SCARBOROUGH – Peter Youland brought his nephew out to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Sunday to get a glimpse into the history of motorsports.

There was plenty to see at the Maine Vintage Race Car Association’s annual Summerfest. More than 70 cars — both replicas and restored models — were on display. Many raced at the track in the decades before the track was paved in 1986.

“It’s amazing to see where racing’s come from,” said Youland, a Buxton resident who was at his first Summerfest with nephew Chris Youland of Westbrook.

The event is both a celebration of the history of motorsports and an opportunity to honor its key players, said Bruce Elder, vice president of the association. Some of the displays were tributes to inductees of the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Henry Rogers of Hampstead, N.H., was displaying the 1990 Chevy Monte Carlo that belonged to his racing hero, Jeff Stevens, who died in January, three months before his induction into the hall of fame.

The car is one of three of Stevens’ cars that Rogers owns.

Rogers has outfitted it with a new hood, installed glass, fixed up some bad dents and given it a coat of wax. There’s more work to do. It was displayed on a trailer Sunday because it doesn’t yet have an engine.

“It only takes time and money,” said Rogers, who makes his living selling tires.

Such restoration work is a labor of love, particularly because Rogers is such a Stevens fan. Rogers still clearly remembers their first meeting: shaking the driver’s meaty hand and feeling as awed as a teenager in the presence of his idol.

Another dedicated restorer is Steve Pellerin of Gorham. Pellerin and his friend Melvin Dobbins, of Standish, teamed up for their tribute to Homer Drew, a member of the inaugural class of the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame and the first Maine driver inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame.

The red 1969 Camaro — a replica of a 1973 model Homer drove with the original’s head, camshaft and intake — is Pellerin’s. Dobbins owns the brown Bomber.

Pellerin recalled how Drew dominated on both dirt and paved tracks, driving each lap as though it were his last.

In one famous Drew race, the steering wheel came off and Drew kept driving, using vise grips to steer.

“People said you could give him a wheelbarrow and he’d make it go,” said Pellerin, a firefighter.

Down the row was a yellow 1970 Dodge Charger that Gene Therio of Portland used to drive. Therio, 78, remembers driving it into a wall the last time he raced it.

The car sat outside for years, rusting, until his son-in-law, Jeff Watts, decided to work on it. The right front corner has been restored so far. Therio said it has the potential to be just as shiny as the other cars around.

Therio bemoaned the fact that many vintage cars won’t be brought back to life. A few years ago, he said, people discovered that they could dig the old cars out of the woods and sell them for scrap.

“It’s history,” he said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The cars weren’t racing Sunday, but some were ready for a spin. Summerfest’s schedule included times when exhibitors could provide children rides around the track.

Elder’s 1957 Chevy was recently outfitted with passenger seating and was available for rides, but he was thinking he’d let someone else take the wheel.

“I’m finding it harder and harder to get in through the window,” he said. “It’s amazing how much harder it is than back in the day.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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