WISCASSET — Memorial Day weekend always is exciting at Wiscasset Speedway because it is the time and place for the coveted Coastal 200.

The annual $5,000-to-win race is one of the most significant Late Model races in New England. The Sunday, May 29 Coastal 200 was no different, with 27 drivers in the field as nearly 3,000 fans packed the track between the pits and grandstands.

The 27 drivers fought to get a piece of the nearly $30,000 overall purse — which included a few contingency bonuses. Survey, Inc. of Windham sponsored a $500 bonus going to the race leader at the halfway mark and St. Clair Racing sponsored a $500 bonus that went to the 14th car on lap 14 — homage to their famous #14.

St. Clair is synonymous with Wiscasset and 74-year-old Dave “Boss Hogg” St. Clair, a Wiscasset and Maine racing hall-of-fame member, competed in the race on Sunday alongside his grandsons, Ryan and Josh St. Clair.

Josh St. Clair was the defending race winner going into Sunday, but won his first Coastal 200 back in 2014.

The fields of drivers on Sunday ranged vastly, with a 62-year age gap between the youngest and oldest drivers in the field. Daniel Harding, 12, joined the field as the youngest driver, but division rookies Jet Decker and Jonathon Emerson also were in the field among the many veterans. Ben Ashline, a two-time winner of the race, eyed his third. Chris Thorne and Dave Farrington, Jr., two other past winners, also had their eyes on the prize alongside Wiscasset regulars such as Nick Reno, Ryan Ripley and Shane Clark.

Ben Ashline and his team. Photo courtesy of Amy Harrop

Shane Clark showed strength early in the day, as she won his qualifying heat race. It was a family affair as Ryan and Dave St. Clair also scored heat race victories. Before the start of the Coastal 200, Dave St. Clair took a “back row challenge” from track owner Richard Jordan — if Dave St. Clair started on the back row and finished the 200-lap race, he would receive a hearty $1,000 bonus. St. Clair willingly took the challenge, as he dropped to the back row for the feature.

Shane Clark took off with the early advantage in the 200-lap race. But, defending race winner Josh St. Clair was on the move, as he broke into the top 5fiveon lap 21 after starting the race outside of the top 10. Josh St. Clair later broke the top three, but rookie Decker made his way around him on lap 69. After a false restart following a caution on lap 73, the front two rows were swapped. This sent Josh St. Clair into the lead for the first time of the day. He held onto it for a handful of laps, but Decker took command on lap 82 and began to pull away.

Around the midway mark of the race, drivers began to pit for two tires as the Coastal 200 is a six-tire race. This gave Josh St. Clair command of the race for a brief period before he pitted following another midrace caution. Around this time, Dave St. Clair’s car began to overheat and he was forced off the track which, ultimately, ended his day prematurely.

At this point, Ben Ashline, who also started outside the top 10, made his way to the front of the field, as he overtook the lead on lap 107. Ashline began to pull away, distancing himself from the competition. It seemed as though the game was going to completely change on lap 153, as Ashline’s car began to smoke heavily. But, Ashline continued to power through until the end, as he picked up his third career Coastal 200 victory and a hearty $5,000 check.

Ashline was all smiles in victory lane, as he celebrated the joyous moment with a large group of family and friends. Chris Burgess (first career Late Model podium), Shane Clark, Dave Farrington Jr. and Ryan Ripley rounded out the top five.

The youngest and oldest drivers in the Coastal 200-lap event, Daniel Harding, left, and Dave St. Clair, middle, among another. Photo courtesy of Tom Read and Sandy Haley

Following the race, Jet Decker was awarded the $500 bonus as he led the race at the midway point and Brent Roy, who unfortunately ended his day with a torn-up race car, collected the $500 bonus for being the 14th car on lap 14.

The day’s events also included a partial Group 2 racing program. Ryan Ripley took home his third consecutive victory in the 88.5FM Modifieds, Kurt Hewins scored his first win of the year in the Portland Glass Strictly Streets and David Whitelaw captured the victory in the T&L Automotive Roadrunners.

Additionally, Steven Turner was injured following a wreck in the Roadrunners.

The individual racing results included:

Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman Coastal 200 (200 laps) — 1, Ben Ashline, Fairfield; 2, Chris Burgess, Hartford; 3, Shane Clark, Winterport; 4, Dave Farrington, Jay; 5, Ryan Ripley, Thomaston; 6, Jett Decker, Chesterville; 7, Kris Matchett, Skowhegan; 8, Frank Moulton, Clinton; 9, Josh St. Clair, Liberty; 10, Daniel Harding, Fairfield; 11, Jonathon Emerson, Oxford; 12, Garrett Leiter, Livermore Falls; 13, Scott Hall, Jay; 14, Dave Getchell, Cornville; 15, Alex Waltz, Walpole; 16, Dave St. Clair, Liberty; 17, Will Collins, Waldoboro; 18, Brent Roy, Vassalboro; 19, Nick Hinckley, Wiscasset; 20, T.J. Watson, Harpswell; 21, Chris Thorne, Sidney; 22, Ray Dinsmore, Limerick; 23, Nick Reno, West Bath; 24, Connor Wenners, Edgecomb; 25, Ryan St. Clair, Liberty; 26, James Doucette, Skowhegan; and 27, Nick Jenkins, Brownville.

88.5FM Modifieds (50 laps) — 1, Ryan Ripley, Thomaston; 2, Adam Chadbourne, Woolwich; 3, Brian Treadwell, Hancock; 4, Dan Brown, Turner; 5, Brandon Williams, Durham; 6, Faith Cleaves, Pownal; 7, Billy Childs Jr., Leeds; 8, Ryan Hayes, Jefferson; 9, Spencer Vaughan, Canton; 10, Keith Lovejoy, Biddeford; 11, Doug Phillips, Phillips; 12, Wayne Whitten, Kennebunk; 13, Jeff Burgess, Topsham; 14, Bobby Messimer, Woolwich; 15, Matt Sanborn, Bangor; 16, Allan Moeller Sr., Dresden; 17, Scott Trasj, Richmond, and 18, Ashley Beyea, Old Orchard Beach.

T&L Automotiver Roadrunners (20 laps) — 1, David Whitelaw, Readfield; 2, Ken Turner, South China; 3, Jason Meservey, Warren; 4, Kayle McLatchy, Jay; 5, Sharon Whitelaw, Readfield; 6, David Austin, no town given; and 7, Brett Ward, North Anson.

Portland Glass Strictly Streets (30 laps) — 1, Kurt Hewins, Turner; 2, Jason Gaboury, Augusta; 3, Josh St. Clair, Liberty; 4, Mac Hannan Jr., Washington; 5, Ashton Reynolds, Turner; 6, Caleb Emerson-Mains, Richmond; 7, Jonathan Emerson, Sabattus; 8, Jeremy Glazier, Appleton; 9, Wade Kennedy, Sebago; 10, Brady Romano, Livermore Falls; 11, Ashton Burgess, Palmyra; 12, Keith Drost, Etna; 13, Mike Delano, Woolwich; 14, Landon Tapley, Washington; 15, Paul Lund, Buxton; 16, Scott Wiggin, Somersworth, N.H.; 17, Ethan Dinsmore, Hope; 18, Scott Eck, Lisbon; and 19, Chaz Briggs, Westbrook.

Amy Harrop works for Wiscasset Speedway.

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.