December 10, 2012

AUTO RACING NOTEBOOK: Unity still up for lease

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Unity Raceway owner Ralph Nason said he is hopeful someone will step forward, perhaps as early as next week, and agree to lease the track for next season.

"I've had a meeting with a business guy," Nason said, "and we discussed the whole deal. I think he's thinking about it. I have my fingers crossed."

Nason closed Unity Raceway in August because of financial difficulties. He re-opened the track for the annual Long John on Oct. 28 and hoped the race would prompt someone to lease the track.

George Fernald, Jr. previously leased the track on an annual basis but resigned this summer after he said he was losing thousands of dollars.

Nason said Thursday the track is still in good shape.

"You can race on it now," he said.

* * *

Reid Lanpher is ready to step out of the race car and onto a snowmobile -- at least for a few months.

The 14-year-old Manchester native, who in October joined JR Motorsports for the 2013 season, will race for Team Artic Cat in the United States Cross-Country Snowmobile Racing Association East circuit this winter.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Lanpher, a freshman at Maranacook Community High School. "I guess I'll be one of their main drivers. We'll get to go all over. It should be fun."

Lanpher will race a 2013 Arctic Cat Sno Pro provided by Arctic Cat.

Next spring, he will drive a Late Model for JR Motorsports. It's the first time in four years that JR Motorsports expanded its Late Model driver roster.

Lanpher will fly back and forth from Manchester to Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., and spend the bulk of the summer down south. He will compete in 18 races -- each 150 laps -- in 14 weeks.

In addition to the JR Motorsports ride, Lanpher also has offers to race on the American-Canadian Tour and the Pro All Stars Series next season.

But for now, his focus is on the snowmobile and the Maranacook freshmen and junior varsity basketball teams.

The USCC East features races across Maine, beginning Jan. 26 at Parlin Pond. There also stops in Madawaska, Greenville and Portland.

"I'm just trying to stay in shape," he said. "I'm playing basketball and I'm ready to start snowmobiling again."

* * *

Wiscasset Speedway co-owner Richard Jordan said he and his wife, Vanessa, are working on a schedule for next season.

The Kingfield couple plan to race on Saturday nights next season.

"It's looking like we'll have four classes," Richard Jordan said. "We'll probably have two divisions of four cylinders and two divisions of eight cylinders. We're at the stage of tweaking everything."

The Jordans bought the track at auction for $130,000 on July 12. They renamed it Wiscasset Speedway -- the track's original name when it opened in 1969.

"Right now we're just working on the rules and seeing how they fit," Jordan said. "We've had some informal drivers' meetings to just get some information on their desires. It's still a work in progress."

The Jordans next plan to attend the three-day Northeast Motorsports Expo and Trade Show at the Augusta Civic Center, beginning Jan. 11.

Bill Stewart -- 621-5640

bstewart@centralmaine.com

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