Spring has finally taken hold in Southern and Central Maine, in time for the start of the 2017 stock car racing season on Saturday, April 22 at Wiscasset Speedway.

As fans and drivers have come to expect the past few years, they will be greeted by several upgrades and changes to the track. Most noticeably is the addition of a new retaining wall in turns three and four, plus the long-awaited replacement of the aging front-stretch wall.

Final preparations will take place in the days and hours leading to the season-opener on Saturday, April 22 at 2 p.m. A new catch fence, flag stand and victory lane area also are among the updates to the 3/8-mile oval.

Under the nearly five-year ownership of Richard and Vanessa Jordan, the coastal Maine speed plant has quickly turned into a popular destination for racers and fans from around the state.

One item unique to Wiscasset Speedway is the split of the eight weekly divisions into two distinct groups that run alternating schedules from mid-April through early October.

Group 1 will hit the track first with the Serv Pro of Biddeford-Saco Pro Stocks, Super Streets, Thunder 4 Minis and 4-Cylinder Pros. The weekly "Flex" Division, typically reserved for regional touring divisions or specialty races, will be the first of nine appearances for the Amsoil Nelcar Legends.

Group 2, which consists of the Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman, Midcoast Region NAPA Modifieds, Norms Used Cars Strictly Streets and Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis, will kick off their season on Saturday, April 29.

Highlights of the 2017 season include the annual Coastal 200 on Memorial Day Weekend; the return of the NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites; the 75-lap Outlaw Mini Madness; the fifth annual Top Gun Strictly Shootout; and a special doubleheader weekend July 29-30, which will feature the track's 48th birthday celebration and the Boss Hogg 150 Pro Stock Open.

Fans can watch every race live at Wiscasset Speedway for $5 grandstand admission.

Pit gates will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday as cars practice 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fans can enter the grandstands at noon and the green flag will fly on the opening day program at 2 p.m.

Wiscasset Speedway is located on the West Alna Road.

For more information on opening day or the upcoming season, go to the track's website at wiscassetspeedway.com.

Ken Minott, promoter, announcer and sales, works for Wiscasset Speedway and can be reached by email at kmwiscassetspeedway@gmail.com or by phone at 207-841-2189.

Courier Publications’ sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.