RICHARDSON TAKES WILD PROSTOCK FEATURE AT WISCASSET
by Ken Minott
Wiscasset Speedway’s Prostocks turned out a race Saturday night that had all the makings of a movie on the big screen; edge of the seat action, suspense, hero’s, villains, plot twists, and a surprise outcome that few would have expected – except of course the eventual winner. There was more than the usual accolades and prize money on the line. The 50 lap spotlight feature also offered the winner a guaranteed provisional for the $10,000 to win Prostock / Super Late Model National event at Seekonk Speedway in July. Sixteen drivers lined up to accept the challenge and when the dust cleared and the checkers flew it was Phil Richardson Jr of Hermon lifting the first place trophy, while many of the early favorites loaded up with banged up rides and dashed hopes of the big win. Richmond’s Nate Tribbett and Newcastle’s Charlie Colby joined Richardson in victory lane. Other winners on the night included Mark Lucas of Harpswell in the Super Streets, Logan Melcher of Jay in the Thunder 4 Minis, and Spencer Vaughn of Canton in the N.E.4-cyl Pros. The show was presented by Bozzutos and their family of IGA Food Stores for the benefit of the Dream Ride for Special Olympics.
The 50 lap feature for the ServPro of Biddeford-Saco Prostocks
rolled out with Daren Ripley and Brandon Sprague on the front row. Eyes were also fixed back in the middle of the pack on the #15 of 5-time champ Scott Chubbuck as well as the #99 of Ben Ashline, who had been turning near record laps earlier in the day. Ripley quickly jumped out to a comfortable lead until the first caution flew on lap 8 as Ashline turned the #01 of Joe Decker. The race would then take its first major turn on the ensuing restart as Ripley and the #96 of Wyatt Alexander failed to cooperate on two straight restart attempts, sending the pair to the back of the field and moving Charlie Colby and Jeff Burgess to the front. Colby took command of the race with Chubbuck charging around Burgess into second. However, Colby himself would bring out the second caution of the race on lap 23 as he inexplicably lost control and spun out on his own coming out of turn 4. Chubbuck found himself the next man up to lead the charge on the lap 24 restart.
He would hold serve for the next 8 laps until, as anticipated, Ashline arrived to take the lead from him on lap 32. That pass for the lead would be wiped off the board though as lap 32 also brought out the race’s third caution for a minor spin by Sprague. Chubbuck and Ashline took the green for the restart, but this time Ashline started drifting back instead of forward. As if the action wasn’t already intense enough, things got turned up even more over the handful of laps. Ripley and Alexander, who had been relegated to the back of the field on lap 8, had raced their way back into contention, with Ripley driving around Chubbuck for the lead on lap 36 and just a lap later Alexander moved into 2nd. The 4th caution would fly on lap 40 as Ashline finally succumbed to a deflating tire sending him careening into the turn three wall. The restart – or restarts that followed would once again turn the script on an already eventful race. The first attempt with Ripley and Alexander back at the front was short-lived as Phil Richardson apparently missed a shift, stacking up a handful of cars in the middle of the pack including Sprague, Mike Moody, Cody Tribbett and Jamie Wright. The second try at the restart was successful but only lasted one lap. Alexander attempted a crossover move on Ripley, cutting across the nose of Chubbuck and then under the leader Ripley on the back stretch. In an attempt to counter the move, Ripley got on the brakes into turn three bunching up the trio and sending Ripley spinning sideways through turn four. With the fans in a frenzy, the three would come to a rest in the infield, dropping them from contention. That would turn out to be the final caution of the race. Richardson would lead the remaining drivers to the checkers, chased across the line by Nate Tribbett and Colby. Travis Benjamin of Morrill struggled most of the day but managed a 4th place finish. Chubbuck salvaged a disappointing 5th place. With national event promoter Gary Sagar on hand in victory lane, Richardson confirmed that he would indeed accept the provisional and take part in the 200 lap race on July 12th.
In support action, twenty of the twenty-two Thunder 4 Mini drivers were able to answer the bell for their 25 lap feature. Once again Logan Melcher of Jay was the class of the field in the caution-filled race. Melcher started 14th and took advantage of a pair of early cautions to take the lead on lap 5. He was relatively unchallenged the rest of the way to pick up his 2nd win of the season. The race of the night for the Thunder 4’s was between pole sitter Brian Sweatt and Dan Trask, who had charged through the pack from 18th into the top 3. The two raced side by side for the final ten laps with Trask finally getting the better of Sweatt for the runner-up trophy. Sweatt settled for 3rd.
The Super Streets 25 lap feature had its share of action, but the end result was no surprise with defending champ Mark Lucas taking top honors. He passed Oakland’s Sean Johnson with 5 laps to go and cruised to his first checkered flag of the season. Johnson had his strongest run, holding the lead for the first 20 laps and notching a career-best 2nd place finish. Mike Hodgkins of Jefferson would turn in a strong 3rd place run but would fail post race inspection for an unapproved rear spoiler. The 3rd place trophy would then be awarded to former champ Josh Bailey.
While the three other divisions struggled, the 4-cylinder pros turned in a solid performance with just one early caution in their 25 lap tilt. With the long green flag run, Jeff Prindall got out to a seemingly comfortable lead. However, that lead went away as Spencer Vaughn charged up from his 8th starting spot and chased down Prindall, taking the lead from him just past the halfway marker. From there Vaughn stayed strong and nailed down his first career win to close out the program. Prindall held on for the runner-up finish. They were joined in victory lane by Jefferson’s Ryan Hayes making his first appearance of the season and racing from 10th to 3rd.
Wiscasset Speedway returns to action Saturday, June 10th with Group 2 in action, featuring the Midcoast Region Napa Modifieds, plus the Norms Used Cars Strictly Streets, the Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis, and the Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman. The flex race of the night will be the first 100 lap Enduro of the year. Pit gates will open at 2:00 pm, grandstand gates at 4:00 pm, and the green flag drops on the racing action at 6:00 pm. For more information, go to the Wiscasset Speedway website at www.wiscassetspeedway.com
OFFICIAL RESULTS 6/3/17
SERVPRO OF BIDDEFORD-SACO PROSTOCKS (50 lap Nat’l Qualifier)
note : official finish order revised as of 6/9/17 (#84 car should have been credited with finishing lap 38)
|8||09||Daren Ripley||Thomaston||47||3 Laps|
|9||96||Wyatt Alexander||Ellsworth||38||12 Laps|
|10||84||Jamie Wright||Woolwich||38||12 Laps|
|11||1||Mike Moody||Topsham||37||13 Laps|
|12||13T||Cody Tribbett||Richmond||37||13 Laps|
|13||99||Ben Ashline||Fairfield||37||13 Laps|
|14||34||Jeff Burgess||E.Madison||31||19 Laps|
|15||23||Brandon Sprague||Edgecomb||30||20 Laps|
|16||32||Mike Orr||Wiscasset||0||50 Laps|
THUNDER 4 MINIS (25 laps)
|9||08||Jeff Merrill||Canton||24||1 Lap|
|10||11||Kyle Dorey||Bowdoinham||19||6 Laps|
|11||17||Randy Pimpare||Acton||9||16 Laps|
|12||11x||Cam Childs||Leeds||2||23 Laps|
|13||1||Jeff Davis||Woolwich||2||23 Laps|
|14||3||Jeff Minchin Jr||Pittston||2||23 Laps|
|15||2||Butch Keene||Turner||2||23 Laps|
|16||25jr||Brian Burr||Lisbon||2||23 Laps|
|17||19||Travis Poulliot||China||2||23 Laps|
|18||80||Donald Mooney||New Gloucester||1||24 Laps|
|19||00||Nick Morton||Newcastle||9||16 Laps||penalty = race conduct|
|20||4E||Calab Emerson-Mains||Richmond||2||23 Laps||penalty = left race car|
SUPER STREETS (25 laps)
|6||8||Bouncer Knight||Jay||24||1 Lap|
|7||02||Jason Curtis||Hollis||18||7 Laps|
|8||06||Zac Poland||Wiscasset||18||7 Laps|
|9||30||Cory Creamer||Randolph||18||7 Laps|
|10||54||Neil Evans Jr.||Brunswick||17||8 Laps|
|11||32||Barry Poulin||Benton||3||22 Laps|
N.E.4-CYLINDER PROS (25 laps)
|6||5||Dave Patten||Livermore Falls||25||9.524|
|10||9x||Brooke Knowles||West Gardiner||24||1 Lap|
|11||42||Mike Kibbin||South China||24||1 Lap|
|12||55||John Shorey||Alna||24||1 Lap|