UNITY, Maine — The Jere Humphrey era is about to begin.
Humphrey has leased Unity Raceway from Ralph and Nancy Nason and the season will kick off on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Humphrey has a two-year lease and he will pay the Nasons $35,000 per year to lease the track.
George Fernald Jr. had leased it the previous five years but lost more than $30,000 and curtailed the season prematurely in August last season because of financial reasons.
Humphrey has already earned high marks from Nason for the work he has done on sprucing up the raceway including, some landscaping and painting.
“The place looks like a million bucks,” said Nason. “He has been digging, cutting grass and painting. And the website looks nice. It’s coming along pretty good. He also has a lot of sponsors lined up. He is a worker. I hope we get good weather so a lot of people will come out and reward him for his hard work.”
“It’s a major rebuilding year at Unity. We want to earn everyone’s respect again,” said Humphrey, who owns Last Chance Racing Supplies and Race Fuel in Washburn and Last Chance Motorsports.
The ticket booth, tech garage and concession stand are among the facilities that have a fresh coat of paint and Humphrey has bought a new public address system for the pit area. They have raked all the roads and cleaned up the pits and added seats to the bleachers.
There is a new fuel tank in the pits.
Humphrey estimated he has spent $10,000 on the improvements.
He has hired a lot of new personnel to handle different responsibilities at the track, including new technical inspectors to ensure that drivers don’t cheat.
“We want to be fair and consistent. We want everything to be equal. We want everyone to have a fighting chance to win,” explained Humphrey.
Nason said he likes the fact Humphrey is making personnel changes because it is important for him to stamp his own identity on the track.
He said 52 drivers have registered for their five classes already and they had “20 to 25 show up for practice last weekend. We also had people renting the track during the week.”
Unity will have five classes: Flyin’ Fours, Monsta Minis, Strictly Streets, Late Model Sportsman and Enduros. The highlight on Sunday’s race card will be a 67-lap Late Model Sportsman feature that will pay the winner $850. The winner would usually earn $700.
The other four classes will have 30-lap features.
Unity will race on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. for the first three weeks before switching over to Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Humphrey is looking to develop a healthy relationship with the drivers so $5 from every tire sold at the track will go to a points fund for the racers in each division.
Drivers will receive money based on where they wind up in the points at the end of the season.
Nason said he feels Humphrey is “going in the right direction” with his innovations.
Humphrey is planning a Last Chance Re-Opening Celebration weekend on June 7-9 with racing on all three days including a 65-lap Brave Bombers/Enduros feature on Friday beginning at 7 p.m., the Saturday debut (5 p.m.) of the Outlaw-Sportsman class that will run five times during the summer and, on Sunday afternoon, there will be a 71-lap Late Model Sportsman feature, a 48-lap Outlaw Sportsman race and a 42-lap Monsta Mini feature.