UNITY — Joey Doyon is trying to revive Maine’s oldest stock car track.

Doyon, 40, of Frankfort, is the new manager at Unity Raceway, which has been dormant since 2018.

Doyon, who previously raced at Unity when it last hosted regular racing, has deep ties to the track. His father, Roger Doyon, served on the pit crew years ago for the track’s owner, Ralph Nason.

“(We go back) a long, long ways,” Nason joked. “His father was on my pit crew forever. Joey was pretty persistent in wanting to do it. I’ve had two or three other people do different things. He kept on me, said, ‘Listen, I’d like to (lease the track). I want to do this, I want to do that.'”

Nason — who purchased the track from original owner Ed Knowles in 1980 — still owns the raceway, which opened for stock car racing in 1948. Nason and Joey Doyon agreed to a one-year lease, with options, last July.

“Right at the start of COVID (in 2020), Ralph had a truck (at the track) that he wanted me to engine swap for him,” Doyon said. “I went down and checked out the track in its current condition. Right from that day forward, I was like, ‘I can (fix up the track), I have the equipment. I can make (racing) happen again.’ At that time, he had another guy (leasing the track) trying to make it happen.


“I just kept bugging him every day. I can fix this. I can fix that. He’d give me 20 reasons why it wouldn’t work and five that would make it work… I just couldn’t stand to see (the track) sit.”

Doyon added that he hopes to offer auto races later in the spring. He believes the dirt track will ultimately lure racers to Unity, as the surface provides less wear and tear to tires than asphalt.

“My phone is blowing up with people who want to come race,” Doyon said. “We’ve got people from New Hampshire who want to come up to race already. Pretty stoked about it.”

“It’s going to be a lot cheaper to race on dirt than it is on a hot top,” added Nason, a three-time winner (1998, 1999, 2000) of the annual Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. “The dirt is going to be the equalizer. You can have 500 horsepower (engines) on dirt, but 300 is going to get it done just as good.”

Joey Doyon, right, is shown Tuesday near the seating area that he’s restoring at Unity Raceway. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Doyon said he’ll plans to run races on Sundays at Unity, because workers from Speedway 95 in Hermon and Wiscasset Speedway have offered to help on race days. Both tracks run races on Saturdays. But Doyon said he also sees more than stock car racing happening at the track, at least in the near future. He’d like to open Unity up for a multitude of events.

“I want to explore a little bit of everything,” Doyon said. “Maybe some nights, just have bands there, or a corn hole tournament. We’re not going to focus just strictly on the racing. We’re going to do a little bit of everything to keep the doors open, basically. Just get things rolling.”


Doyon isn’t the first person to try and bring Unity Raceway back to life in recent years.

In 2016, George Fernald of Benton made an offer to Nason that included a 10-year plan to purchase the track. Nason agreed, which set the stage for new ownership at Unity.

Fernald made the decision in 2017 to convert Unity into a dirt track. However, he backed out of the agreement a year later, citing financial and health concerns.

Looking for someone else to run the track, Nason agreed to lease the track to Greg Veinote of Newburgh in 2019, but plans to open the track that summer stalled. Tracks across the state closed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

The resurrection of Unity Raceway comes at a critical time for the sport in Maine. Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough — an institution of stock car racing in southern Maine for 72 years — closed in September as part of a deal to real estate developers.

Doyon, who has a background in paving, is busy working on the track these days. With the help of some friends, Doyon managed to rip up the remaining asphalt. He’s also managed to rebuild a good portion of the grandstand thanks to donations and help from volunteers.


“The biggest thing was to regain it like it was the track again,” Doyon said. “On the front stretch, (Fernald) used a bulldozer to dig up the hot top. There was big piles of broken up hot top. That was the first thing we were tasked with was getting those big chunks (out), shape it up so it looked like a track again. I had an excavator there that I rented for the summer. That was the first thing, getting those hauled out of the way….I still have nightmares of those hunks of hot top.”

Doyon and his wife, Holly — a former basketball standout from 2003-2007 at Husson University — ran a “Trunk Or Treat” event in October to drum up some attention for the track. Doyon said dirt car drivers from New Hampshire and Vermont have tested the track. Drivers from the Fantasy Speedway organization — which features vintage stock cars — have also run at Unity.

Doyon said he’s already amazed by the track’s progress.

Unity Raceway manager Joey Doyon shines a light on historic raceway photos displayed beneath the covered grandstand at Unity Raceway on Tuesday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“That was really neat, to get cars going around the track again,” Doyon said. “Because everyone is like, ‘Well that ain’t never going to happen.’ I’ve gotten through my life without having money. I was just like, ‘We’re going to do this. We’re going to pull it off.’ But the neatest thing with it, the people that have stopped by while I was working. Some weeks, it’d be two or three different people during the week who would stop by, share their stories. I’d take them into the covered grandstand, show them some of the (historic pictures of the track). This one guy, I’d never met him before, (went through) every single picture on the wall, tell me what year it was.”

“He’s into it 100 percent,” Nason added. “He’s got a lot of people there. Since he’s done that (Trunk or Treat), people have seen the race track where he re-shaped it. The next time, he had cars on it having a practice and now there seems to be a lot more interest in it.”

While much work still needs to be done before racing returns to Unity, Doyon is said he is eager to turn his dream into reality.

“It’s huge (to run Unity),” Doyon said. “It came at a time when I needed some big changes in my life. I’ve always kind of wanted to do my own thing. It’s a risky deal. It was keeping me up at night seeing the track like that. For Ralph to give me a chance and go after it… sometimes I get down on myself, ‘I should have done this (task) sooner. We should have already had a race’ But I’ll see somebody at the store and they’ll say, ‘Man, you’re doing a hell of a good job down there, keep it up.’ Then I’ll refocus on how the track looked a year ago and go, ‘You know, we’ve gotten a lot down already.’ It takes a lot of people to make it happen. But to have the chance to do this has been really cool.”

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