ASHLINE MAKES HISTORY AT WISCASSET SPEEDWAY by Ken Minott
Wiscasset Speedway has spent much of the 2019 season celebrating its fifty years of racing history. More history was made this past weekend as Ben Ashline of Fairfield put his name in the record books by doing something no other driver had done. Near perfect weather greeted fans as they packed the stands on Sunday afternoon for the Boss Hogg 150. The race was the highlight of a busy doubleheader weekend at Maine’s fastest track. Saturday night showcased Group 2 divisions with the 5th annual Outlaw Mini Madness as well as the Late Model Dash for Cash. Sunday’s big pro stock race was originally created in 1991 by (then) track owner and racer Dave “Boss Hogg” St Clair as a 100 lap race. The race was revived in 2013 by current owner’s Richard & Vanessa Jordan to pay tribute to St Clair. It was then bumped up to a 150 lap race two years ago.
Ben Ashline had already brought home the first place trophy for the Coastal 200 Late Model race back in May, becoming the first repeat winner of the Memorial Day weekend classic since Scott Chubbuck in 2000. Ashline lined up for Sunday’s BH150 presented by LLP Transport on the outside of the front row to lead a 19 car field to the green. He and polesitter Dave Farrington (a 2015 Coastal 200 winner) were poised to chase history along with Chubbuck, who started right behind them on row two. Farrington and Ashline traded the lead back and forth over the opening laps with Chubbuck and last year’s runner-up Garrett Hall giving chase. Chubbuck remained in contention until he came to a stop in turn 2 with a flat tire. Again, Ashline and Farrington fought over the lead with Ashline taking charge of the race over a long green-flag run. Positions behind Ashline changed hands as Hall moved into second and Farrington faded back as far as fifth. Wiscasset Pro Stock champion Nick Hinkley made a strong charge from the back of the field from 17th up to 3rd. On a lap 120 restart Hall snookered Ashline to grab the lead. Behind them, Hinkley turned his attention to holding off defending BH150 champ Mike Hopkins. Just a few laps later the two made contact heading into turn one with Hinkley making contact with the wall. The drama continued to ramp up as Hall and Ashline battled it out for the lead with the laps winding down. Hall tried his best to hold off Ashline, but the battle came to a climax on lap 141 as Ashline tried to move inside of Hall entering turn three. The two made contact with Hall careening into the wall, ending his hopes of a victory. Farrington, who had moved back into 3rd took some front end damage as well. Ashline would be forced to restart at the back of the pack, but with lapped cars being pulled out with 10 laps to go, Ashline would restart 5th. Farrington took the restart at the point with ten laps to go. Brandon Barker, who had quietly moved into contention started to his outside. The final ten laps were intense with Ashline flying up the outside and Hopkins making a late charge. With just 4 laps to go Ashline charged around the lead pair and into the record books as he stretched out a half straightaway lead and the victory and the $5000 winner’s check. Hopkins took home the runner-up trophy with Kevin Douglass sneaking in to snag the 3rd place trophy. Barker and Farrington rounded out the top five. In Sunday’s support action, the K&A Property Services Modifieds turned out an 8 car starting field for their 30 lap feature. Point leader and defending champ Adam Chadbourne suffered his first miss-step of the year as he tangled with Wayne Allard on the opening lap, sending Chadbourne’s car into the backstretch wall and handing him his first DNF of the season. West Bath’s Nick Reno took advantage and cruised unchallenged to his fourth win of the 2019 campaign. Former champ Allen Moeller of Dresden celebrated his 65th birthday with a runner up finish. Allard went on to pick up the third-place trophy. The G.O Motorsports Nelcar Legends made their final appearance of the season with a 25 lap tilt. Former champ Austin Teras held off Colby Meserve in the closing laps to secure the victory. Meserve chased him across the line for second, matching his personal best at Wiscasset. Chris Burgess of Buxton made a charge up from the back of the pack, but had to settle for third. Winterport’s Jason Trundy took the checkers in the 20 lap Road Runner feature. Saturday night’s spotlight feature was the annual Outlaw Mini Madness 50 lap race presented by Kennebec Equipment Rental. Teammates Kyle Willette and Zach Audet led the 16 car field to the green. That’s as close as anyone would get as Audet easily handled challenges on a pair of restarts and led wire to wire for the win. It was his 2nd victory in the event. Chelsea’s “Cowboy” Dan Trask kept him within striking distance, even pulling up to challenge a couple of times, but would settle for second. Willette finished in third, a full straightaway behind the leaders. Late Model Sportsman had a double bill on the program with the regular 40 lap feature along with the annual 20 lap Dash for Cash to end the program. In the regular feature defending champ, Andrew McLaughlin rebounded from a couple of weeks of tough luck to grab his third win of the season, outrunning the stout 23 car field. He was joined in victory lane by DC Alexander and Ryan St Clair. For Alexander, it was his first podium finish at Wiscasset. The Dash for Cash is a special feature only for any non-winners in the ultra-competitive Late Model class. Brandon Fowler of Rome took advantage of drawing the pole position and ran away to an easy win. Rookie Shawn Austin of Norridgewok fought hard for a runner-up finish. Tyler Robbins of Montville took third. In the 25 laps feature for the Norms Used Cars Strictly Streets, Jonathon Emerson of Sabattus picked up a long-awaited win, holding off his father & point leader Zach Emerson. For the 3rd generation racer it was his 3rd win of the season, but his first since week two of the season. The two were joined in victory lane by Dan Brown who collected the 3rd place trophy. Wiscasset Speedway returns to action on Saturday, September 7th with Chamber of Commerce Night. The track will host Wiscasset area chamber members. The program will feature action in the Group 1 divisions, Thunder 4 Mini, Maxwell’s Market Super Streets, Cahill Tire 3-Cylinder Pros, and ServPro of Biddeford Saco Pro Stocks. Pit gates open at 2:00 pm, grandstand gate at 4:00 pm and racing action beginning at 6:00 pm. Admission fee is just $5 for grandstands and $20 pits. For more information and official race results, go to www.wiscassetspeedway.com