SCARBOROUGH – If the ice was out on Clayton Lake and if the deep snow was gone, Scott Mulkern might not have been at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway testing his race car Thursday. The emphasis is on might not.

“I’m still the nut who loves getting into a race car. I love the challenge. I love winning and I haven’t won enough.”

He’s raced for 30 years, mostly at Beech Ridge, but lately has severely curtailed his schedule. That he doesn’t win very often seems to be beside the point. Or maybe it is the point. Mulkern can be his own contradiction.

“I’m a high-strung guy. I lose my cool sometimes and don’t finish very well. Things go wrong but you never lose hope that the next race will be different. I think most drivers are like that. I just hope to make amends for all my mistakes the next time I’m on the track.”

Mulkern is among the Pro Stock drivers entered in Saturday’s PASS North Series 150-lap race at Beech Ridge. He’s a Falmouth guy who won his only track championship in 1985. It was Beech Ridge’s last summer as a dirt track.

He didn’t have ambitions to move south and become a NASCAR star. Racing was in his blood but the small bull ring tracks of New England would take care of his fever, thank you.

He’s 49 years old, sees more silver in his full head of hair and doesn’t want to hear about his next birthday. His IRS form lists excavating contractor in the space for occupation. His wife’s family once owned the Community Pharmacies chain. Financially they have few concerns.

About four years ago he bought the camp once owned by Guy Gannett, the Maine media baron who owned television and radio stations and newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald.

“I don’t really hunt or fish but I love being up in the Allagash. My father had a camp in Kokadjo.”

That’s about 20 miles north of Greenville. The roadside welcome sign lists a population of “not many,” which is another way of saying about 20 people call Kokadjo home. That’s about the population at Clayton Lake, too.

“When I was a kid, I’d take a tent and go camping for 10 days in the Allagash. I just love the country. I grew up racing a ’49 Ford pickup on the dirt roads. It was fun.”

Now Mulkern has adult Tonka toys and a contract to keep forest growth from overrunning what passes for roads and other places near his camp on Clayton Lake, deep in the North Woods.

In fact, he just got his pilot’s license. In his Cessna 150, it takes about 90 minutes before he lands on the lake.

By car from Falmouth, it’s about six hours as a racer drives.

“I’m up there for about six months. It will probably be June before I get back. The snow has to go and then you’ve got to get through mud season.”

He did go south to North Carolina three weeks ago for a 300-lap race at historic North Wilkesboro Speedway, one of NASCAR’s first tracks. “I like to say I held my own. I started 30th and that’s where I finished, in 30th.”

In addition to Saturday’s race, he plans to run twice more. Another tour event at Beech Ridge and the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. He finished fourth in 2006, behind young Jeremie Whorff, his father Bill Whorff Jr., and Sam Sessions. Perhaps Mulkern was the only one to notice their car numbers: 0, 00, and 0. “I finished behind a bunch of zeroes,” said Mulkern, who certainly meant no disrespect. The laugh was on himself.

Mulkern has a two-car team this season. Lonnie Sommerville of St. John, New Brunswick, will run the full schedule for Mulkern Racing. Ben Rowe of Turner was second to Johnny Clark of Hallowell for the 2010 PASS North championship.

“In the big picture, if you look at my style and the way I sometimes shoot myself in the foot, I don’t care about (points). If you give me a choice between winning a championship without winning a race and winning a race but no championship, I know the answer.”

Clayton Lake beckons.

 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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