This past Saturday, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosted their 2021 season opener. The opener was the first of four weeks of open competition before the competitive points season kicks off in June. With the track doing away with their age restrictions in the pits, the speedway saw an influx of families in the pit area and drivers on the roster in each division.
Ivan Kaffel, Alan Tardiff and Joey Doiron were among the “newcomers” on the Pro Series roster that have typically raced at other tracks on a weekly basis in the past. Nick Reno, a driver that calls Wiscasset Speedway his home, joined the open competition on Saturday as well.
The day’s competition started out with two 12-lap qualifying heats. Joey Doiron took off with the early lead over Bill Rodgers in the first qualifying heat. Travis Buzzell was also on the move mid-race, challenging Dave Oliver for third on lap 7. He took over the spot just one lap later, setting his sights on Bill Rodgers in the runner-up spot.
Joe Pastore, the former Sport Series champion, found himself at Dave Oliver’s door in the closing laps of the heat, challenging for fourth. Oliver was able to hold him off to the checkered as Joey Doiron, Bill Rodgers and Travis Buzzell took home the top three spots.
Corey Bubar, Nick Cusack and Garrett Hall took off with a tight-knit battle for the lead in the second and final qualifying heat. Bubar held the slight edge on lap 5, but Cusack was knocking at his door once again just two laps later. Corey Bubar pulled ahead once again on the final lap as Nick Cusack and Garrett Hall battled it out for the runner-up spot behind him. Hall beat Cusack to the line while Bubar took home the heat victory.
The Pro Series 75-lap feature was the highlight event of the night with 17 competitors taking the green flag. Corey Bubar and Joey Doiron were beating and banging for the early lead, with Bubar holding the early advantage over his competitors. Travis Buzzell, Bill Rodgers and Garrett Hall spearheaded a 3-way battle for third on lap 5. While battling for position, Hall bobbled a bit, losing some ground as Buzzell took over the spot.
Trevor Sanborn was also on the move early, at Bill Rodgers’ door for fourth on lap 12. The two battled it out for a couple of laps before Sanborn took over the spot on lap 15. Stephen Chicione took a spin on lap 36 in turn 1, resulting in the first caution of the feature. Wyatt Alexander’s day also came to an abrupt end on the restart as the #96 machine faced a mechanical issue, causing the driver to come to a stop on the backstretch. Alexander’s woes led to another quick caution.
The initial restart was called off as the inside line got a huge jump on the outside line. As Bubar and Doiron hashed it out for the lead once again on the full restart, Joe Pastore powered to fourth over Travis Buzzell. After racing side by side for a handful of laps, Bubar took off with the lead once again.
Joe Pastore was still digging in the closing laps of the race, challenging Trevor Sanborn for third on lap 45. The two fought it out for a handful of laps before Pastore took over the spot on lap 50. The front pack remained close, with Travis Buzzell pulling back up to Pastore’s back bumper with just ten laps to go. The following lap, Buzzell was at Pastore’s door. Pastore held a slight advantage over Buzzell on lap 67, but Buzzell reignited the challenge with just two laps to go. Pastore held strong, coming home third behind Corey Bubar and Joey Doiron. Travis Buzzell and Trevor Sanborn rounded out the top five.
Corey Bubar, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s driver of the decade, was on rails all day Saturday with both a heat and feature victory. He continues to be a fierce competitor week in & out, displaying strong finishes wherever he races. The feature win on Saturday certainly set the bar for the #12 team and it will be interesting seeing how that momentum propels Corey and team throughout the 2021 season.
There is still PLENTY of race season left for drivers to join the competition, as this is just the beginning of a long AND fun season of racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Catch the next open competition event next Saturday, May 8th, at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Kids of ALL AGES can now enter the pits. Grandstand admission is only $12 and kids 12 and under get FREE grandstand admittance as well.
Continue chasing the checkered & support your local short tracks. I hope to see you soon!