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New~Fast track: Stock car drivers enjoy competitive two weeks of races

2017-06-03 16:32 [MARKETS] Source:Netword
Guide:Wiscasset — Andrew McLaughlin finally sealed the deal on a win in Wiscasset Speedways largest Late Model Sportsman race, The Coastal 200. It is a win that McLaughlin has, in the past, come close to winning. On Sunday, May 28, he took ho

Wiscasset — Andrew McLaughlin finally sealed the deal on a win in Wiscasset Speedway's largest Late Model Sportsman race, The Coastal 200. It is a win that McLaughlin has, in the past, come close to winning. On Sunday, May 28, he took home the most important win of his career in dominant fashion.

More than 2,600 fans packed the house for the Memorial Day weekend tradition, including a large contingent of veterans and active duty military who were admitted free of charge as the track's special guests. Starting from the pole position in front of the 26 car field, McLaughlin led 181 of the 200 laps but was still tested on several occasions by a handful of drivers waiting for him to make a mistake. That mistake never happened as he was the best car all day, nailing down the win by a comfortable three seconds over Ben Ashline and local favorite Nick Hinkley.

For his efforts, Mclaughlin raked in $5,100 in winnings and lap leader money, including $500 for leading halfway. The race was once again presented by Jordan Lumber and Jordan Excavation of Kingfield. Other winners on the program included Jonathan Emerson in the Norm's Used Cars Strictly Streets; Mark Lucas in the Midcoast Region Napa Modifieds; and Zac Audet in the Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis.

One of the unique things about the Coastal 200, or the Coastal 150 in its early days, is that in its more than 20 year history, the race has seen only one repeat winner. With only a pair of previous winners scattered through the 26 car field, the odds remained high for yet another driver to be hoisting the victor's trophy for the first time.

McLaughlin brought the field to the green with Burgess alongside. Both drivers have been a former runner-up in the big race. Behind them were another pair of heavy favorites, 2016 winner Chris Thorne and veteran ACT racer Ben Ashline, who made his return to action after nearly three years away.

McLaughlin set a torrid pace from the drop of the green flag, pulling out to a half straightaway advantage, while Ashline, Burgess, Thorne, and several others jockeyed for position. Four separate cautions for spins mid-pack bunched things up for challengers to take their shot at the leader, but he held through the midpoint of the race until a much-needed caution flag flew on lap 135, sending all the lead lap cars onto pit road for tires.

When the cars returned to the track for the restart, McLaughlin had come out last among the nine cars left on the lead lap. Will Collins held the lead for a lap after the restart until it was taken by Ashline and then Hinkley over 19 laps. Intermixed with several lapped cars, McLaughlin sliced his way through traffic and drove around Hinkley to reclaim the lead. That pass was the validation that the fans and fellow drivers needed to confirm that it was his race to win.

As contenders faded, McLaughlin's car seemed to get stronger and he sealed the victory in a race he had turned in second and third place finishes in the past three years. Ashline fought a loose race car all day and recovered from a lap 139 spin of his own to place second. Hinkley was the last driver with a serious challenge to the eventual winner, holding the lead til lap 152, but then faded late to settle for the third place trophy.

Joey Doyon spent much of the race in the top five, even having a shot at the lead himself on lap 137. He would match his career best from last year's race in fourth. Mike Hopkins had a solid day, but some early body damage to the right front of his car helped relegate him to a fifth place finish. McLaughlin, Ashline, and Burgess each pocketed an extra $100 from Norms Used Cars of Wiscasset for winning their respective heat races.

Other early favorites including Thorne, Burgess, and Shane Clark all succumbed to mechanical problems dropping them from contention. Clark had made three separate charges up from the back of the field into the top five in the first third of the race but finally retired on lap 86. He was awarded the Code 99 Designs Hard Luck Driver of the race. Collins took home the AR Bodies Hard Charger Award after starting 20th and finishing seventh.

Twenty-one cars lined up for the 25-lap feature in the Norms Used Cars Strictly Streets. Third generation racer Jonathan Emerson of Sabattus added his name to the family registry of feature winners in grand fashion. The 16-year-old started from the pole position with his dad Zach alongside and a host of veteran heavy hitters mid pack.

When the checkers flew he had not only brushed off the challenge of his father, he held off both Kurt and Kyle Hewins over the final ten laps to pick up his first career win. Defending champ Kurt Hewins finished runner-up and Kyle settled for third in his first Wiscasset run of the season.

Defending champ Mark Lucas cruised to an easy win in the 30-lap feature for the Midcoast Region Napa Modifieds. Adam Chadbourne and Allen Moeller Sr. joined him in victory lane; both turning in their third straight podium finish to start 2017.

Zach Audet of Skowhegan took advantage of a rare front row starting position along with the mechanical woes of some of his toughest competition to go wire to wire for the win in the 25-lap feature for the Kennebec Equipment Rental Outlaw Minis. It was his second win of the season in his quest for a second straight division championship.

Tim Collins rebounded from a tough race two weeks ago to pick up the runner-up trophy. Brent Roy continued his solid start to the season with his third straight podium appearance.

Official results for May 28 were:


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