Wiscasset Speedway kicked off their 2022 season this past Saturday with a highly anticipated Group 1 season opener. 2,500 fans filled the stands as 60 different competitors took to the track in 4 different divisions. Among the divisions with the highest car counts were the Sweatt’s Concrete Thunder 4 Minis.
After Beech Ridge Motor Speedway announced their closure at the conclusion of the 2021 season, Beetle bug drivers Brandon Lizotte, Dustin Salley and Butch Keene decided to make the move to Wiscasset Speedway in 2022. The three drivers, who are also teammates for Curt Dumais Racing, collectively won all of the regular seasons last year at Beech Ridge. Lizotte also captured the championship in the division.
The three drivers joined the ranks of drivers like Zach Audet on Saturday, who is a multi-time champion at Wiscasset Speedway. Other returning drivers included Jeff Farrington, David Cook, Caleb Willette and more.
Zach Audet, the reigning Outlaw Mini champion, took off with the early lead over Dustin Salley in the first 10 lap qualifying heat. Brandon Lizotte was also on the move early, all over Adam Audet for third on lap 5. The drivers remained door to door through the finish, where Adam Audet edged out Brandon Lizotte at the line to round out the podium. Zach Audet took home the heat victory, followed by Dustin Salley and Adam Audet.
Tyler Field came to a stop on the track before the start of the second qualifying heat, resulting in a slight delay on the track. Once the field got rolling, Jeff Farrington pulled away with the lead. James Grover was hard charging in the opening laps of the heat, pulling to Farrington’s outside as he challenged for the top spot.
After an extended caution on lap 3 for fluid on the track, David Cook powered to the lead over Jeff Farrington. Farrington was back to challenge on the final lap, merely clinching the heat victory as James Grover rounded out the top 3.
Caleb Willette and Shane Webber went head-to-head for the early lead in the third and final heat. Webber pulled away with the early advantage and the two leaders already had a 1/2 straightaway lead over their competitors by lap 2.
Caleb Willette took a shot at the lead in the closing laps, diving to Shane Webber’s outside with just two laps to go. The two drivers went 3-wide with a lap car on the final lap and both nearly lost control in the final turn. Shane Webber held onto it as Caleb Willette and Adreonna Dodge rounded out the podium.
Once the field was set, 19 Thunder 4 Mini drivers took to the track for their 25-lap feature race. Zach Audet took off with the early lead as his competitors went 3-wide for the runner-up spot behind him. Dustin Salley capitalized on the opportunity, pulling away with the spot as Caleb Willette and David Cook tangled in turn 1.
Caleb Willette was trailing closely behind Dustin Salley on lap 9, hungry for the runner-up spot. Zach Audet continued to lead the charge at the front of the pack and began approaching lap traffic at the halfway mark.
Drivers were 3-wide for second once again on lap 18, all while battling heavy lap traffic. Dustin Salley and Caleb Willette made hard contact while involved in the heated battle, causing Salley to cut down a tire. This ultimately led to both drivers retiring to the pits as Shane Webber took over the spot.
Brandon Lizotte began knocking on David Cook’s outside door in the closing laps, challenging for third with just 2 laps to go. Cook managed to hold him off as Adam Audet pulled up to challenge for the final spot on the podium.
Adam Audet used lap traffic to his advantage on the final lap, pulling slightly ahead of Brandon Lizotte. Lizotte was back to challenge in the final turn and the two drivers were beating and banging until the bitter end, where Adam Audet secured the spot to round out the podium behind his father Zach and his fellow competitor, Shane Webber. Michael Golding rounded out the top five.
Zach Audet decided to forgo his traditional winner’s interview in Victory Lane, quickly running over to his 15-year-old son Adam so they could celebrate their achievements together as a family.
It should come to no surprise that the Audet family is sure to be a force to be reckoned with in the Thunder 4 Mini division in 2022. Week one was surely exciting for the division, and it’ll be fun seeing how it all plays out as the season rolls on.
You can catch the next Thunder 4 Mini race on Saturday, May 7th.
The fun continues at Wiscasset Speedway next Saturday, April 30th where the track will be hosting their Group 2 season opener, featuring the Late Model, Modified, Outlaw Mini, Strictly Street and Roadrunner divisions. Grandstand gate opens at 1:00 pm and the green flag flies at 2:00 pm. As always, grandstand admission is just $5 for adults and free for kids 6 & under.
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See you next time!
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