Week 3 of the 2018 NASCAR Nite Season brought heavy emotions and fierce competition to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
With clear skies and warm temperatures, it was a beautiful night for racing in Scarborough. After a cancellation due to gloomy weather last week, both drivers and fans were itching to get back to the track.
The Wildcats kicked off the racing action with their two 12-lap qualifying heats. Brian Caswell and Dan Bean started on the front row for the first heat. While Caswell pulled away with the early lead, Travis Lovejoy quickly made his way into the runner-up spot. By halfway, Lovejoy was all over Caswell for the top spot. The #21 of Dave Turner took a spin on lap 10 in turn 4, leading to a late race caution.
Caswell and Lovejoy battled it out until the very end, with Caswell taking home the heat victory as he edged Lovejoy out by a nose. This was just the start of a lot of gritty racing action that was about to unfold.
Ed Connolly and Dylan Varney started on the front row in the second Wildcats heat. Josh Childs was on the move early, charging through the field and battling Connolly for the top spot on lap 6. The two drivers made contact, causing Connolly to take a spin in turn 2. The field remained green, with Lewis Anderson finding his way into the runner-up spot behind Childs.
On the final lap, Wade Kennedy and Cole Watson tangled with each other, resulting in Watson being turned around on the backstretch. Josh Childs managed to hold off Lewis Anderson and his competitors for the heat victory.
Parker Varney and Nick Campbell started on the front row for the first Sport Series heat. Parker Varney pulled ahead with the early lead as Devin Curit quickly made way into the runner-up spot. Curit blew by Varney on the inside for the lead on lap 5, pulling away from his competitors and later taking home the heat victory.
Chasing the Checkered’s Charlie Sanborn started on the pole for the second Sport Series heat, which was a good way to kick off his 25th birthday at the track. Little did anyone know, things were going to get a little twisted later on in the night, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.
Richard Pelton started on the outside pole, with Mike St. Pierre and Matt Dow starting behind the leaders on the second row. Sanborn pulled away with the early lead, but Pelton was on his heels. Pelton drove to the outside of Sanborn on lap 3, challenging him for the top spot. He succeeded on lap 5, stealing away the top spot from the #1.
By lap 9, Pelton had distanced himself from Sanborn, gaining ground as Sanborn battled a loose race car. As Pelton ran away with the heat victory, Charlie Sanborn and Matt Dow battled tooth and nail for the runner-up spot, with Dow beating Charlie to the line by a hair.
Dan Winter and Wayne Helliwell, Jr. started on the front row for the first Pro Series heat. Helliwell took off with the lead as the #16 of Donnie Colpritt fell to the back of the pack behind him. Colpritt retired to the pits on lap 5 and the #11 of Dalton Gagnon followed suit later in the heat, pulling off of the track on lap 11. Helliwell continued his dominance, taking home the first heat victory.
Gary Smith and Corey Bubar started on the front row for the final heat, with week 2 race winner, Bill Rodgers, starting at the tail end of the field. Bubar pulled away from Smith on lap 2, speeding away and eventually taking home the heat victory.
Brian Caswell and Travis Lovejoy started on the front row for the 30-lap Wildcats feature. Heat winner Josh Childs started back in the seventh position. Caswell and Lovejoy remained head-to-head for the lead until Caswell managed to pull away with the lead on lap 5. Josh Childs was on a mission early, making his way around Cody Webster for the runner-up spot on lap 11.
After running at the front of the pack all day, the night ended devastatingly for Travis Lovejoy, who retired to the pits on lap 15. By lap 17, Josh Childs was all over Caswell for the top spot, eventually making his way around him in turn 2. Lewis Anderson took a spin on the front stretch on lap 18, landing his #81 car on the top of the sand pile in turn 1. This brought out the first caution of the feature.
It became a 3-way battle for the lead on the restart, with Josh Childs, Brian Caswell and Dave Cameron battling it out for the top spot, Ed Connolly and Cody Webster got into each other on lap 21, sending both drivers into the dirt in turns 3 and 4 and bringing out a late-race caution.
Josh Childs pulled away with the lead once more as Dave Cameron and Brian Caswell duked it out for the runner-up spot behind him. Wade Kennedy also put on a strong performance, finding his way into the fourth spot after starting toward the rear of the field. Josh Childs pulled away with the feature victory as Caswell beat Dave Cameron to the line behind him. Wade Kennedy and Cole Watson followed, rounding out the top five.
This was a big win for Josh Childs, who is competing in his first year of full-time competition at Beech Ridge. This was his first feature victory at the track for the Oxford Plains Speedway native.
The 35-lap Sport Series feature was about to bring the heat (and tensions) to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Devin Curit pulled away with the early lead, but trouble was brewing in the early laps of the race. Dave Charest took a hard hit on lap 3, with his #07 car going into the turn 1 wall.
Frank Wear took control of the lead on the restart as drivers battled it out for 2nd-5th behind him. Clyde Hennessey, Alex Lacognata, Parker Varney and Charlie Sanborn were all involved in an incident on the backstretch on lap 13. The #14 of Lacognata took the hardest hit, resulting in an extended caution as the car was pulled from the backstretch wall. This incident began a chain of events that would leave everyone talking at the end of the night.
Devin Curit and Frank Wear battled hard for the lead once the field went back to green, resulting in Wear taking a trip through the dirt in turn 4 and leading to another caution.
Tensions were rising further back in the field as Adam Lovejoy and Charlie Sanborn made contact a few times under caution, expressing their frustrations to each other about their on-track positions. After making some less-than-friendly contact in turn 4, Adam Lovejoy jumped out of his car in turn 4, greeting Charlie Sanborn at his door. Lovejoy pulled Sanborn out of his car and the two drivers duked it out in the infield before being pulled apart by track staff. The incident left both cars with damage and resulted in both drivers being ejected from the race and the track for the night.
After the bizarre extended caution period, Matt Dow powered into the lead on the restart. Jason Curtis took a spin on lap 26 in turn 4, leading to a late-race caution.
This changed the game completely, with Bubba Pelton making his way around Matt Dow for the lead on lap 31. Pelton sped away with the victory, with Matt Dow, Terry Merrill, Joe Pastore and Devin Curit rounding out the top five.
After an exciting Sport Series feature, the Pro Series drivers took to the track for the final feature of the night. Wayne Helliwell, Jr. and Dan Winter started on the front row once again, with Helliwell pulling away with the early lead. 2016 track champion and 2017 Oxford 250 winner Curt Gerry turned heads as he retired to the pits on lap 7, ending his night due to mechanical issues.
Nick Cusack was on the move in the early laps of the race, making his way to the inside of Dan Winter and challenging him for the runner-up spot on lap 13. The two drivers later tangled on lap 17 in turn 1, an incident that nearly sent Winter into the wall. Winter managed to correct his car as the field stayed green.
Dave Oliver lost power on the backstretch on lap 21, leading to a mid-race caution. Maine racing legend Mike Rowe powered into the runner-up spot on the restart, later challenging Helliwell for the top spot on lap 25. He made his way around him the following lap, setting his sights on the victory.
Trevor Sanborn was on the move in the late stages of the race, making his way around Helliwell for the #2 spot on lap 30. Gary Smith wasn’t too far behind Sanborn, making his way to the driver’s door on lap 35. He eventually took over on lap 38, swapping spots with Sanborn.
Mike Rowe held off his competitors to capture his first heat victory for the 2018 NASCAR Nite season. At 68 years old, Rowe proved that he can still stand his ground against the younger drivers in the sport. Gary Smith, Trevor Sanborn, Wayne Helliwell, Jr. and Corey Bubar followed, rounding out the top five.
The third week of NASCAR Nite competition at Beech Ridge sure didn’t disappoint and had a little something for everyone.
Congratulations to all of the winners, and we look forward to seeing everyone next Saturday, June 9th, for the first Autograph Night of the 2018 season.
Hope to see you there!