WISCASSET — To say it is a great time to be Josh St Clair might be the understatement of the year when it comes to the Liberty resident’s start to the 2021 season at Wiscasset Speedway.

He opened the season winning four feature races over three different classes, leading the points in the track’s two “premier” divisions, and earned honors as the track’s May driver of the month.

The only possible way to top that could be by winning Wiscasset Speedway’s most prestigious race — and in exciting fashion no less.

The Coastal 200 is a race each Memorial Day weekend which showcases the region’s top Late Model Sportsman drivers. The race, rained out from its original date, was made up on Saturday night, June 12 in front of a crowd of more than 2,200 fans, including many veterans and active-duty military personnel who were welcomed to the event free.

Josh St. Clair. Wiscasset Speedway

Shortly after the sunset behind the backstretch of the 3/8-mile speedway, Josh St. Clair celebrated his second victory in the crown-jewel race with his family and friends. Many fans left saying it was one of the most exciting Coastal 200 ever, reported Ken Minott of the speedway.

Other winners on the night included Zach Audet in the Outlaw Minis, Adam Chadbourne in the Modifieds, and Bernie Dinsmore in the Strictly Streets.

The Senior Tour Auto Racers were the flex division of the weekend as Kurt Snow and Mike Rucci took the checkered flag in their Modified and Sportsman features.

Twenty-seven Late Model Sportsman drivers lined up for the two-week delayed Coastal 200. Heat winners Tiger Colby, Shane Clark, and Ben Ashline took the top three spots in the starting lineup.

Ashline came in as the two-time reigning Coastal 200 champ. Other former winners, Chris Thorne, and Andrew McLaughlin, were poised to make a run at the victory from the middle of the pack.

At the drop of the green flag Clark drove around pole-sitter Colby and secured the lead by the time they returned to the front stretch. From there he held the lead until Ashline arrived and took it from him on lap 29.

While Ashline moved toward the front of the line, Josh St. Clair, who started beside him on row two, started to fall back in the running order with an extremely loose race car. Following the race’s first caution on lap 39, the battle of the race ensued between Ashline and 2017 Coastal 200 champ McLaughlin. The two traded the lead back-and-forth over the next 100 laps.

Josh St. Clair, middle. Wiscasset Speedway

A handful of cautions for minor spins kept the field bunched and the action exciting throughout the field. Ashline held the lead through the midpoint of the race, as he collected the $500 halfway-leader bonus.

As the race moved into its second half, with tires worn, drivers waited for the chance to make their all-important stop for new tires. That opportunity came with a caution on lap 120, which sent all but one car to the pits for tires and adjustments. That one car that remained on the track was 73-year-old hall-of-fame driver “Boss Hogg” Dave St Clair, who inherited the lead in what would be the final race of his 56-year racing career.

Ashline was the first car to emerge from the pits and line up to St. Clair’s outside the restart. It only took one lap for Ashline to regain the lead and McLaughlin to resume his battle with the defending race champ. The intensity ramped up as McLaughlin hooked up on the outside and the two raced wheel-to-wheel for the next 20 laps and McLaughlin held the lead by less than a 1/10th of second each time by the flag stand.

Tucked behind the pair was the 2017 Coastal champ Thorne, who made the top three spots occupied by the winners of the past four Coastals. Things took a major turn on lap 155 when the only wreck of the race collected Colby and Jake Hendsbee. Under the caution, McLaughlin suddenly took off for pit road with power steering problems, and although he did return to the track, it essentially took him out of the running for the win.

With Ashline back in command of the race, Thorne was the next to challenge for the lead. He roared into the lead on lap 183 when Ashline started to develop engine issues and began fading back. All the while, almost unnoticed, Josh St. Clair picked his way into contention and raced his way into the top three.

Thorne looked to have the race in hand and his second Coastal 200 crown within sight thanks to a comfortable five-car-length lead with five laps to go. But another minor spin brought out the 11th and final caution of the race, and set the stage for an exciting finish.

Thorne and St. Clair lined up for the pivotal restart. St. Clair had a strong run out of turn two and took the lead down the backstretch into turn three. Thorne drove into the turn hard and moved St. Clair up the track and retook the lead by the time they returned to the front stretch. Thorne held the lead for one more lap, as St. Clair returned the favor and executed the same bump-and-run maneuver in turn two.

The two drivers stormed onto the front stretch wheel-to-wheel and deadlocked for the lead as the signal went up for two laps to go. St. Clair took the lead for himself heading into the final lap, but Thorne would not give up that easily. He pulled a fender alongside St. Clair  out of turn four to the checkers, but St. Clair would not be denied, as he took the victory by just 7/100 of a second. Much the same as his 2014 victory, St. Clair led only the final two laps of the race.

The large crowd on June 12 at Wiscasset Speedway. Wiscasset Speedway

Thorne finished a strong second despite arriving at the track late and missing all three pre-race practice sessions. Frank Moulton was not a factor in the win, but ran his usual steady race and lurked around the top 10 for much of the race. He made a late-race charge into the final podium spot. Clark finished fourth and Colby fifth, despite a damaged car from the lap-155 incident.

Nick Jenkins was the hard charger for the race, as he started 24th and, after he made several pit stops throughout the race, finished ninth. Ashline held on to be the final car on the lead lap with his engine losing a cylinder in the closing laps. The race featured nine lead changes among five drivers.

Zach Audet took the lead on the first lap of the 25-lap feature in the Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis and cruised to his second feature win of the season. three-time defending champ Jimmy Childs finished in second, followed by Scott Trask.

The 30-lap feature for the 88.5FM Modifieds was an action-packed race that featured heated battles between Ryan Ripley and Brian Treadwell and then Ripley and co-points leader Adam Chadbourne. Ripley was the first to pass under the checkers and appeared to secure his second win of the season; however, his car failed post-race inspection, which dropped him down to last in the running order.

Chadbourne took the victory, followed by Brian Treadwell and Jeff Prindall.

The 25-lap feature for the Portland Glass Strictly Streets saw veteran racer and former champ Bernie Dinsmore lead wire-to-wire for his first victory in 12 years. He was joined in victory lane by Mike Haynes and Mac Hannan Jr.

The results from June 12 racing were:

Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman (Coastal 200) — 1, Josh St. Clair, Liberty; 2, Chris Thorne, Sidney; 3, Frank Moulton, Clinton; 4, Shane Clark, Winterport; 5, Tiger Colby, Wiscasset; 6, Andrew McLaughlin, Harrington; 7, D.C. Alexander, Carmel; 8, Mark Lucas, Harpswell; 9, Nick Jenkins, Brownville; 10, Ben Ashline, Fairfield; 11, Kurt Hewins, Turner; 12, Will Collins, Waldoboro; 13, Matt Bourgoine, Stetson; 14, Brent Roy, Vassalboro; 15, Scott Hall, Jay; 16, Brandon Bailey, Wiscasset; 17, James Barker, Turner; 18, Garrett Leiter, Winslow; 19, James Doucette, Skowhegan; 20, Nick Hinckley, Wiscasset; 21, Jake Hendsbee, Whitefield; 22, Dave St. Clair, Liberty; 23, Alex Waltz, Walpole; 24, Deane Smart, Milford; 25, Ryan St. Clair, Wiscasset; 26, Tyler Bailey, Wiscasset; and 27, Ray Dinsmore, Limerick.

Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Mini (25 laps) — 1, Zach Audet, Norridgewock; 2, Jimmy Childs, Leeds; 3, Scott Trask, Richmond; 4, Mike Delano, Woolwich; 5, Shane Smith, Augusta; 6, Paul Thurlow, West Gardiner; 7, James Grover Jr., Waldoboro; 8, Ryan Varney, Oxford; and 9, Mike Wilson, Chelsea.

88.5FM Modifieds (30 laps) — 1, Adam Chadbourne, Woolwich; 2, Brian Treadwell, Hancock; 3, Jeff Prindall, Lisbon Falls; 4, Mike Brown, Hope; 5, Mark Simond, Lewiston; 6, Faith Cleaves, Pownal; and 7, Ryan Ripley, Thomaston.

Portland Glass Strictly Streets (25 laps) — 1, Bernie Dinsmore, Hope; 2, Mike Haynes, Livermore Falls; 3, Mac Hannan Jr., Washington; 4, Keith Drost, Etna; 5, Josh St. Clair, Liberty; 6, Brady Romano, Livermore Falls; 7, Zach Emerson, Sabattus; 8, Jonathan Emerson, Sabattus; 9, Ashton Reynolds, Liberty; 10, Dan Brown, Peru; 11, Scott Eck, Lisbon; 12, Chad Wills, Oxford; 13, Dylan Lancaster, Skowhegan; 14, Scott Wiggin, Somersworth, N.H.; and 15, Caleb Emerson-Mains, Richmond.

S.T.A.R. Tour – Modified (15 laps) — 1, Curt Snow, West Warren, Mass.; 2, Thomas Trenpe, Jaffrey, N.H.; 3, Dewight Pickard, Lisbon Falls; 4, Doug Pickard, Durham; 5, Scott Tucker, Warren; 6, Gary Moore, Manchester, N.H.; 7, Art Meschant, Barre, Mass.; and 8, Alan Zelma, Windham.

S.T.A.R. Tour – Sportsman (15 laps) — 1, Mike Rucci, Warren, Mass.; 2, Bob Guyon, Monmouth; 3, Dennis Desqutek, Palmer, Mass.; 4, Jim Torok, Norwalk, Conn.; and 5, Skip Stearns, Londonderry, N.H.

Ken Minott, who works at Wiscasset Speedway, contributed to this story.