Stock car racing

Thorne wins Late Model opener, other drivers battle at Wiscasset

Knox, Waldo, Lincoln county drivers continue early-season action
By Ken Minott | May 16, 2019

Wiscasset — A sunny, but blustery and cold night did not deter a large contingent of eager fans hungry for racing action on Saturday, May 11 as group 2 finally got the chance to get their  season going along with the first appearance of 2019 for the Wicked Good Vintage Racers at Wiscasset Speedway.

Zach Audet appeared to have a dominant win in his grasp in the spotlight feature for the Outlaw Minis until an electrical issue late in the race on lap 31 changed everything. Defending champ Jimmy Childs was there to capitalize on the leader's tough luck and cruised to the feature win.

Other winners on the program included Jonathan Emerson in the Strictly Streets and Chris Thorne in the Late Model Sportsman. Nick Reno took the checkers in the Modified feature.

In the 35-lap spotlight feature for the Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis, the front row was made up of one of the track's best rivalries in former champs Jimmy Childs and Zach Audet. Childs got the upper hand in the heat race and started from the pole position. Audet did not let that last long as he blasted around Childs at the drop of the green flag and into the lead by the time they exited turn two.

From there he set the pace and gradually stretched his lead to nearly a full straightaway. Had the race ended at its normal 25-lap distance Audet would have celebrated in victory lane, but being a spotlight race, they raced an additional 10 laps. Many times those extra laps make a world of difference, and this race again proved the point.

When the field crossed the stripe to conclude lap 30, Audet suddenly slowed with apparent electrical problems. Childs blew by him first in turn one and by the time Audet coasted to a stop back on the front stretch, the remaining drivers had passed him as well. Childs took care of business on the restart and drove on to the win in defense of his division title.

Jason Kimball returned from a 16-year break from racing and turned in a second-place run. Former champion Rob Greenleaf remained in the top five the entire race and finished third.

The Norm's Used Cars Strictly Street 25-lap feature showcased a door-to-door battle between father and son. Third generation racer Jonathon Emerson held off his father, Zach Emerson, for the entire race, with veteran Bryan Robbins in hot pursuit. The youngster held strong all the way to the checkers to pick up the wire-to-wire victory. He was the top winner in the class last season with four victories.

In the battle for second, Robbins had been able to pull to the inside of Zach Emerson on the final lap and secured the runner-up spot by just .07-seconds. Brad Erskine and Shawn Emery filled out the top five.

The Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman division rolled out an impressive field of 22 cars for the season-opener. Rookies Jake Hendsbeee and Brent Roy, coming up from the Outlaw Mini ranks, started on the front row for the 40-lap feature race.

A talented cast of former champions lurked back in the field, ready to make their charge to the front. Hendsbee made a strong statement, as he held the lead and easily worked his way through lap traffic as the race went caution-free for the first 30 laps.

Four-time champ Chris Thorne had moved up from his seventh starting position to take the restart on the outside and quickly grabbed the lead from the rookie. From there he held off challenges from Hendsbee and Josh St. Clair to grab his first win of the season.

Hendsbee and St. Clair joined him in victory lane for second and third. Fourth place went to defending champ Andrew McLaughlin, who started 20th and made a late-race charge. Brandon Fowler completed the top five.

The K&A Property Services Modifieds may have been short on competitors, but it was long on action. Just four cars took the green for the division's shortened 20-lap feature.

Adam Chadbourne and Nick Reno put on a hard-fought wheel-to-wheel battle for much of the race, as neither took the lead by more than a car length. Nick Reno ended up taking the checkered flag as Chadbourne crossed the line a close second. Wayne Whitten Jr. finished third.

The Wicked Good Vintage Racers three feature winners were John Knapp in the Hobby Class, Mark Zaccadelli in the Late Model Class and Bill Pierce in the Outlaw Class.

The individual results from May 11 racing included:

Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Mini (35 laps) — 1, Jimmy Childs, Leeds; 2, Jason Kimball, Pittston; 3, Rob Greenleaf, West Bath; 4, Kyle Willette, Waterville; 5, Brady Romano, Livermore Falls; 6, Dixson Smith, Augusta; 7, James Grover Jr., Newcastle; 8, Zach Audet, Skowhegan; and 9, Leo Hatch, Augusta.

Norm's Used Cars Strictly Streets (25 laps) — 1, Jonathon Emerson, Sabattus; 2, Bryan Robbins, Montville; 3, Zachary Emerson, Sabattus; 4, Brad Erskine, Solon; 5, Shawn Emery, Limington; 6, Shawn Austin, Norridgewock; 7, Ryan Ripley, Thomaston; 8, Brett Osmond, Wiscasset; 9, Kimberly Knight, Chesterville; and 10, Bob Russell, Round Pond.

Wood Pellet Warehouse Late Model Sportsman (40 laps) — 1, Chris Thorne, Sidney; 2, Jake Hensbee, Whitefield; 3, Josh St. Clair, Liberty; 4, Andrew McLaughlin, Harrington; 5, Branden Fowler, Rome; 6, Ryan St. Clair, Liberty; 7, Ben Erskine, Fairfield; 8, Brandon Bailey, Woolwich; 9, Logan Melcher, Fayette; 10, James Barker, Turner; 11, Alex Waltz, Walpole; 12, Shane Clark, Winterport; 13, Brent Roy, Vassalboro; 14, Mark Lucas, Harpswell; 15, Shane Kaherl, Jay; 16, Dylan Turner, China; 17, D.C. Alexander, Carmel; 18, Conner Wenners, Edgecomb; 19, Will Collins, Waldoboro; and 20, Frank Moulton, Clinton; and 21, Anthony Milano, Skowhegan.

K&A Property Services Modifieds (20 laps) — 1, Nick Reno, West Bath; 2, Adam Chadbourne, Woolwich; 3, Wayne Whitten Jr., Kennebunk; and 4, Brian Treadwell, Hancock.

Wicked Good Vintage - Hobby (15 laps) — 1, John Knapp, Bowdoinham.

Wicked Good Vintage - Late Model (15 laps) — 1, Mark Zaccadelli, Warren.

Wicked Good Vintage - Outlaw (20 laps) — 1, Bill Pierce, South Bristol.

Ken Minott works for Wiscasset Speedway.

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

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