This past weekend, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosted their final event of the 2020 open competition race season, welcoming drivers and teams from both their “Thursday Night Thunder” and “NASCAR Nite” divisions.
The day’s events kicked off with a 20-lap Beetle Bugs feature. Ed Johnson’s troubles began early as he took a spin on the initial lap of the feature, leading to the first caution of the day.
Adam Warnock took off with the lead on the restart, but Brandon Lizotte was at his door, challenging for the lead on lap 3. Derek McKeen was right there on lap 5, at the leaders’ toes. Lizotte pulled away on lap 8, capturing full ownership of the lead. Lizotte never looked back from there, capturing his 3rd and final feature victory of the 2020 season at Beech Ridge. Adam Warnock, Derek McKeen, Darryl Quinlan and Josh Knoll rounded out the top five.
The Mad Bomber Varsity took to the track next, with Mike DeKoning taking off with the early lead in the 25-lap feature. Drew Morse’s troubles began early as he took a spin on lap 1 in turn 2, resulting in an early-race caution.
Scott Eck and Mike DeKoning went head-to-head for the lead on the restart. Brandon Johnson joined the battle before taking a spin on the backstretch on lap 2. Chris Burgess followed, taking a spin in turn 3 on the same lap. Both drivers were able to fire their machines back up as the field remained green.
Scott Eck came away with the lead, but Mike DeKoning was back at his door, challenging for the lead on lap 12. The battle heated up on lap 17 as the drivers were door-to-door and Kris Knox was right on their toes. Eck took a spin on the backstretch on lap 18, but the field remained green as Kris Knox pulled away with the lead. Chris Burgess came to a slow on lap 20 in turn 3, resulting in a late-race caution.
Jason Gammon powered into the runner-up spot on the restart, but nobody was any match for Kris Knox in the closing laps as he captured another feature victory. Mike DeKoning, Drew Morse and Brandon Johnson rounded out the top five.
There was a pile-up at the tail end of the field on the initial start of the 20-lap Beetle Bugs feature. Rob Flaherty took off with the lead on the restart. Daryl Quinlan was initially in hot pursuit of the leader, but began to descend through the field in the closing laps of the race, giving up the runner-up spot to Stella Wyman. Flaherty went on to capture the feature victory as Stella Wyman and Doug Churchill rounded out the top 3.
Next on the program was the 25-lap Mad Bomber Junior Varsity feature, where Joey Israelson took off with the early lead. Taylor Graffam went around on the backstretch on the initial lap, collecting Josh Hodgdon. The incident led to an early-race caution. Graffam attempted to return to the track for the green flag, but a bum tire forced her to return to the pits once again.
Joey Israelson took off with the lead once again on the restart. Tyler Lerman made contact with another driver on lap 3 in turn 2, resulting in yet another caution.
Joey Israelson powered away with the lead once more as Danny Wescott advanced to third over Tucker Brannon on lap 8. Brannon got loose on the backstretch on lap 21, allowing Alex Smith to advance to fourth. The two drivers tangled on lap 22 in turn 3, resulting in Alex Smith taking a spin. The incident led to a late-race caution.
Israelson took off with the lead on the restart and never looked back, capturing his final feature victory of the 2020 race season. Joe Poole, Danny Wescott, Tucker Brannon and Alex Smith rounded out the top 5.
Keith Petrin took off with the early lead over Dave Lamson in the last feature race of the “Thunder” program. Derrick Drown took a spin on lap 3 in turn 4, resulting in the first caution of the feature.
Keith Petrin and Dave Lamson went head-to-head for the lead on the restart, with Petrin holding the advantage over Lamson. Derrick Drown was on the move mid-race after his prior incident, advancing to fifth over John Curtis on lap 13.
Petrin held onto the lead and never looked back, capturing the feature victory. Dave Lamson, Jeff Gillette, Sr., Brad Weismann and Derrick Drown rounded out the top five.
The 2020 open competition race season at Beech Ridge was action-packed and full of new twists and turns with every passing week. It was exciting seeing new faces in Victory Lane throughout the course of the season and I already can’t wait to see what next season brings!
Thank you to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and their staff for welcoming me with open arms all race season and making the most out of a “unique” season, to say the least. Maine tracks were lucky to get a race season this season and Beech Ridge did their best with the guidelines handed to them to put on a great show every week.
The Beech Ridge season may be over, but you can still support your local short tracks, like Wiscasset Speedway.
Wiscasset’s season continues on this coming Saturday, September 19th, with Group 1 racing in addition to the NELCAR Legends. The racing action begins at 5:00 pm and pit admission is only $20 for all.
Continue chasing the checkered and I hope to see you at a local short track soon!