Wacky Wednesday kicks off 15th season this week at Speedway 95

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted June 03, 2013, at 5:45 p.m.

HERMON, Maine — Wacky Wednesday, Speedway 95’s entry-level race card, will begin its 15th season at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

That will kick off a busy week at 95 as the monster trucks will have four shows over the weekend at the track: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The truck show will pre-empt the Saturday night race card.

Wacky Wednesday will include the same five classes as last year: Big Enduros, Little Enduros, Ladies, Trucks and the Stars of Tomorrow teenage class.

Last season’s points champions were Garett Hayman of Milford (Little Enduros), Bobby Seger Jr. of Frankfort (Big Enduros), Emma Libby of Glenburn (Ladies), James Carr Jr. of Clifton (Trucks) and Austin Clemons of Norridgewock (Stars of Tomorrow).

Wacky Wednesdays aren’t flourishing like past seasons.

The car counts have taken a significant dip and attendance also has dropped off.

That has prompted track owner Del Merritt to consider eliminating Wacky Wednesdays and adding the classes with the healthy car counts to Saturday night’s race card. That still remains an option, he said.

“We’ll wait and see what happens,” said Merritt on Monday. “I think our field of trucks will be fairly healthy and the teens will be real good. But the car counts have been down for the Big and Little Enduros and the Ladies haven’t done well, either.”

Merritt pointed out that instead of getting 80 to 100 Little Enduros, they’re down to 20 to 25.

The Big Enduros have been getting only four or five cars on race night.

Track scorer and office manager Kim Baker Allen and Merritt said there are reasons for the decline in the Big (six- and eight-cylinder cars) and Little Enduros (four-cylinders).

The rise in metal prices has made it profitable for drivers to sell their cars to junkyards rather than race them.

Allen said that is true in the Big Enduros.

“The steel prices went up and the economy was down so people got rid of their big cars,” said Allen.

But she feels it’s different in the Little Enduros, saying, “They’re holding onto their cars longer and using them as regular cars [rather than racing them]. And parents are passing them on to their kids rather than buying them a newer car.”

The Little Enduro cars get good gas mileage and, with the high price of gas, it makes good economic sense not to risk them at the track.

Allen said she has been getting a lot of phone calls pertaining to the starting date for Wacky Wednesday.

“People are looking forward to doing something in the middle of the week. There isn’t any midweek racing [until Wacky Wednesday],” said Allen. “It also represents the beginning of summer.”

There will be some changes.

Two rule changes will prohibit drivers from buffing their tires (to remove rubber) and locking the rear ends of their cars (by welding them) so the tires spin in unison.

Both tactics are seen as giving drivers an unfair advantage because the cars gain more traction and grip on the track.

“I also want to take some of the cost out of it. It costs $15 to buff a tire although the tire will probably last longer. And its costs money to lock up the rear end,” said Merritt.

Payouts for the Big and Little Enduros have increased in recent years.

Instead of earning $75 for a win, it now pays $100. The next four places pay $75, $50, $40 and $30; sixth through 10th pay $20; and 11-20 pay $15. It costs $15 to enter a race.

Monster trucks this weekend

The monster truck shows have been beneficial to the track over the years.

“They pay us to use the track and they come and set up the show. We get the money from the concessions,” said Merritt.

Merritt said the track makes money but wouldn’t reveal the amount.

“And they pay our employees by the hour [to work the show],” said Allen.

Merritt and Allen said the track also receives beneficial exposure from the shows, which are very well-attended.

Silva, Batchelder suspended

Hudson’s Donny Silva and Dixmont’s Lewis Batchelder will miss the next two Saturday night races in the Sport-4 class at Speedway 95 after a physical altercation on the front stretch after the two were involved in a wreck.

“I blame a lot of it on the heat,” said Allen, referring to the sultry temperatures on Saturday night.

Greenlaw posts win

Eastport’s Drew Greenlaw captured the Bandolero division feature at Speedway 660 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on Sunday. He also won his heat race.

Bandoleros are miniature stock cars, one-third size of a normal Late Model car.

The 15-year-old had won his first race at Petty International Raceway in River Glade, New Brunswick, last month.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/03/sports/wacky-wednesday-kicks-off-15th-season-this-week-at-speedway-95/ printed on December 28, 2014