HERMON, Maine — Bangor’s Donny Blanchard said Monday he was “very excited” after learning that his engine was ruled to be legal thus verifying his first-ever win the Late Model class at Hermon’s Speedway 95 Saturday night.
Blanchard has a Crate engine in his Chevy Impala and Crate engines are required to be sealed by Butler and MacMaster Automotive in Hallowell in order to receive a 100-pound weight break.
A car with a Crate engine can be 100 pounds lighter than a car without one.
However, If a seal is broken, it means work has been done to the engine and that work could potentially cause the engine to fail post-race inspection.
Blanchard’s engine was sent to Butler and MacMaster Monday morning for testing and Speedway 95 owner Del Merritt said the engine passed the inspection.
“We were sure it was legal to begin with but we wanted to kill all doubts,” explained Merritt. “It wasn’t tampered with [to gain an advantage]. All they did was was repair it.”
“We had a valve problem at the beginning of the year,” explained Blanchard.
The engine was tested on a dynamometer which reveals the engine’s horsepower and torque specifications.
Blanchard said he was pleased that “everybody knows we didn’t cheat.”
Blanchard is in just his second season in the Late Model division after spending three seasons running in the Little Enduro class at Wacky Wednesday.
“We’ve been trying to win for a long time,” said the 37-year-old Blanchard. “I couldn’t be any happier. It was a great race.”
Duane Seekins of Stockton Springs was second with Winterport’s Ryan Deane, Ellsworth’s Andy Saunders and Orrington’s John Kalel II rounding out the top five.
Blanchard had led the first 33 laps of the 35-lap race and then, following a caution that bunched up the field, prevailed in a two-lap sprint.
Blanchard has previously posted four top-five finishes this season: two fifths and two thirds.
“We’d been running well the last several weeks,” he said.
He is in just his fifth season of racing and was third in points in the Little Enduro class in 2008 and second in 2009 before winning the points title in 2010.
He talked to a friend, Larry Merrill, about moving up in class.
“I wanted more of a challenge to see what I could do. I love racing,” said Blanchard, who contemplated moving from Wacky Wednesday to a Saturday night class.
But he decided to go right to the top class on Saturday night, the Late Models.
He said he has been fortunate to have the support of his father, Moe; his fiancee Heidi Christianson and their children and close friends Scott Webber and Merrill.
He is also glad Merritt and his staff added two more race dates: Sept 29 and Oct. 6.
“It’s a great thing. Most of us would like to race as long as we can,” said Blanchard.
Moffitt funding problems rectified
Brett Moffitt, who drives for Hattori Racing and their competition director, Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre, will be able to finish the K and N Pro Series East schedule after funding issues were rectified.
Moffitt is currently the series’ point leader, holding a 20-point edge over rookie Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott and Corey LaJoie are 22 and 25 points behind Moffitt, respectively.
There are four races remaining, including Saturday’s G-Oil 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Moffitt is the defending champ and has finished in the top three in his last five trips to Loudon.
“Brett was only under contract with [Hattori Racing] for eight races,” said Santerre. “We were hoping his father could come up with more money but it never happened.
“So Hattori Racing funded him to keep him going and then he talked to Michael Waltrip Racing and they funded these next two races for him,” said Santerre who pointed out that Moffitt is a developmental driver for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Following this weekend, the next race will be the Dover 150 at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 28.
Hattori Racing will then fund the final two races on the schedule: Oct. 27 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (S.C.) and Nov. 3 at Rockingham Speedway (N.C.).
Santerre said he feels Moffitt is in “real good position” to win the points championship “as long as he doesn’t have mechanical issues.
“He always runs in the top five,” said Santerre.
Sergio Pena, the other Hattori Racing driver, is currently in ninth place in the points.
Santerre charity ride Feb. 9
The ninth annual charity Santerre Sno-Run has been scheduled for Feb. 9 and it will start in Caribou, according to Santerre.
The event has raised more than $250,000 for the Aroostook Mental Health Centers’ Sexual Assault Team.
The snowmobile ride will be followed by a dinner at the Crow’s Nest restaurant in Presque Isle.
They had 125 riders and 400 attend the banquet a year ago and they raised more than $50,000 for the charity, he said.
Santerre has been honored by the state legislature for his charity work.
Speedway 95 times announced
The race dates that have been added to the Speedway 95 schedule — Saturday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 6 — will have an earlier starting time.
Both race cards will begin at 3 p.m.
The final points racing will take place this Saturday night at the regular time of 7