Speedway 95 opening on May 7, practice set Saturday

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted April 29, 2011, at 4:59 p.m.

Speedway 95 co-owner Del Merritt said the Hermon racetrack is in “pretty good shape” as opening night nears.

And drivers will get a chance to practice on the track  Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in preparation for opening night on May 7.

“We’ve done the general maintenance we do every spring,” said Merritt. “We’ve replaced some bleachers and planks and other little, minor stuff.”

He added they will apply the traction compound to the surface next week that has ensured a second racing groove.

Drivers used to complain that they couldn’t pass on the inside groove because it was considerably slower than the outside groove but Merritt began applying the traction compound a year ago and it helped significantly. It has created much more side-by-side racing.

“It has worked great. It has made for some great racing,” said Merritt.

Merritt has made several changes including the elimination of the Super Street division and the addition of the Sportsman division to take its place. He has relaxed the regulations for the Strictly Streets and Sport-Fours and has added a Saturday night Bomber class for entry-level drivers.

The Bomber division will be for V6 front-wheel-drive passenger cars, although they will need a roll cage. Other safety guidelines will be implemented.

“We needed something for beginners on Saturday night,” he explained. “And we want to create more interest.”

Entry-level drivers used to begin their careers during the Wacky Wednesday race cards that  begin in June.

The Late Model class is still the top class and it will have the first of its three-race series features a 50-lapper on May 7.

Merritt is optimistic about the season.

“I think it’s going to be a good season,” said Merritt. “I think the car counts are going to be up in all divisions from what I see and hear.”

The only class he hasn’t heard much about is the new Bomber class.

“There hasn’t been much response so far,” said Merritt, who is hoping to get a handful of cars on opening day and build on that total during the season.

He feels the fact the Pro All-Stars Series won’t be racing at Speedway 95 or nearby Unity Raceway this season could help his car counts because local drivers interested in the touring series would be forced to travel more.

That would add to the expense so he is hoping the drivers elect to save money by racing locally.

“That’s nothing but a plus for us,” he said.

Speedway 95 will race strictly on Saturdays this season instead of spending the first month of the season racing on Sunday afternoons before switching over to Saturday nights in June. But they will start their racing programs at 5 p.m. before making the change to 7 p.m. beginning June 11.

The track will have back-to-back Thursday night race cards July 14 and July 21, the week before the Sunday NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., and the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway, respectively.

Wacky Wednesday’s race cards will begin June 1.

Wiscasset Raceway for sale

There is a legitimate chance Wiscasset Raceway won’t have any racing this season for the first time since 1990.

Doug White, who bought the track for $500,000 in 2007, is selling it for the same price.

White wrote on the track’s website that it was a “difficult decision” and that it was time for someone “to take it to the next level.”

He said he has made “major renovations” to the track and the town of Wiscasset had approved permits for three concerts, a circus and 2011 Bikefest.

The track was built in 1968 and, after several owners, it was bought by Liberty’s Dave St. Clair in 1991. St. Clair and his family ran it until White bought it from them.

St. Clair, who bought Speedway 95 last year only to have Merritt have a change of heart and ask out of the deal, said he isn’t interested in buying Wiscasset Raceway.

Revolution Racing wins two

Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre, the competition director for the Revolution Racing team in the Drive for Diversity program, has watched two of his four drivers venture to Victory Lane the past two K and N Pro Series East races.

Darrell Wallace Jr. won the Blue Ox 100 Thursday night at Richmond International Raceway, his third win in 13 career races over the past two seasons.

Wallace, an African-American, was the series’ Rookie of the Year last season.

Sergio Pena, who is of Hispanic descent, won the South Boston 150 at South Boston Speedway (Va.) two weeks earlier.

Pena was ninth in the Richmond race and another member of the team, Michael Cherry, wound up seventh. Ryan Gifford, the fourth driver, was 31st.

Wallace leads the points standings after three races, 26 points ahead of Pena.

Revolution Racing has had at least two drivers finish in the top seven in all three races this season and they have had three finish in the top nine the past two races.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/04/29/sports/speedway-95-opening-on-may-7-practice-set-saturday/ printed on December 20, 2014