Warm temperatures and sunny skies brought out Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s biggest crowd of the 2019 season for NASCAR Nite this past Saturday, which included the Pro Series’ 71-lap feature in celebration of the speedway’s 71st season.
The night started out with heat races for the Wildcats division, who had their big 71-lap race the week before. Tiger Colby and Dave Cameron dominated the division coming into the night, with both drivers having 3 wins and claiming all of the feature victories of the season. Would someone come in and knock them off of the top of the podium? Only time would tell.
Ray Letellier took off with the early lead in the first heat. Drivers were 3-wide for the runner-up spot from the get-go, with Ed Connolly finally claiming the spot early into the race. Connolly was tracking down Letellier in the closing laps of the race, but Letellier managed to edge him out for the heat victory. Joe Morse rounded out the top 3.
Cole Watson held the early lead in the second Wildcats heat, but Nate Leavitt was in hot pursuit behind him. Leavitt pulled to the inside of Dan Bean on lap 4, claiming the runner-up spot just one lap later. He was all over Cole Watson with two laps to go, but Watson held him off, taking home the heat victory. Dan Bean followed, completing the top 3.
After suffering heavy cosmetic damage to the rear end of his car in week 6, Chasing the Checkered driver, Dave Charest, returned to competition this past Saturday. Charest started in the front row of the first Sport Series heat next to Todd Libby, who pulled to an early lead. Devin Curit was quickly navigating through the field, making his way up to third on lap 4 after starting at the tail-end of the field. He continued his pursuit to the front on lap 7, advancing into the runner-up spot over Jason Curtis. Todd Libby took home the heat victory, followed by Devin Curit and Jason Curtis.
Another Chasing the Checkered driver, Charlie Sanborn, pulled away with a sizable lead in the early laps of the second Sport Series heat. By the halfway mark, he had a half straightaway lead over the competition as Mike St. Pierre and Ryan Phillips battled it out for the runner-up spot behind him.
After going head-to-head for the entirety of the heat, St. Pierre finally cleared Phillips on lap 7. Bubba Pelton faced troubles in the closing laps of the heat, pulling off-track into the pits on lap 8. Sanborn took home the heat victory, which was his first of the 2019 season. Ryan Phillips followed, as the battle between he and St. Pierre reignited on the final lap and he beat him to the finish line.
Nick Cusack faced some trouble during the first Pro Series heat, pulling off-track before the field went green and missing the initial start. Once the field got rolling, Dan McKeage and Donnie Colpritt were neck & neck for the lead. McKeage broke free on lap 5, pulling away from his competitors.
Mike Rowe was on his way through the field, climbing up to the runner-up spot on lap 7. He made his way to McKeage’s outside on lap 8, challenging him for the top spot and clearing him on the same lap. Donnie Colpritt cleared Dan McKeage for the runner-up spot on lap 9 with Bill Rodgers in tow. Rowe took home the heat victory, followed by Colpritt and Rodgers.
Trevor Sanborn and Dave Farrington, Jr. battled it out for the lead in the early laps of the second Pro Series heat, the final qualifying heat of the night. Farrington broke free on lap 4 and sailed off into the sunset, taking home the heat victory. Trevor Sanborn and Gary Smith rounded out the top 3.
Once the fields were set, it was time for the 30-lap Wildcats feature. Ray Letellier pulled away with the early lead, but trouble was brewing at the rear of the field. Dave Cameron took a spin on lap 2 in turn 3 as the drivers at the tail-end of the field scrambled, avoiding any contact with the #28. The incident led to the first caution of the feature.
Joe Morse was on the move following the restart, clearing Ed Connolly for the runner-up spot on lap 4. He made his way to Ray Letellier’s inside on lap 5, challenging him for the top spot. Letellier got sideways on the front stretch on lap 8, allowing Joe Morse to take advantage and take over the lead. Ed Connolly followed, pulling into the runner-up spot.
Points front-runner Dave Cameron continued to have troubles throughout the race and he nearly went around on lap 20 in turn 1, but managed to save it as the field remained green. Nate Leavitt was on the move late-race, advancing into the top 5 on lap 22 after making slight contact with the #8 of Mike Roe. He was quick in the closing laps, later advancing into third place on lap 24.
Nobody was any match for Joe Morse, as he held onto the lead and took home his first career feature victory. Ed Connolly, Nate Leavitt, Dan Bean and Cole Watson rounded out the top five.
With his third place finish, Nate Leavitt was able to pull into the points (1 point over Colby and 4 over Cameron) lead as both Dave Cameron and Tiger Colby had uncharacteristic tough weeks, finishing in the rear of the field. This proves just how important consistency is in the grand scheme of things when it comes to points.
It was a LONG time coming for Joe Morse and the #23 team and he was simply speechless during his Victory Lane speech, but celebrated by jumping on the roof of his car, waving his checkered flag proudly. This win was extra special for Morse, who is dedicating the 2019 race season to Jackson Corbeau, a local 2-year-old boy who is fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Joe and team are “Racing for Jackson” this year and he dedicated the win to Jackson and his family. To learn more about Jackson Strong Maine, please visit their Facebook page here.
Devin Curit pulled to the early lead over Todd Libby in the 35-lap Sport Series feature. Taylor Lampron-Pierce came to a slow on lap 3, making the right-hand turn to the pits.
Curt Gleason was on the move in the early laps of the feature, advancing to fourth over Ryan Phillips on lap 5. Frank Wear was also on the move early, breaking the top five on lap 8. He cleared Gleason for fourth on lap 10, continuing his pursuit to the front of the field. Gleason took a spin on lap 12 in turns 3 and 4, leading to a caution.
Frank Wear was on the move after the restart, advancing to third on lap 18. Charlie Sanborn and Terry Merrill nearly tangled on lap 22 in turn 2 while battling it out for position, but both drivers managed to hold onto it. Matt Dow and Clyde Hennessey spearheaded their own battle for the top five on lap 30, going head-to-head for the spot.
Devin Curit held off his competitors, collecting his second checkered flag of the 2019 season. Todd Libby, Frank Wear, Ryan Phillips and Clyde Hennessey followed, who had beat Matt Dow to the finish line to round out the top 5.
It was an exciting day for the Curit family, as Devin’s younger brother, Dominic, also won his feature race up at Wiscasset Speedway.
It was revealed Monday afternoon that Curit failed post-race inspection due to a shock violation and was ultimately stripped of his win and disqualified from the race. Todd Libby was awarded with the victory following this revelation, making it his first feature victory in his Rookie year in the division. With another top 5 finish, Clyde Hennessey extended his points lead to 17 points over Frank Wear. Will anyone catch up to Clyde? Only time will tell.
The Pro Series rounded out the night with their big 71-lap feature. Mike Rowe and Donnie Colpritt were head-to-head for the lead on the initial start, with Rowe finally breaking free on lap 3. Josh Childs was also on the move, clearing Bill Rodgers for third on lap 10. He went 3-wide with Donnie Colpritt and Mike Rowe for the lead on lap 11, but briefly settled into the runner-up spot. He dived to Rowe’s inside on lap 12, challenging him for the top spot once again. Rowe pulled away from Childs on lap 15 as Childs once again settled into second place. By lap 25, there was a top five breakaway at the front of the field.
Mike Rowe and Josh Childs had broken away from this front pack by the halfway point of the race, leading the charge. Dave Farrington, Jr., Donnie Colpritt and Bill Rodgers were neck & neck behind them, swapping positions back and forth with every passing lap. Gary Smith was able to catch up to this second pack on lap 47, joining the battle. Farrington broke free from the pack on lap 50, clearing Donnie Colpritt for third.
Farrington continued his pursuit to the front in the closing laps of the feature, flying by Josh Childs for the runner-up spot on lap 63. Gary Smith was also on the charge in the closing laps, advancing to fourth over Donnie Colpritt on lap 68. Travis Buzzell fell off-pace on lap 67, retiring to the pits.
Mike Rowe and Dave Farrington, Jr. took home the top two spots on the podium, which is an incredible feat after both of their cars were absolutely destroyed on the backstretch just two weeks ago. Both drivers have persevered since and haven’t given up. Josh Childs finished third, collecting his first podium finish of the 2019 season. Gary Smith and Donnie Colpritt rounded out the top five.
Dave Oliver continues to lead the points battle with a healthy 14 point lead over Dave Farrington, Jr. Gary Smith, Mike Rowe and Trevor Sanborn currently round out the top five in points. But, 14 weeks still remain in the regular season, so things can easily change in the blink of an eye.
Week 7 brought yet another new face into Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane, which was exciting for both Joe Morse and the fans. A Maine racing legend also continued to make his mark on the sport and a Rookie ultimately scored his first win. Beech Ridge and all of the competitors continue to provide entertaining racing action, week in and week out. It’ll only get more exciting as the season rolls on!
Thursday Night Thunder will attempt to get their season rolling (again) this coming Thursday, June 20th. The racing action begins at 7:00 pm. As always, adult admission is only $7 and children 12 and under get in free!
“Super Saturday” also returns this coming Saturday, June 22nd. The night will feature 125 laps for the Pro Series, 100 laps for the Sport Series and 50 laps for the Wildcats. The racing action begins at 7:00 pm. As always, adult admission is only $12 and children 12 and under get in free!
Hope to see you there!