November 7, 2012

AUTO RACING NOTEBOOK: Unity seeks manager

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

BY BILL STEWART

Staff Writer

Unity Raceway owner Ralph Nason says he hopes to have a new track manager in place by the end of the month.

"I'm talking to two different people," he said. "We're going over details and different things now. It's pretty serious. I would say on a scale of one to 10, the interest is at least a five and a half or a six. I'd like to have this finalized this month. The sooner, the better."

Nason closed the track earlier this season because of financial difficulties. George Fernald, Jr., who was leasing the track from Nason, previously said he was losing thousands of dollars and wouldn't return the following season.

Nason re-opened Unity Raceway for the annual Long John on Oct. 28, and he said it was a strong showing.

"It was a good weekend," Nason said. "We made some money. The track looked good, too."

Nason ran the Long John with some assistance from Speedway 95 owner Del Merritt.

Merritt provided tires for drivers throughout the weekend, and Nason said he is eyeing other ways for the tracks to partner up.

"Maybe one of us will run on Friday and the other Saturday," Nason said. "Who knows? We're only separated by 35 miles. Maybe we could do some combo races and we could build some interest. We'll see."

• • •

Cassius Clark wrapped up his first full season with Hight Motorsports with a second-place finish in Pro All Stars Series North.

Clark, of Farmington, led the points race for much of the season before Travis Benjamin caught him at the end.

Clark still won a series-best three races.

"It was a good season," said Clark, who was 19 points behind Benjamin. "We accomplished a lot. We just came up a bit short. We had some (did not finishes) that kind of hurt us.

Clark had 12 top-10 finishes in 15 starts. He was in position to win his first points title at the regular season finale at Oxford Plains Speedway on Oct. 20. However, he finished 16th.

"I don't know what happened there," Clark said. "We thought we had a chance there. It was still a good season, and we're looking forward to next year already."

• • •

It was just about a forgettable year for Johnny Clark, who had his string of four consecutive PASS North championships snapped this season.

The Farmingdale driver finished fourth in points. He won two of the first four races but then struggled the rest of the season.

"We were always playing catch-up," he said. "We were always behind, speed-wise and everything. We've had some good luck over the years but we certainly didn't have any this year. Nothing fell into place for us. We won two out of the first four races but never won again. I never thought (the streak) would end like that."

Clark added the setback already has him thinking ahead to next season.

"I'm glad the streak is done and over with," he said. "We're going to start working on next year. I'm more excited to start next season than I was to start this season. In a sense, you can take what we did for granted. We won four in a row and you just keep doing what you're doing. We got caught off guard.

"Now that it's been taken from us, all we are thinking about it getting ready for next season."

• • •

New Wiscasset Speedway co-owner Richard Jordan said he and his wife, Vanessa, are preparing for a full racing schedule next summer.

The Jordans, who purchased the track -- which had been closed since 2010 -- at auction for $130,000.

The Jordans put on a "Fall Fury" race Oct. 20.

Richard Jordan said the event attracted about 180 cars and 2,500 spectators.

"Well, we know people are still interested." he said. "We saw the enthusiasm. It gives us some stability moving into next season. We still have a lot of work to do."

For starters, the Jordans are still determining which classes will race at the track, and on what nights.

There is also more cleanup work needed to satisfy Department of Environmental Protection regulations.

"We've held a drivers' meeting and we're going to hold another," Jordan said. "We're going into this with our eyes wide open. Our main goal is to provide some good, affordable entertainment. We have our work cut out for us."

Bill Stewart -- 621-5640

bstewart@centralmaine.com

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