All three NASCAR Nite divisions returned to Beech Ridge this past Saturday to wrap up the 2019 regular season with 50-lap features for each division in addition to make-up features for the Sport Series and Pro Series.
After the make-up features were complete, the Wildcats returned to the track for their 12-lap qualifying heats. Rookie, Mark Grantham, took off with the early lead in the first heat. Mike Roe took a spin on lap 5 in turn 2, but the field remained green. Garrett Lamb was red-hot halfway through the heat, clearing Joe Morse for the runner-up spot on lap 6. By lap 9, he was challenging Mark Grantham for the lead and cleared him for the top spot the following lap. He went on to capture the checkered, scoring his first heat victory in a Wildcat. Mark Grantham and Joe Morse rounded out the top 3.
Nate Leavitt and Wade Kennedy went head-to-head for the early lead in the second Wildcats heat, with Nate Leavitt gaining the advantage over Kennedy on lap 3. Once Nate Leavitt made his way around Wade Kennedy, both Cole Watson and Dave Cameron quickly followed suit. Dave Cameron cleared Cole Watson for the runner-up spot on the final lap, but Nate Leavitt took home the heat victory.
Once the field was set, it was time for the 50-lap Wildcats feature. Garrett Lamb pulled away with the early lead as Joe Morse quickly made his way into the runner-up spot. Nate Leavitt was also on the move early, clearing Mark Grantham for third on lap 4. There was a 3-way battle for the lead on lap 5, with Nate Leavitt taking over the top spot.
Mark Grantham faced troubles on lap 8, falling to the back of the pack. By the halfway mark, the field was spread out among the entire track. After a strong showing all night, Garrett Lamb made the dreaded right-hand turn down to the pits shortly after the halfway mark. This move catapulted Joe Morse back into the runner-up spot.
Nate Leavitt had a full straightaway lead with just five laps to go and capitalized on that lead, taking home his final feature victory of the 2019 season. Joe Morse, Cole Watson, Travis Lovejoy and Chaz Briggs rounded out the top five.
Dave Cameron solidified his 2019 championship last week upon completing the feature race and was showered and congratulated by his team following Saturday night’s events. Mark Grantham also took home the “Rookie of the Year” honors in the division with a tenth place points finish.
The final points in the division were as follows:
1. Dave Cameron 970
2. Nathan Leavitt 919
3. Cole Watson 913
4. Ed Connolly 898
5. Wade Kennedy 888
6. Joe Morse 885
7. Dan Bean 866
8. Ray Letellier 789
9. Michael Roe 726
10. Mark Grantham 699
It’ll be interesting seeing what new drivers enter the division in 2020, move up from the Wildcats and who will be at the top of the leader board. Until then, congratulations to all of the drivers on a wildly entertaining season!