UNITY, Maine — Unity native Brian Whitney had no plans to race in the Last Chance Late Model 150 at Unity Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
He had scheduled a weeklong antelope hunting trip in Wyoming for the week leading up to the race and he hadn’t raced all season.
He has a new Late Model car but hasn’t put it together yet.
But when he received a Facebook message three weeks ago from Corinna’s Paul White asking him to call him, Whitney did.
White wanted Whitney to race his car in the Last Chance 150.
Whitney took him up on his offer and, despite his limited knowledge of the car and the fact he didn’t return home until 4:30 a.m. Saturday, he wound up winning the race and pocketing $2,315.
“I wasn’t interested in driving the car and Brian knew how to get around the track. He has won several big races there,” said White. “I knew if he stayed out of trouble, he’d have a good finish at the end of the day.”
Whitney, his crew members and White had worked on the car over the three weeks leading up to the race. White’s crew members also chipped in on race weekend.
When they prepared the car, it was modeled after Whitney’s former car.
“We copied my old car,” said Whitney, referring to the Late Model car he drove at Unity a year ago, which produced five wins in eight races and a second-place finish in the points despite the fact he missed three races. He also won three Late Model races in 2011.
He sold the car last year.
Whitney, who lives in Burnham, said it didn’t take him long to discover that the car was a viable contender.
“Even going half-speed on that first practice lap, I knew it was going to be good,” said Whitney, who had taken an hour-and-a-half nap after returning from Wyoming before showering and getting to the track for practice.
He eventually turned in laps of 15.8 and 15.9 seconds around the third-of-a-mile track.
“And that was on old tires,” said Whitney. “I wasn’t up on the wheel [driving it as hard as he could] or anything.”
Whitney qualified ninth but wound up leading the most laps, 58, en route to his triumph.
“We didn’t dominate by any stretch of the imagination,” said Whitney, who took a page out of three-time TD Bank Oxford 250 champion Ralph Nason’s book by saving his car and its tires until the final 50 laps.
“I followed the rule of thumb,” said Whitney, who was a member of Nason’s crew when he won the TD Bank 250 in consecutive years (1998, 1999, 2000).
Whitney has put his racing career on the back burner because he and wife Hillary have been busy raising 6-year-old Dillon and 2-year-old Anna. Dillon has been racing go-karts in Richmond on the weekends.
“They had taken a backseat [to my racing] but now it’s time for them to be in the front seat,” said Whitney, who works for Trafton’s Plumbing and Heating in Pittsfield.
Racing is an expensive sport and that’s another reason he has reduced his seat time, Whitney said.
But he does intend to run the extended-lap Long John Late Model race on Oct. 13 and he is contemplating the Frost Bite 85-lap Late Model race on Nov. 2.
Doiron has memorable weekend
Berwick’s Joey Doiron had a memorable Saturday night at White Mountain Motorsports Park in New Hampshire.
The 21-year-old Doiron won two 150-lap races in the Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model division.
One was a makeup race.
Doiron is leading the points chase.
Defending points series champ Travis Benjamin of Morrill finished 10th and 12th, respectively.
Doiron, David Oliver of Standish and D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, N.H., were the only three drivers to post top-five finishes in both races.
Shaw finished second and fifth and Oliver wound up fourth in both races.
Stearns gets ACT win
Auburn’s Travis Stearns notched his first American Canadian Tour victory on Sunday when he took the checkered flag in the 35th annual Vermont Foodbank Labor Day Classic 200 Late Model race at Thunder Road SpeedBowl.
He held off eight-time ACT points champion Brian Hoar.
Touch-A-Truck slated Saturday
The third annual Touch-A-Truck Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hermon’s Speedway 95. Proceeds will be donated to Camp Capella, which supplies recreational resources for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
Camp Capella is located on Phillips Lake in Dedham.
A range of trucks and vehicles will be on hand, including an excavator, loader, small roller and quarry truck and forestry vehicles including a tree processor, a 40-foot bucket truck, a forest fire water truck and a Maine Forest Rangers Humvee.
The list also includes big rigs, race trucks, monster trucks, an antique truck, race cars and a host of firetrucks, police trucks, rescue vehicles, safety vehicles along with a mobile crime scene unit, a Maine State Police crime scene truck and a Maine warden’s truck.
Warden Alan Curtis, a member of the reality TV show “North Woods Law,” will be on hand.
There will be snacks and a bounce house.
Tickets will be $5 for individuals, $20 for families.