This past Saturday, the competition at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway rolled on with a full “Super Saturday” program, featuring all NASCAR Nite and Thunder divisions in addition to the Modified Racing Series.
The Thunder program kicked off the night’s events, starting with the 25-lap Beetle Bug feature. Corey Roussel’s tough luck continued as his car died on the front stretch before the start of the feature, coming to a stop in turn 4 before he was pushed to the pits.
Darryl Quinlan took off with the early lead in the feature. Dustin Salley was quick to take over the runner-up spot from Derek McKeen as Ed Johnson followed in succession. Salley continued his pursuit to the front on lap 4 as he found himself at Quinlan’s door on lap 4, challenging for the top spot. The two battled it out for a couple of laps before Salley pulled away on lap 6.
Ed Johnson was also on the move, knocking on Darryl Quinlan’s door for the runner-up spot on lap 9. Johnson took over the position the following lap as Brandon Lizotte followed, making his way from the rear of the pack to third in just ten laps.
Lizotte made way to Johnson’s door on lap 12, igniting a battle for the runner-up spot. The two fought it out for a handful of laps until Lizotte pulled away with the advantage on lap 16. By this point, Dustin Salley had extended his lead to a full straightaway over his competitors.
After a strong showing all day, Adam Warnock began to slow with just 5 laps to go, falling to the back of the pack before making the dreaded right-hand turn to the pits. Dustin Salley maintained his lead through the conclusion of the feature, picking up his second feature victory of the 2021 season.
Brandon Lizotte, who finished second, became the new point leader in the division following Saturday’s feature race. Ed Johnson, Darryl Quinlan and Josh Knoll rounded out the top five.
Following the Beetle Bugs, the Thunder program rolled on with a 25-lap Mad Bomber JV feature. Alex Wilson was strong from the start, powering away with the early lead. Brandon Williams was also on the move early, advancing into the runner-up spot on lap 5. Ryan Stuart took a spin on lap 7 in turn 4, but the field remained green.
Josh Hodgdon began to make his way through the field, advancing to fourth over Joey Israelson on lap 9. Desiree Lachance took a spin on lap 10 in turn 4, resulting in a mid-race caution.
Brandon Williams powered into the lead over Alex Wilson on the restart. While battling for third, Josh Hodgdon and Daniel Wescott made contact on lap 12. Hodgdon bounced off some of his competitors before nearly going into the turn 2 wall. Hodgdon was able to save it, but lost a few spots in the process. He was on the rebound on lap 18, going door to door with his brother, Tyler Lerman, for fifth on lap 18.
Desiree Lachance took a spin on lap 22 in turn 4. Ryan Stuart rounded the corner and made hard contact with her door, resulting in a late-race caution. Drivers were 3-wide for fifth on the restart and chaos erupted, resulting in Tyler Lerman taking a spin. The incident resulted in yet another caution and Josh Hodgdon, who was also caught up in the carnage, made his way down to the pits.
After the initial restart was called off, Brandon Williams took off with the lead once again as the field got rolling. He maintained his lead through the finish, capturing his second feature victory of the 2021 season. Alex Wilson, Daniel Wescott, Joey Israelson and Alex Smith rounded out the top five.
The Mighty Trucks took to the track next for their 25-lap feature. Drivers were 3-wide for the early lead, with Jeff Gillette, Jr. taking over the top spot. The 3-wide madness continued through lap 2, where drivers battled it out for the runner-up spot. John Curtis backed down from the battle, leaving Dave Lamson and Matt Merrill duking it out for position.
Derrick Drown, who has had a strong showing all season, came to a slow on lap 5, retiring to the pits.
Matt Merrill won the battle against Dave Lamson and immediately moved onto Jeff Gillette, Jr., knocking on his door for the top spot on lap 7. He took over the spot on the very same lap and began pulling away from his competitors.
Keith Petrin was on the move mid-race, making his way to Jeff Gillette, Sr.’s outside door on lap 12, challenging for fourth. Petrin pulled ahead with the advantage the following lap and immediately moved on to Jeff Gillette, Jr., taking over third on lap 15. Brad Weismann took a spin on lap 18 in turn 2, resulting in a late-race caution.
Matt Merrill pulled away with the lead once again on the restart as Keith Petrin quickly made his way into the runner-up spot. Merrill held Petrin off to the finish, capturing his second feature victory of the 2021 season as Keith Petrin, Jeff Gillette, Sr., Dave Lamson and Jeff Gillette, Jr. rounded out the top five.
The Mad Bomber Varsity division rounded out the Thunder competition with a final 25-lap feature. Drew Morse and Brandon Johnson battled it out for the early lead, but Morse pulled away with the slight edge in the opening laps. Seth Leeman came to a slow on the track on lap 4, coming to an eventual stop. The incident resulted in an early-race caution.
Drew Morse pulled away with the lead once again on the restart. Mike Dearden and Derrick Burnham made heavy contact on lap 6 in turn 3, resulting in Burnham heading down to the pits as the field remained green.
Brandon Johnson had reeled in Drew Morse by lap 12 and found his way to his door, challenging for the top spot. Johnson pulled away with the advantage just two laps later and never looked back, capturing his fourth feature victory of the 2021 season. Drew Morse, Paul Lund, Mike Roe and Dean Hanscom rounded out the top five.
We saw all repeat winners in Thunder Victory Lane this past Saturday. Brandon Johnson is currently the winningest driver of the 2021 season, but Josh Hodgdon is right on his heels with 3 while drivers like Brandon Williams, Matt Merrill, Keith Petrin and Taylor Graffam all have two. Will anyone catch up to Brandon this season? Only time will tell!
Catch the next week of Super Saturday racing action this coming Saturday, June 26th. The racing action kicks off at 4:00pm. Kids of all ages are now allowed in the pits and grandstand admittance is just $12 for adults and FREE for kids 12 and under!
Continue chasing the checkered and support your local short tracks. I hope to see you soon!
Featured photo credit goes to Missy Morrell!