HERMON, Maine — Although Speedway 95’s entry-level racing program known as Wacky Wednesday didn’t have the car counts track owner Del Merritt had hoped for, he said he believes in the Wednesday night show and that it will be back next season.
The program concluded last Wednesday night at the Hermon track.
This Wednesday night will feature a demolition derby and a stunt show by ThrillMaster Jim “Crash” Moreau.
“None of the Wednesday night classes were big, to be honest,” said Merritt, referring to the car counts. “But I’m committed to keeping Wacky Wednesday next year.
“We’ve just got to improve our show. We’ve got to get more people interested in it,” added Merritt. “That’s what we’re going to work on over the winter. Hopefully, next year, we’ll get more cars.”
He said two of the things being considered are making rule changes or rotating one of the Saturday night classes into the Wacky Wednesday program.
This past season, Merritt’s truck class had “five to seven” racing and he would like to elevate that to 10-12 next season.
“There were three or four with blown motors that weren’t rebuilt,” explained Merritt. “Hopefully, they’ll rebuild the motors. I heard there are some trucks being built and that’s a good sign.”
Merritt said the “heart and soul” of Wacky Wednesday has been the Little Enduro class composed of four-cylinder cars.
He used to have 80 in the class and he would run two features with 40 cars in each.
“Now we’re lucky to have 20,” said Merritt.
He said the “price of junk has gone up so much that you can get $300 to $400 from a junkyard for one of those cars.”
So people are getting them crushed and pocketing the money rather than racing them.
“When we had 80 Small Enduros, if you saw one of those cars sitting on a lawn and went over to the owner and told him you wanted to race it, he’d either give it to you or it would cost you $50 to $100,” said Merritt. “Now they have those cars crushed.”
He added that if they don’t sell the car to the junkyard, they’ll ask for $500-$600 for it and “then you also have to spend $1,000 to put a roll cage in it. That makes it real expensive.”
Merritt speculated that the Saturday night Bomber class, which involves similar cars, “might have hurt [the Little Enduro class]. The Bomber class has been growing.”
He raised the payouts to the Little Enduros this season as the winner took home $100 instead of $75. And the second- and third-place cars earned $75 and $50, respectively. Fourth place paid $30 and fifth took home $20.
“And we extended the payouts from the top five finishers back to 20,” said Speedway 95 office manager and head scorer Kim Baker Allen.
“I think it helped some,” said Merritt.
“I think it will get back to where it was as time progresses,” predicted Baker Allen. “There’s a lot of interest in it.”
The Big Enduro class for six- and eight-cylinder cars has been attracting just four to five cars but Merritt said that class hasn’t been well-stocked for several years.
He called the Ladies Division’s average turnout of six to eight cars per night “disappointing” but said the Racing Stars of Tomorrow teenage class grew to be “real healthy.
“We had 11 cars at the end and I think that was the biggest turnout of the year,” Merritt said.
He reduced the admission price to the grandstands from $6 to $5 and it was free for youngsters 10 and under.
“The show usually lasts just two hours and families can bring their kids [10-under] because the kids get in free,” said Merritt.
Children of all ages have been getting involved in the track’s Kids Club program, which brings families to 95 and, through that exposure, could launch some racing careers, said Baker Allen.
Children get to do crafts and race bicycles and box cars as well as meet the drivers.
They also receive gift bags.
Cecile Seekins of Stockton Springs used to run the program on Saturday nights but now it has been extended to Wednesdays as well. Mary Thomas is running it both nights.
Wacky Wednesday has concluded its season and crowned its points champions.
Garett Hayman of Milford captured the Little Enduros with 1,066 points. Hermon’s Andrew Crosby (902) and Bangor’s Scott Bonney (849) rounded out the top three. The Big Enduro winner was Bobby Seger Jr. of Frankfort (1,082), followed by Clifton’s Alvin MacNevin (1,046) and Hudson’s Shawn MacNevin (1,000).
Glenburn’s Emma Libby (1,199) won the Ladies Division, followed by Hermon’s Rhonda Wilbur (1,028) and Clifton’s Nicole Smith (1017). Norridgewock’s Austin Clemons (968) was the Racing Stars of Tomorrow champ with 968 points to outdistance Old Town’s Dylan Street (876) and Detroit’s Ricky Pease (848).
James Carr Jr. of Clifton won the Trucks with 1,164 points. Bangor’s Roger Smith was second with 1,126 and Bucksport’s Dana Harlow was third with 1,123 points.
Theriault finishes fifth
Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault, who was recently named the winner of the Maine Young Guns competition to earn him a ride in a K and N Pro Series East car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 22, took home a fifth-place finish in the American-Canadian Tour’s Labor Day Classic 200 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl on Sunday.
He started 29th.
He remained third in the ACT points chase.
Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., won the Late Model race.
Theriault is the only ACT driver to finish in the top 10 in all nine series races so far this season.