New Unity Raceway (ME) track owner George Fernald Jr. said the 1/3-mile asphalt oval will be dug up in order to transform it into a dirt track beginning next season.
“The track is in bad shape and needs to be repaved,” explained Fernald to Bangor Daily News. “And after buying the place, I don’t have $200,000 to repave it.”
Fernald estimated that it will cost him “less than $20,000” to turn it into a dirt track.
“All the dirt and clay is right there. I’ll just have to buy a grader, roller and a water truck,” said Fernald. “There is going to be a lot of maintenance. We’re going to have to work on it two or three days a week in order to race on it.”
He also noted that by transforming it into a dirt track, “we’ll also be able to fix the drainage” among other new improvements to include new fencing and restrooms, jacking up the grandstand, building a small drag strip in the center of the infield so they can have lawn mower-tractor races, adding a mud run for trucks in the lower parking lot and providing a campground.
Dirt track racing is extremely popular in other parts of the country with National Speedway Directory reporting that there are over 700 tracks in the United States. However, there aren’t any listed in New England.
Fernald said he would be interested in bringing a regional dirt-track race to Unity. There were dirt tracks in Greenville, Skowhegan and Unity Plantation but they are no longer in operation.
The dirt track will mean an end to the Late Model class with the Street Stocks being elevated to the top class, he said.
Fernald bought the track from Ralph Nason and Nancy Nason in July 2016 after having leased it from them from 2008-2012. He lost more than $40,000 during those five seasons. He said he has learned from his mistakes and this year he will hold races just once a month, “because we need to make repairs to the track."
The first racing weekend will be held on Sunday, May 21, at 1:30 p.m. The other dates are Sunday, June 25; Friday, July 7; Sunday, Aug. 13; Sunday, Sept. 10; Sunday, Sept. 24, and the Long John Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21 and 22.
All of the racing will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the exception of the July 7 card which starts at 7:30 p.m.
The classes include Late Models, Wildcats or Street Stocks, Keystone 6 Shooters (6-cylinder cars), Flyin’ 4’s (four-cylinder cars), Caged Enduros and regular Enduros.
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