HERMON — Hermon’s Mike Hopkins said he “grew up watching John Phippen race.”
So he considered his win in the first John Phippen Memorial Late Model 100 at Speedway 95 Thursday night special.
The affable and popular Phippen collapsed in his trailer and died of a massive heart attack last September after running a 100-lap race at Speedway 95.
“It’s good to win one in his (honor),” said Hopkins who added that it was his first-ever victory in a 100-lap race.
“I’ve won 50-lappers and 75-lappers but never a 100-lapper. It feels good. I always wanted to win one and I finally did it,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins started on the pole and raced side-by-side with Stockton Springs’ Duane Seekins for the first 18 laps before he eventually broke free. Dean Smart of Bradley moved past Seekins into second.
Hopkins and Smart lined up side-by-side for a pair of restarts on laps 31 and 35 and Hopkins began pulling away on lap 39.
He led the rest of the way and his margin of victory was nearly half the length of the one-third mile track. Smart finished second and Seekins was third.
They were the only three cars that finished on the lead lap among the 13 starters.
“It was a tough battle. My car was really loose from the center (of the turn) off. I had to pedal it and pedal it and pedal it,” said Hopkins, who is leading the Late Model points at 95. “It eventually started coming around. It tightened up a little bit. It began rotating through the center very well. And those guys (Smart and Seekins) fell off.”
Hopkins’ win was his seventh of the season.
Smart said, “I was hoping to get a shot at him. I was hoping to get up beside him. I had a good car on the bottom for eight to 10 laps. I don’t know if we would have had anything for him. Lapped traffic held us up pretty good for a while.”
Smart said his car was “real good. For as hot as it was, I’m really happy with a second.”
Seekins said his car was “loose, loose, loose.”
Hermon’s Dale Swoboda and Winterport’s Shane Clark rounded out the top five.
In the Bomber class race, Andrew Crosby notched his second win by five car-lengths over Hermon’s Ryan Modery. Ken Ogden of Seal Cove was third, Glenburn’s D.C. Alexander was fourth and Hudson’s Emma Libby was fifth.
In the Street Stocks, Andrew McLaughlin of Harrington cruised to his seventh win. Cornville’s Shelby Kimball was second and rounding out the top five were Shawn Hamel II of Bangor, Frankfort’s Cody Brassbridge of Frankfort and Carl McAlpine of Burnham.
In the Sportsman class, Appleton’s Jeremy Glasier barely nosed out Prospect’s D.J. Moody in a thrilling finish. It was his third win. Hermon’s Kris Watson was third, Holden’s Steve Moulton was fourth and Franklin’s Mike Overlock was fifth.
Ellsworth’s Bradley Norris posted his fifth win the the Sport-Fours. He beat Eddington’s Jay Robichaud by eight car-lengths. Barry Elston of Carmel, racing in place of daughter Becky, was third with Milo’s Steve Heath fourth and Winterport’s Bradley Dolan fifth.
Track officials said Becky Elston became dehydrated before the race and was taken to Bangor’s Eastern Maine Medical Center.