Vintage race cars, some still bearing tire rub marks earned in some past glory, rumbled to life and roared around the course at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough Sunday afternoon as part of the track’s annual Summerfest. Cars and drivers from the Wicked Good Vintage Racing Association and the Maine Vintage Race Car Association took part under cloudy skies and humid conditions. Kids and adults lined up, helmets in hand, for the chance to ride around the track with one of the drivers. The Beech Ridge pace car kept the speeds down, and the urge to race in check, on the one-third-mile oval. Some meets are set aside for actual racing, but Sunday’s wasn’t one of them.
Some of the cars are recreations of locally famous racers, others are actual old race cars, rescued from the junk heap and brought back to life. Wallie Henderson, 65, of Litchfield has a1965 Chevy Chevelle that’s a bit of both.
“I raced a car identical to this from like ’71 to ’75″ he said. “And this one has parts from the original car in it.”
Henderson is retired from serious racing and now belongs to the Wicked Good Vintage Racing Association. He’ll be testing his skills again Sept. 8 at Speedway 95, against other antique cars.
“I’m all done with the Saturday night competitions, racing for points and getting wrecked,” he said, smiling. “This is just for fun. There’s no money, just a $12 plastic trophy at the end of the game.”
The Maine Vintage Race Car Association had their mobile museum on hand Sunday as well. It was brimming with photos and memorabilia from Maine’s current tracks and those that have closed and disappeared over the years.
“We have some things from Unity Raceway here, we have information on Speedway 95 and the old Sanford drag way,” said association treasurer Gale Libby, daughter of famous Beech Ridge racer Phil Libby.
Old black and white pictures of cars racing at the Windsor Fair Grounds, the old Waterville-Oakland Speedway and the defunct Exeter Speedway hung on the wall behind her.
The association does its best to preserve the history and legacy of Maine’s cars, tracks and racers with their museum, hall of fame and various events.
Back on the track, race cars revolved counterclockwise around the track at a relatively slow clip. Every so often a driver would gun their engine, letting out a roar. Or maybe it was just the cars challenging one another, itching to find out who was faster.