Hermon’s Doug Sinclair had never won a points championship until last season when he captured the Super Street division at Hermon’s Speedway 95.
He was 65 years old.
“I never gave (winning a championship) a thought,” said Sinclair.”But I got in front and thought I’d better go for it.”
“It was fun. We had a good year,” he added.
Sinclair will be back to defend his title on Saturday night when Speedway 95 opens for the season beginning at 5 p.m.
Speedway 95 is the first track to open for regular season racing but two others will open next weekend.
Unity Raceway and Oxford Plains Speedway will both open on Sunday, May 15, beginning at 1.
Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway will open on Saturday, May 28 at 6:30 and Caribou’s Spud Speedway will begin a day later on May 29 at 1.
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosted the Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model North opener last weekend.
A year ago, Sinclair won in convincing fashion.
His 157-point margin over runner-up Michael Overlock was the largest among the four Saturday night divisions.
Keith Ogden won the Sport Four class by 110 points over Gary Richards while the Late Model and Strictly Street points chases went down to the wire.
Duane Seekins won the Late Model class by 12 points over Brenton Parritt and Jim Carr edged Shawn Hamel II by just two points in the Strictly Street class.
The Super Street class has actually been retired by track co-owners Del Merritt and Alice Baker and replaced by a more liberal Sportsman class.
Sinclair drove a Chevy Impala a year ago but will be in a new ride this season.
“It’s a 2011 Mustang,” said Sinclair. “it’s pretty awesome looking.”
Sinclair credited last year’s success to being “a little more patient” than he had been in the past and said that will be the key again this season.
“You have to be patient,” said Sinclair who explained that you have to maintain your composure and avoid forcing the issue if it puts you in harm’s way.
“I was a little bit smoother last year. You don’t want to go down the back stretch sideways,” said Sinclair who noted that piling up second- and third-place finishes contribute to a points championship along with wins.
“I think I won four or five races last year,” he said.
Sinclair, who was raised in Winslow and Fairfield, said he began racing in the “last 1960s and early 1970s)” but left racing to manage Speedway 95.
After managing the track for two years, he got out of racing but got back into it five years ago.
“I had a mechanic working for me and he bought a pick-up truck and started racing,” said Sinclair. “I went out to watch him and decided I wanted to get back into it.”
He ran in the pick-up truck series at Wacky Wednesday for two years before returning to auto racing three years ago.
The former salesman who has owned an oil company, a store, street sweepers and Sinclair Towing in Hermon, said the best part of racing is the camaraderie among the people involved in the industry.
“Believe it or not, I even like Del Merritt,” he quipped.
Sinclair owns two cars with the other one being driven by Deane Smart for the second straight year.
“They were built by Jeff Burgess,” he explained.
Smart finished fourth in the Late Model class a year ago and will again race in the Late Model class.
Smart will also be driving a new car this year according to Sinclair, a Chevy Impala.
Sinclair hasn’t had a chance to test his new car yet but he isn’t overly concerned about it being ready for Saturday’s opener.
“I don’t need a whole lot of practice,” he said. “Jeff sets the cars up well. I’ll just have to tweak it a little bit.”
Sinclair’s grandson, Nick Huff, will apply the decals to his car.
He considers Jeremy Glasier, who finished third in points a year ago, and Steve Moulton to be among his primary challengers.
He is excited about the season and the prospects for a productive season at Speedway 95.
“It looks like it’s going to be a good year,” said Sinclair. “At practice last weekend, there were more cars than I’ve seen in a long time.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he added.