WISCASSET, Maine — Wiscasset Speedway promoter Ken Minott said the speedway is making “forward progress” in its first season after a two-year hiatus created by financial difficulties incurred by former owner Doug White.
Richard and Vanessa Jordan of Kingfield bought the track at auction for $130,000 last July 12, and the 2013 season got underway on April 6.
“That’s all we really wanted at this point,” said Minott. “We would have loved to have been able to wave a magic wand and have all the buildings built and all of the divisions full of cars. But that’s not possible. We’ve got to keep working hard and moving forward.”
He feels a lot of the drivers are taking a “wait-and-see attitude” toward the season.
“I’ve seen a lot of the old competitors show up to the track without a car to see how things are going. They’ll talk to some other drivers. Then they’ll come back with car a week or two later,” observed Minott.
He said they expect their attendance (now approximately 500 per night) and car counts to improve “as the weather gets better.”
They have eight classes and placed them into two, four-division brackets that race every other weekend.
One bracket contains the Pro Stocks, Super Stocks, Thunder Fours and New England four-cylinder Pro Stocks and the other contains the Late Models, Strictly Streets, Outlaw Minis and Mini-Trucks.
There is also a flex class, which varies from week to week, to give each Saturday night race card a total of five divisions.
Among the classes that fall into the flex category are a ladies division, enduros, the Northeast Pro Four tour and the NELCAR Legends cars.
“We will have the ladies racing Saturday,” said Minott.
There will be two ladies races: a 10-lapper for beginners and a 15-lapper for experienced racers.
Racing begins at 6 p.m.
But this will be the last year of alternating brackets, according to Minott.
He said this season will serve as an “audition period” to whittle down the number of divisions to six for next season.
But only five divisions will race on a given weekend. One will not race based on a rotating schedule.
“We still want to give drivers some flexibility so they can do something with their families when their division has the bye,” said Minott.
The divisions that have the highest car counts will be kept but the two with the lowest will be eliminated or limited to an occasional race, he said.
He said the Late Models have had the best car counts in the 14-15 range. There were only six or seven Pro Stocks, but Minott said “we’ve made a rule change to make it easier for Pro Stocks from other tracks to come and race.
“The Pro Stocks are starting to pick up,” he said.
The Super Stocks, Thunder Fours and New England Four-Cylinder Pro Stocks have attracted between 8-12 cars; the Strictly Streets and Outlaw Minis have been in the 7-10 range and the Mini Trucks have been averaging six.
“We’ve been a little disappointed with the Mini-Trucks,” said Minott.
“The Strictly Streets are a work in progress because we have some drivers who are stuck between the Super Stocks and the Strictly Streets … they are stuck between tuning up for the Super Stocks or tuning down for the Strictly Streets,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Jordans have been renovating the facility by rebuilding the concession stands and the VIP booth.
Minott also noted that a month ago, Harry C. Crookers and Sons, Inc. from Topsham did some paving on the track.
“They didn’t repave the whole track but there were some big cracks and bumps in the track and they smoothed them out. The track is smooth and fast now,” said Minott who said the paving project cost approximately $20,000.
“They [the Jordans] are making a big financial commitment to the track,” said Minott.
He said Richard Jordan has “impressed a lot of drivers” with his hands-on approach.
“He has a genuine enthusiasm and welcomes people to the track,” said Minott.
Minott said they are waiting to finish the renovations before they begin to aggressively seek sponsors.
The other five tracks across the state will also be in action this weekend.
Hermon’s Speedway 95 (5 p.m.), Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (6:30 p.m.) and Oxford Plains Speedway (7 p.m.) will race on Saturday night with Caribou’s Spud Speedway, and Unity Raceway listing 1 p.m. starting times on Sunday.