HERMON, Maine — Eleven cars started the 50-lap Sportsman feature at Speedway 95 Saturday night.
It was the first of a three-race series in the Sportsman class.
But one car after another fell by the wayside until, nine caution flags later, Norridgewock’s Nate Weston took the checkered flag by 12 car-lengths over Prospect’s D.J. Moody.
Weston and Hermon’s Shane Tatro had battled for the lead for 30 laps until Tatro’s car spun on the front stretch on lap 31 and fluid began leaking from it.
The engine trouble parked Tatro for the evening after he had led the majority of the race.
That brought out the sixth caution.
Weston survived three more cautions with solid restarts and was never seriously challenged.
“I’ve raced here quite a few times but this is the most cautions I’ve ever seen,” said the 49-year-old Weston. “It was just the luck of the draw. People either break down or put fluid on the track. You never know how it’s going to go.
“The car got better as the sun went down. It was a little loose before that. The track tightened up. That helped me out a lot,” said Weston.
Weston said his car was “awesome” and credited Jeff Burgess for hooking the car up for him.
“I can’t thank him enough,” said Weston, who didn’t have to make a pit stop like nine other drivers did during the course of the race.
Fourth-place finisher Kris Matchett from Skowhegan was the only other driver who didn’t have to take his car to the pits for repairs.
Mike Overlock from Franklin was third and Holden’s Steve Moulton wound up fifth even though he finished the race without a hood.
“I had to go in [to the pits] a couple times because the car was so loose at first,” said Moody. “It would push right in the center of the corner. But my guys were awesome. They kept cranking. They kept going and going and they kept my head under me.”
He was pleased with his second-place finish.
Overlock was equally satisfied with his finish.
“For what I’m running compared to what they’re running, I’m pretty happy with it. My car is around 20 years old,” said Overlock whose right-rear tire blew, forcing him to the pits to have it changed.
In the 35-lap Late Model feature, Steuben’s Brenton Parritt broke a two-year drought with his 11-car-length victory over Ryan Deane of Winterport.
“The car was real good tonight,” said the 36-year-old Parritt. “I’ve got to thank my brother, Wayne. He has been helping me with it. It was dialed in tonight.
“It’s been a drought for me so it feels real good to pick up this win,” said Parritt.
Deane said “we had a good car early on but when that caution [near the end of the race] came out, I think we ran over something. Maybe we had a slow leak in a tire. There was a lot of debris on the track. The car pushed after that. It was really loose.”
He said in lieu of the circumstances, “I’ll take second any time.”
Carmel’s Phil Richardson was third and rounding out the top five were Hermon’s Mike Hopkins and Milford’s Deane Smart.
Hopkins had won the first two races so he had to start at the back of the starting grid as mandated by Speedway 95 rules.
Richardson said his car was “good for the first 25 laps but then we started losing grip everywhere. It’s a new car and we’re working the bugs out of it. I was pretty happy.”
In the Sport-Fours, Milo’s Steve Heath passed pole-sitter Keith Ogden of Dedham on lap 10 as Ogden got stuck behind the slower car of Orrington’s Junior Goodman and Heath went on to hold off Ogden by one and a half car-lengths.
Ogden finished second and rounding out the top five were Glenburn’s Bradley Dolan, Carmel’s Ted Ryder and Hermon’s Andrew Crosby.
In the Strictly Streets, the third time was a charm for Cornville’s Shelby Kimball, who won by a comfortable 15 car-lengths over Ryan Beale of Cherryfield after two engines blew in the first two races of the season.
She and Bryan Robbins of Montville swapped paint and had a spirited battle for 17 laps until Robbins developed car trouble.
Kimball had taken the lead for good on lap 13 of the 25-lap race.
Completing the top five were Andrew McLaughlin of Harrington, Duane Dunifer of Carmel and Matt Kimball, Shelby’s younger brother.
In the Bombers, Milford’s Garrett Hayman led from start to finish with Carmel’s Jeremy Scott closing to within eight car-lengths at the end.
Newburgh’s Darren Durrell was third, Corinth’s Mark Sawyer was fourth and Andrew Crosby of Hermon finished fifth as he had in the Sport-Fours.
Crosby won the first two Bomber races so he had to start in the back of the field.