Greg Veinote attended stock car races at Unity Raceway when he was a small child.
He eventually became a racer and was a track champion at Unity.
Now he wants to revive the track and turn it into a multi-use, year-round facility including a unique type of auto racing.
Newburgh native Veinote is leasing the track from owners Ralph and Nancy Nason with the option to buy it.
George Fernald Jr. had been leasing the track and dug it up in order to transform the one-third-mile asphalt surface into a dirt track. He was in the process of buying it, but health issues forced him to relinquish control of the track last May.
Veinote, who previously owned Spud Speedway in Caribou, is going to regrind the surface when it dries out and roll it to flatten it out.
He will then place two sizeable speed bumps in the track and have three classes of racing beginning on Father’s Day weekend, June 15-16.
There will be five racing dates.
Veinote also is going to rebuild the grandstand and the fence along Route 139.
The facility also will host tractor pulls, lawn mower and go-kart races and races involving snowmobiles on grass and on snow. Veinote also plans to have car shows, barbecues and other social activities. He would like to create a small racing museum in the facility.
He expects to spend $25,000-$30,000 to reopen it.
“I’m looking to bring Unity Raceway back into the community,” said Veinote. “I’m excited.”
The racing he is proposing will involve a class for four-cylinder cars, another for six-cylinder vehicles and the top class will be cars that will have Late Model chassis without the actual body. They will resemble dune buggies.
“There won’t be any fenders, a hood or a roof,” explained Nason, who said he likes Veinote’s ideas.
Nason, a three-time winner of the Oxford 250, said short-track racing is in decline because of the cost involved for the drivers and the fans and the fact there are so many other activities available now.
As a result, there are fewer cars and spectators.
Track owners also have to pay a steep insurance fee of at least a $1,000 per race night.
“You have to try something new because the same old (short-track racing) doesn’t work right now,” said Nason, who has owned the track since 1980.
Maine is down to four stock car tracks now after having six.
There was no racing at Unity Raceway last season and Spud Speedway had a brief resurgence last year after not having any racing in 2016 and 2017. But the Aroostook County track is up for sale for a reported $275,000.
Veinote said his top class will be cost effective in that drivers can purchase old Late Model chassis frames for $300 to $500.
All classes will race on regular street tires, saving them the expense of buying racing tires.
Nason thinks races being held on a track with speed bumps will be fun and the spectators will enjoy it.
He said there will always be drivers who go too fast when they hit the speed bumps and they will find themselves and their vehicles airborne.
Nason has known Veinote since he was a youngster and he trusts him.
“And he’s not going to throw his money away. He’s pretty frugal and you need that. That’s a good trait to have,” said Nason.
Veinote, who had to sell Spud Speedway after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but said he is in good health these days, has met with the Unity Economic Development Committee and said they have welcomed him. He is also trying to attract sponsors.
The track will be family-oriented according to Veinote and he is grateful to have the opportunity to lease it.
“I couldn’t stand the idea of it being turned into townhouses without trying to save it,” said Veinote, who would consider turning it into a high-banked one-fourth- or one-third-mile oval someday if short-track racing can return to a healthy proposition.