With clear skies and warm temperatures, Saturday was a picture-perfect day for some racing action and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s third week of NASCAR Nite competition. Would Dave Cameron win his third Wildcats feature in a row? Would we see a first-time winner? Would there be carnage on the backstretch again? Only time would tell.
After being the feature division last week, the Sport Series division took to the track first for their 12-lap qualifying heats. Todd Libby took off with the early lead in the first heat, but trouble was brewing further back in the field. Taylor Lampron-Pierce took a spin during the first heat, making contact with Dave Charest, which led to an early-race caution.
Lampron stayed on track to take the green, but took the right turn into the pits on lap 2 as Libby powered his way back into the lead. After piecing his car back together following last week’s carnage, Frank Wear had broken into the top 3 by the halfway mark. He made his way to the inside of Mike St. Pierre on lap 8, challenging him for the runner-up spot. He cleared him that lap, then setting his sights on Libby at the front of the field.
Wear made his way to Libby’s outside on the final lap and edged him out at the line, taking home the heat victory. Mike St. Pierre rounded out the top 3.
Ryan Phillips powered into the early lead in the second Sport Series heat as Matt Dow quickly maneuvered his way from fourth to second place. Chasing the Checkered driver, Charlie Sanborn, was on the move early, breaking the top 3 on lap 3.
Matt Dow made his way to Ryan Phillips’ outside on lap 4, challenging him for the top spot. He cleared Phillips the following lap, pulling away from the competition. Joey Pastore cleared Sanborn for the third spot on lap 8 as Charlie descended back to sixth place, getting hung out to dry in the outer groove. Matt Dow took home the feature victory, followed by Ryan Phillips and Joey Pastore.
Drivers were 3-wide on the initial start of the first Pro Series heat, with Dan McKeage taking over the lead as Charlie Colby descended through the field. Josh Childs pulled to McKeage’s outside on lap 3, challenging him for the top spot while Trevor Sanborn lingered closely behind the two leaders.
Charlie Colby fell off-pace on lap 8, retiring his #72 machine to the pits. Josh Childs remained neck & neck with Dan McKeage for the lead until the last second, with Childs edging McKeage out by a nose at the finish line. Trevor Sanborn rounded out the top 3.
Dave Oliver got sideways on the initial start of the second Pro Series heat, allowing Brandon Barker to pull away with the early lead. Travis Buzzell was on the move early, quickly taking over the runner-up spot. By lap 6, he was on Barker’s tail, hungry for the top spot. The two made contact and Buzzell sent Barker for a spin on the front stretch on lap 9, leading to a caution. Barker wasn’t happy with Buzzell’s actions and gave Buzzell a tap under yellow, showing the #3 driver his disapproval.
Dave Oliver powered to the lead once again on the restart and eventually took home the heat victory. Travis Buzzell and Corey Bubar followed, rounding out the top 3.
Ray Letellier took off with the early lead over Dan Bean in the first Wildcats heat as Mike Roe followed suit. Nate Leavitt was also on the move, breaking the top 3 on lap 5. Tiger Colby was on the move during the final lap of the heat, quickly advancing into the runner-up spot over Mike Roe and giving Ray Letellier a run for his money. Letellier managed to hold him off, securing the heat victory. Mike Roe rounded out the top 3.
Ed Connolly powered into the early lead in the final heat of the night, but Dave Cameron was quickly charging his way to the front. Cameron was challenging to Connolly’s outside by lap 2, eventually clearing him for the lead on lap 4. He took home yet another heat victory, followed by Ed Connolly and Wade Kennedy.
After the fields were set, the Sport Series took to the track for their 35-lap feature. Devin Curit faced trouble before the feature racing even started, having to be pulled away on the tow hook ,therefore eliminating him from the competition. Once the field got rolling, there was a crazy (and messy!) initial start, which was called off by race control.
The field took the green after their second attempt and Frank Wear took off with the lead. Jason Curtis took a wild spin in the middle of the pack on lap 1, miraculously avoiding making contact with any of his competitors. The incident led to the first caution of the feature.
Matt Dow powered into the runner-up spot over Todd Libby on lap 10 and pulled to the outside of Frank Wear on the same lap, challenging Wear for the top spot. Joey Pastore cut down a right front tire on lap 11 after making contact with the #12 of Terry Merrill on lap 11, leading to another caution as both drivers headed down to the pits. Todd Libby also unexpectedly headed to the pits under yellow and both Pastore and Libby made it back onto the track for the restart, but Merrill did not. The initial start was called off by race control, which was a huge break for Merrill, who returned to the track in time for the second restart.
Matt Dow and Frank Wear were neck & neck for the lead on the restart. By lap 20, there was a 4-car breakaway at the front of the field. Dow and Wear made hard contact on lap 25 in turn 4, changing the tune of the race entirely as the caution came out. The incident left last week’s winner, Clyde Hennessey, as the new leader.
Drivers were 3-wide for third on the restart, with Charlie Sanborn getting the upper hand over his competitors. Mike St. Pierre was still lingering closely behind, ready to strike. Dave Charest took a spin in turn 3 after the restart, but the field remained green. Clyde Hennessey and Bubba Pelton spearheaded their own battle as Mike St. Pierre and Charlie Sanborn also battled it out behind them in the closing laps.
Clyde Hennessey finally cleared Bubba Pelton on the final lap, taking home the victory (his second in a row!) as Mike St. Pierre edged out Charlie Sanborn for the final podium spot. Joey Pastore rounded out the top five.
Josh Childs took off with the early lead in the 40-lap Pro Series feature, but Trevor Sanborn was all over his back bumper by lap 3. Dave Oliver was also on the move early, breaking the top 4 on lap 8.
Gary Smith began his pursuit to the front early, clearing Trevor Sanborn for the runner-up spot on lap 14. He made his way to Josh Childs’ outside the following lap, challenging him for the lead and eventually clearing him the following lap. Dave Oliver hit his stride mid-race, powering into the runner-up spot on lap 19.
Travis Buzzell broke the top 5 on lap 23 and later advanced into fourth over Josh Childs on lap 27. The #90 of Craig Weinstein took a spin on lap 30 in turns 3 and 4, leading to the first caution of the feature. Brandon Barker slammed into him, causing heavy body damage to the right front of the #88 machine.
The top 3 of Oliver, Smith and Buzzell were neck & neck at the front of the field with just 5 laps to go in the feature. Dave Oliver held off the competition, collecting his first (and emotional) feature victory of the 2019 NASCAR Nite season, snapping a 4-winless streak. Gary Smith, Travis Buzzell, Trevor Sanborn and Nick Cusack rounded out the top five.
Tiger Colby powered into the early lead in the third and final feature of the night. Nate Leavitt was on the move early, overtaking Ray Letellier for the runner-up spot on lap 5. Mike Roe, Joe Morse and Dave Cameron followed in succession, dropping Letellier back to sixth. Dave Cameron’s #28 machine began smoking on lap 11, but he made his way to the inside of Mike Roe, challenging him for third. Cameron got loose on lap 12, allowing Mike Roe to distance himself from the #28.
After the two drivers battled it out for a handful of laps, Wade Kennedy finally cleared Joe Morse for fifth place on lap 19. Dave Cameron and Mike Roe made contact on lap 22 in turn 3, which sent Roe spinning and led to the first caution of the feature. After 2 solid weeks which were followed by bad luck, Roe’s woes continued for the third week in a row.
Tiger Colby pulled away once again on the restart as Dave Cameron cleared Nate Leavitt for the runner-up spot. Joe Morse was on the move in the closing laps of the feature, breaking the top 4 on lap 24. Nate Leavitt made his way to Dave Cameron’s inside on lap 25, clearing him for the runner-up spot the following lap.
Tiger Colby held off the competition, taking home his first career Wildcats victory at Beech Ridge, followed by Nate Leavitt. Dave Cameron brought home a podium finish, but it was quite the spectacle when his #28 machine burst into flames in Victory Lane and Nate Leavitt put out the fire for him. Joe Morse and Wade Kennedy rounded out the top five.
With week 3 came a first-time victor, a driver snapping a long, winless drought and another driver capturing his second-straight victory. Lots of close, hard racing excited the fans for the third week in a row, leaving them with excitement for the 18 weeks to come.
The racing action continues this coming Saturday, May 25th, with 50-lap feature races for ALL 3 divisions! The racing action begins at 7:00 pm. Adult admission is only $12 and as always, children 12 and under get in free! We hope to see you there!
Thank you to my website sponsors, Texas Roadhouse Scarborough, Four Season Synthetic and Drown Excavation, for all of their support and thank you to Trevor Sanborn Motorsports for supporting Chasing the Checkered in 2019 and sporting my CTC stickers on the #29 machine!