WISCASSET — Kevin Douglass picked up what he considered his first true Pro Stock win at Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday, and he best described both his night and his season in a single short sentence.
“It’s been a good year so far, but a bad year at the same time,” Douglass said after the victory early in the night, a makeup feature from a June 29 rainout prior to the start of the track’s regularly scheduled racing card.
The Sidney driver had no idea just how prophetic those words would turn out to be.
After cruising to a nearly seven-second margin of victory in the first of the night’s two 40-lap Pro Stock features, Douglass never saw the finish of the nightcap. He was caught up in a wreck just 11 laps into the second 40-lap event to end his night.
That race win went to Jamie Wright of Woolwich, who used a bump-and-run off turn four with two laps remaining to wrestle the lead from Newcastle’s Chuck Colby and win for the second time in the last three races.
“I tried to hold back a little bit until the very end,” Wright said. “I knew if I used up everything, towards the end I’d be sideways and not going anywhere.”
The early exit from race No. 2 cost Douglass a golden opportunity to take a big chunk out of his deficit to current point leader and reigning track champion Nick Hinkley, who himself ran into trouble in the opener and could only start and park in a borrowed car in the second. Douglass trails Hinkley now by 28 points, unofficially.
The biggest benefactor of the night was Newburgh’s Chris Ryan, who finished third in both features and sits just 10 points back of Hinkley for the point lead.
Though Douglass has “won” three times now in Wiscasset’s top division, the track’s 2008 Mini Stock champion considered Saturday’s victory his first. Last season, he was stripped of his only win when he failed post-race technical inspection. On June 1 of this season, Douglass inherited his first career Pro Stock victory when race winner Jeremie Whorff himself failed post-race tech.
Though he’s proven to be among the division’s fastest all season after finishing runner-up in the championship standings in 2018, Douglass was happy to see it all come together on Saturday with an on-track win.
“It’s good to finally get it on my own and earn it,” Douglass said.
The race was a wild one early on, and Douglass took advantage.
Two false starts on the initial green flag penalized the front row, with the pole-sitter Colby opting to retire from the event on the first lap. Joey Peaslee of Jefferson crashed hard into the turn one wall on lap 2, bringing out a nine-minute red flag. Hinkley pulled off the track at the halfway mark, and Wright spun on the backstretch on lap 8 and exited the race with a flat tire only a couple of laps later.
Douglass, meanwhile, squeezed under Shane Lane for third on lap 5, breezed past Hinkley on the backstretch for the runner-up spot on lap 6, and one lap later drove around the outside of Kevin Morse for the lead he’d never relinquish.
“I had to do some work early,” said Douglass, who has two wins this season. “The clutch is smoked, so I’ve got to go change the clutch before the heat race. I just fed it to it, and it went. I had to be half-throttle the rest of the race, so luckily there wasn’t anybody close to me and I could baby it to the finish.”
Unfortunately, that clutch damage put Douglass in a precarious position. He missed the heat race while making repairs, forcing him to start at the rear of the second race. That track position left him vulnerable to the type of incident he was ultimately collected in.
The Super Street class also ran a makeup feature with Woolwich’s Bobby Mesimer earning his first victory since 2013, holding off Mike Hodgkins of Jefferson after Hodgkins went from fifth to second over the final 10 laps.
“It’s been a while,” Mesimer said. “I took five years off and did the family thing. I decided to come back this year.
“They told me on the radio told me, ‘Hold your line, Hodgkins is coming.’ I just focused on hitting my lines, and here we are.”
Hodgkins needed a few more laps beyond the 25-lap race distance to have seriously challenged for the win. While chasing Mesimer three laps from the finish, the lapped machine of Bob Crocker pulled onto the track in front of the leaders to force evasive action from both Mesimer and Hodgkins.
Dan Nesmith of Wiscasset won the second 25-lap Super Street feature.
Saco’s Dominic Curit won the 4-Cylinder Pro event, and Zach Audet of Skowhegan won the Thunder 4 Mini race.