April 27, 2013

Local Motorsports: It takes a village to get this track ready for the season

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Jere Humphrey, the new operator of Unity Raceway, is looking for a little help from his friends Sunday to help him get the track ready for the season.

Humphrey, who is leasing the one-third-mile oval from Maine racing legend Ralph Nason, is looking for volunteers to help clean up the facility, which closed about a month into the racing season last summer.

"What I'm trying to is to clean the facility up," Humphrey said. "Some people had mentioned they wanted to help so we put it on the schedule."

Humphrey, who grew up in Aroostook County, has a lot of friends in the racing community. He's been involved in motor ports since watching two of his uncles race at Spud Speedway in Caribou as a 4-year-old tot in the early '70s.

Since then, Humphrey has worked on a pro stock racing team, built race cars, sold racing supplies, promoted a truck-pulling tour on Maine's county fair circuit and also ran snowmobile races in Presque Isle.

"He's got a lot of experience," said Nason, who bought the track in 1980 but has leased out to others to operate for the past several seasons. "If he runs it like a business, he should do OK."

Last September, Humphrey rented the track to run the Long John 100, an annual event that drew more than 900 people and 68 cars.

This season Humphrey has scheduled 25 racing dates at Unity, which will open May 26 during Memorial Day weekend.

After the season opener, racing will be on Friday nights.

Wiscasset Raceway and Speedway 95 in Hermon, the closest tracks to the 65-year-old facility, will run on Saturday nights this season.

"If guys from those tracks want to race, they have the option to come over here and race," Humphrey said.

Racing will be held in each week in five divisions -- Late Model Sportsmen, Strictly Streets, Monster Minis, Flying Fours and Outlaw Sportsmen. In addition, racing will be held on a rotating basis in the Ladies Division and a Little Rascal Division for drivers 8-years-old and up.

Practices for all divisions are scheduled for May 18-19.

"I think his plans are really good, and I think he's a hard worker," Nason said. "He knows you have to crawl before you walk."

THE SECOND LEG of PASS North's 14 race schedule is scheduled for May 4 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough with a 150-lap race for Super Late Models, a 75-lap race for Super Sports and a 40-lap race for the open-wheeled Modifieds.

Racing in the track's top four divisions -- including Pro Series, Sports Series, Wildcats and Roadrunners -- will start May 25.

Racing in the Thursday Thunder Series, which includes the 8-cylinder Mad Bombers, the 4-cylinder Beetle Bugs, the NELCAR Legends and the Ladies Division, will start June 13.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

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