Drivers and teams returned to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday night for the fourth installment of the 2019 NASCAR Nite program. Saturday was a mirror image of opening day, with all 3 divisions scheduled for 50-lap feature races. With impending weather on the way, the track wasted no time in getting the program rolling and getting the cars onto the track.
The Wildcats were first on the board, with Kaleb Bean taking the early lead in the first 12-lap heat. Mike Roe, who has shown strength in the early weeks of the season, was on the move, breaking the top 3 on lap 5. Nobody was any match for Kaleb Bean, as he rolled into the heat victory. Ray Letellier and Mike Roe finished out the top 3.
Nate Leavitt powered into the early lead in the second Wildcats heat. Drivers were 3-wide for the runner-up spot on lap 1, with Cole Watson taking over the position. Adam Lovejoy was back on track on Saturday, breaking the top 3 on lap 4. Last week’s victor, Tiger Colby, was also on the move, making his way into the fourth spot at the halfway mark. Leavitt took home the heat victory, followed by Cole Watson and Tiger Colby.
Devin Curit held the early advantage in the first Sport Series heat, pulling away from his competitors. Todd Libby wasn’t too far behind and the two leaders had a 2-car breakaway at the front of the field by halfway. Devin Curit took home the heat victory, followed by Todd Libby. Chasing the Checkered driver, Dave Charest, battled it out for the entirety of the heat race with Jason Curtis and beat him to the line, finishing out the top 3.
Matt Dow pulled away with the early lead in the second Sport Series heat with Terry Merrill quickly making his way into the runner-up spot. There was another 2-car breakaway at the halfway mark with the rest of the field gridlocked behind the two leaders, battling it out for position. Dow took home the heat victory, followed by Terry Merrill and Mike St. Pierre.
Charlie Colby took off with the early lead in the first Pro Series heat. Trevor Sanborn faced troubles in the second half of the heat, heading down to the pits on lap 7. Colby later sailed away with the heat victory, followed by Brandon Barker and Dan McKeage.
Travis Buzzell showed more strength in week 4, taking off with the lead in the final Pro Series heat on lap 3. Dave Farrington was charging to the front of the pack, powering into the runner-up spot on lap 4. Corey Bubar broke the top 4 on lap 8 as Bill Rodgers, who had an uncharacteristic tough day, fell to the back of the pack. Travis Buzzell took home the heat victory, followed by Dave Farrington and Gary Smith.
After the fields were set, the Wildcats hit the track for their 50-lap feature. Ray Letellier moved into the early lead on lap 2. Joe Morse was also on the move early, breaking the top 4 on lap 5. Dan Bean began his voyage through the field, climbing into the runner-up spot on lap 8. Morse was still climbing, breaking the top 3 on lap 10. Come lap 15, Dan Bean was all over Letellier for the top spot.
Mike Roe faced more troubles in week 4, taking a spin on lap 17 that led to the first caution of the feature. Ed Connolly and Phil Chapman made contact on the restart in turn 2, resulting in another caution. Under the yellow, Joe Morse and Nate Leavitt tangled in turn 1. Both drivers were able to get their spots back, as the field was already yellow at the time of their incident. Morse faced more trouble on the restart, coming to a slow on the backstretch as the yellow flag waved once again.
In a shocking turn of events, race leader, Ray Letellier, took the right-hand turn to the pits under caution. This sent his competitor, Dan Bean, into the lead. Tiger Colby and Nate Leavitt made contact on the front stretch on lap 22, resulting in Leavitt taking another spin. The incident led to yet another mid-race caution.
Dave Cameron was all over Tiger Colby for the runner-up spot on the restart, but Colby was able to pull away from him, setting his sights on Dan Bean at the front of the field. After his previous troubles, Nate Leavitt was on the move again, breaking the top 5 on lap 38.
By lap 42, the two leaders had a 1/2 straightaway lead over the rest of the field. Tiger Colby was quickly catching up to Dan Bean in the closing laps. The two drivers made contact on lap 45, which allowed Bean to get free enough so Colby could make his move on the outside.
Colby made his way into the lead on lap 47 at the start/finish line and held Dan Bean off, sailing into his second consecutive feature victory. Dave Cameron came away in third, scoring another podium finish. Mike Roe followed, scoring his first top five finish of the season. Nate Leavitt rounded out the top five.
The 50-lap Sport Series feature started with a chaotic start that sent Jason Curtis, Terry Merrill and Ryan Phillips backwards through the field. Todd Libby was also black flagged on the initial start, forcing him to take a trip down to the pits. Once the field got settled, Devin Curit pulled away with the early lead as Frank Wear quickly made his way into the runner-up spot.
Matt Dow was on the move, taking over the third place spot from Dave Charest on lap 6. Joey Pastore also began his voyage through the field, cracking the top 5 on lap 10. Dow was moving through the field quickly, advancing to the runner-up spot over Frank Wear on lap 11. Chasing the Checkered driver, Charlie Sanborn, showed strength in the early laps of the feature, moving into sixth on lap 12.
Jim Colpritt faced more troubles in week 4, heading down to the pits on lap 14. Last week’s winner, Clyde Hennessey, made his way around Frank Wear on lap 35 as Joey Pastore and Charlie Sanborn followed in succession. Dave Charest took a spin on lap 18 in turn 1, leading to the first caution of the feature.
The outside line lost momentum on the restart as Matt Dow took off with the lead once again, leading to an accordion effect that left a cluster on the back stretch as drivers attempted not to pile-drive one another. The incident left both Joey Pastore and Charlie Sanborn with damage, but Charlie ended up with the short end of the stick. His right front tie rod broke and tore apart the right front substantially, leading to a heartbreaking end to the night for the #1 Sanborn Racing Enterprises team.
Frank Wear advanced to third over Clyde Hennessey on lap 28 as Terry Merrill, Joey Pastore and Bubba Pelton all followed his lead. After losing a handful of spots, Hennessey made the right turn down to the pits on lap 30. Terry Merrill was on the move in the second half of the race, advancing into the runner-spot over Joey Pastore on lap 35. Pastore had lost a couple of spots, but was on the charge late-race, clearing Terry Merrill for fourth with just two laps to go.
Matt Dow was able to hold off the competition, taking home his first (and emotional) feature victory of the 2019 race season. Devin Curit, Frank Wear, Joey Pastore and Terry Merrill rounded out the top five.
Brandon Barker, who won last week’s Granite State Pro Stock Series race at Lee USA Speedway, took off with the early lead in the final feature of the night. Gary Smith took a spin on the front stretch on lap 9, leading to an early-race caution.
Race control called off 3 restarts, but the 2 leaders remained on the front row. Charlie Colby took control of the lead on the restart, but Brandon Barker was glued to his side. Colby took a spin as he and Barker were battling it out for position on lap 14, leading to another caution. This was followed by Colby taking another spin on the restart, leading to another yellow.
Dan McKeage, who had sneaked his way into the lead at the time of the caution, had leader lane choice on the restart and elected to start from the outside lane. Brandon Barker ended up with the advantage on the restart but Dave Farrington was quickly on the move, taking over the lead.
Travis Buzzell was on a mission mid-race, advancing into the runner-up spot over Brandon Barker on lap 24 as Dave Oliver followed. Mike Rowe was also on the move throughout the second half of the race, breaking the top 5 on lap 33. Nick Cusack, who had a strong showing all night, retired his #2 machine to the pits on lap 34. Mike Rowe advanced to the fourth spot over Trevor Sanborn on lap 39. Charlie Colby’s troubles continued on lap 42 as he went around in turn 1, leading to a late-race caution.
Dave Farrington maintained his edge on the restart as Dave Oliver and Travis Buzzell battled it out for the runner-up spot behind him. Oliver finally cleared Buzzell on lap 45, then setting his sights on Farrington at the front of the field. Mike Rowe was still digging in the closing laps, breaking the top 3 with just 3 laps to go. Dave Farrington was able to hold off his competitors, taking home his first feature victory of the 2019 season. Dave Oliver, Mike Rowe, Travis Buzzell and Trevor Sanborn followed, rounding out the top five.
All in all, the track and all of the teams battled the weather head-on and won, successfully putting on a great show for the fans. Some new faces landed in Victory Lane this week, proving just how competitive and evenly matched all 3 fields are this season.
The NASCAR Nite season rolls on next Saturday. The night will feature the 71-lap race for the Sport Series and the racing action begins at 7:00 pm. Adult admission is only $12 and as always, children 12 and under get in free! See you there!