault on his son.
Liberty’s Dave St. Clair has just bought the track from Del Merritt and Alice Baker and when told of the incident, St. Clair that type of behavior will not be tolerated and perpetrators will be banned from the track.
The 62-year-old St. Clair, who owned Wiscasset Raceway from 1991-2007, said he will run the track with a firm hand.
“When I was at Wiscasset, we lost some good teams because they didn’t like my decisions. But that’s the way it is. You can’t let things go. And I’m not going to need a sheriff’s department to help me [run it],” said St. Clair who added that his decisions will be swift.
St. Clair began racing in 1965 and has been involved in the sport ever since.
St. Clair feels the track has potential and “based on some of the things that have gone on, I think my ideas might be better.
“Del is a fair man. He’s a good businessman and a good friend. I’ve known him a long time. But I told him he hasn’t learned a lot about racing, about the cars and the engines,” said St. Clair.
St. Clair likes the easy access to the track from the interstate and the fact “there are a lot of race fans and race cars around the area.”
He intends to have some races as soon as the deal is finalized later this fall.
He also said he is “excited” about the future of the track and getting back into running one.