Long-time local racer now rents Unity Raceway
Unity Raceway has always been a special place for Winterport native Joey Doyon.
He used to run there and his parents, Roger and Barbie, worked on the track. His father was a member of owner Ralph Nason’s refueling team when Nason was racing, and he also owned a race car driven by Mike Harnish Sr. in the mid-1980s.
Now the longtime Winterport racer has the chance to race on the track.
He leases the Unity Raceway from Ralph Nason, who has owned it since 1980. The track has been inactive for the past few years, while being put up for sale. Doyon plans to bring motor racing back to the dirt road, and the door is open for him to eventually own the circuit.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Doyon, 40, who lives in Frankfurt with his wife Holly and their four children.
“I’m excited about this,” he added.
George Fernald, who rented the track, dug the asphalt in 2017 to turn it into a dirt road and Doyon will continue to operate it as a dirt road.
He hopes to have three or four auto races this winter as well as other events like snowmobile races.
Next season, he plans to hold auto races every other weekend. On weekends when they’re not racing, the track will be used for other events, he said.
Doyon has been working on the track over the summer, thanks in large part to sponsors and donors who provide him with the funding he needs to modernize the track and the facility. He replaced eight rows of wooden planks with new ones in the grandstand, he is also rebuilding a fence near the road and he will level the track as well.
“The track is in fairly good condition. There are a few bumps in the first round, ”said Doyon.
Many people stopped by the track to wish him luck in his new venture and to share stories with him about running Unity, he said.
Renting the track is something Doyon had in mind for several years and he developed a strong friendship with Nason who was very helpful and provided him with materials to help him upgrade the facility. .
Doyon started racing at Unity Raceway at the age of 15 and intended to race at Hermon’s Speedway 95 this season, but decided it was more important for him to work on the track at Unity and to prepare it for the winter season.
Since managing a track is something new for Doyon, he knows there are going to be some pitfalls along the way.
“I’m going to make mistakes because I haven’t been on this side of [racing] before. But I think we can do it. I have a good team around me, ”he said.
Nason is happy that Doyon is renting the track.
“I’ve known him since he was little. He has good plans for it, ”Nason said. “He’s always been a hard worker. “
Nason will not disclose the terms of the lease, but Doyon will have the option of purchasing the track.
Doyon said his wife, former Husson University basketball star and 1,000-point scorer Holly Gracie, had been very supportive and that they would host a welcoming event on Oct. 23 on Track. Live bands will perform later in the day.
The couple will host a ‘trunk or treat’ event for the kids that includes a pre-Halloween celebration with candy.
This will kick off the activities and will last from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Doyon said everyone is welcome and that he encourages racing car drivers past and present to show up in their current or vintage racing cars, including track cars.