The Texas Roadhouse North East Mini Stock Tour made its one and only appearance in Maine at the Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday. Last year, driver Toby Wells brought home the win.
Wells was point leader coming into the race, however, there was only a 12-point difference between Wells and two-time champ Emerson Cayer. Maine native Justin Larsen was third in points coming into the race, trailing the leader by 138 points, but still in the chase.
Prior to race time, Wells said, “It is a pretty tight battle. It ain’t decided yet between the three of us.”
Also at Wiscasset this weekend was the group 1 division of racing presented by NAPA Auto Parts, including: NAPA Super Street, Outlaw Mini, Prostock, and New England Four Cylinder Prostock. The fans packed the bleachers to see the show.
There were three heat races to determine position for the North East Mini Stock Tour. Starting at the pole was the #21 of Chad Baxter. The #24 of Joe Baxter and the #13 of Nate Tribbet were behind him.
Off the start, Joe Baxter surged ahead, but he fell off the pace and the #19 of Zach Audet and the #9 of George Fortin marched up the track and took first and second place, with Chad Baxter slipping to third. During lap three, the #48 of Justin King passed Baxter for third on turn one.
There was a leader change during lap 6, when Fortin experienced a mechanical issue and hit the front-stretch wall coming out of turn 4. Fortin was able to walk away and was uninjured. King moved to second and Chad Baxter moved to third.
Moving up from his seventh starting position was the #18X of Tim Collins. Collins passed Baxter on the outside of turn three for third during lap five.
There was a caution during lap 6, and the #88 of Emerson Cayer made contact with the #51 of Mike Mason. Cayer, two-time champ, slid back and lost position. Cayer had nothing for the race leaders this race, finishing 19th in the overall standings.
Lap 8 saw Collins pass King on the inside of the backstretch for second. The #34 of Justin Trombley followed the same line and passed King for third.
A battle for third between Trombley and the #2 of Toby Wells emerged on the track. It was not until lap 18 that Wells was able to complete the pass on the outside of turn 3. Wells advanced up the track to challenge Collins.
When the race leaders hit some lap traffic, Wells was able to weave through and passed Collins for second during lap 23. Wells advanced up the track looking for the lead, but Audet held him off.
There was a battle for third between Collins and Trombley. Ahead, Wells and Audet were racing for the lead. Wells chased Audet up the track, and during lap 34, Wells passed Audet for first. Audet fell back to second.
Audet continued to slide back on the track, and Trombley passed him on the inside of turn 3 for second during lap 42. Collins followed the inside line and passed Audet on turn 4 during lap 42.
Wells took the checkered for the second year in a row. Trombley placed second, only 0.42 seconds behind Wells. Collins took third, only 0.81 seconds behind Wells.
Wells said, “It was quite a different experience from last year. Last year was easy and this year we really had to work for it, the nose was messed up a bit. During one of the restarts the car ahead didn’t get going and I was hit from behind when I slowed up.
“It came close to taking out the radiator when I hit the car ahead. It was a messy night, and staying out of trouble was the name of the game. We had a great points night, and there are two races left in the season.
“It is not locked up, but if things keep going well it will put me in a good position. I have already won two of the three Triple Crown races in the South, and I am in the running for the North Triple Crown as well.
“We love coming to Wiscasset. It’s been a good year and I hope we come back to Wiscasset again.”
Wiscasset Speedway will resume racing action Saturday, Aug. 30 with its group 2 lineup of divisions: Late Model Sportsman, Strictly Street, Thunder 4’s, and Mini Trucks. The flex race of the week features the Wicked Good Vintage Racers.
This is also Fan Appreciation Night at Wiscasset Speedway. There will be a car show in the parking lot from 4 to 6 p.m. At 5 p.m. there will be driver autographs on the track. There will be two children’s bicycle races at 5:30 p.m. on the track. The first bike race is for kids ages 5-7. The second bike race is for kids ages 8-12.
For more information, visit http://www.wiscassetspeedway.com.
Wiscasset Speedway official results, Aug. 23: