This week, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosted another full “Super Saturday” race program, featuring all NASCAR Nite and Thunder divisions. The night was also special due to the fact that it was the season’s first Autograph Night, a yearly tradition where fans can “touch a racecar”, collect hero cards and meet and greet with ALL drivers on the front stretch following the conclusion of the night’s events.
The Beetle Bugs kicked off the program with their 25-lap feature. Adam Warnock took off with the early lead, pulling away from his competitors. Brandon Lizotte and Dustin Salley went door to door for third early, with Lizotte taking over the spot on lap 5 and quickly mowing down Butch Keene for the runner-up spot.
Brandon Lizotte was still hungry for more, going head to head with his teammate and friend, Adam Warnock, for the lead on lap 8. The two drivers briefly battled it out before Lizotte pulled ahead on lap 9.
While battling for position, Butch Keene took a trip through the backstretch dirt on lap 10, ultimately losing a handful of positions.
Ed Johnson was on the move in the second half of the feature, advancing to third over Dustin Salley on lap 15. Salley wasn’t giving up, pulling back up to Johnson’s door on lap 16. The two drivers battled it out for a handful of laps before Dustin Salley pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 20.
Dustin Salley was still on the warpath in the closing laps of the feature, knocking on Adam Warnock’s door for the runner-up spot on lap 22 before taking over the spot the following lap.
Brandon Lizotte was off and away at this point, extending his point lead and adding yet another feature victory to his resume. Dustin Salley, Adam Warnock, Ed Johnson and Darryl Quinlan rounded out the top five.
The Mad Bomber Junior Varsity division took to the track next for another 25-lap feature. Daniel Wescott pulled ahead with the early advantage, but Josh Hodgdon was at his door on lap 2, hungry for the top spot. Ryan Stuart took a spin on lap 3 in turn 4, resulting in an early-race caution.
Josh Hodgdon pulled ahead with the advantage on the restart as Daniel Wescott and Alex Smith battled it out for the runner-up spot behind him. Derrick Burnham went up in smoke on lap 5, resulting in another yellow flag.
Josh Hodgdon took off with the lead on the restart. Trouble was brewing once again as David Roberts took a spin in front of the leaders on lap 16, resulting in a late-race caution.
Josh Hodgdon held his ground on the restart, but Alex Smith was still on his heels. Joey Israelson was also coming to life in the closing laps of the feature, advancing to third over Daniel Wescott on lap 19. Alex Wilson then spearheaded a battle with Daniel Wescott for fourth, resulting in Wilson taking over the position.
Taylor Graffam took a spin on lap 21 in turn 2, drawing out the yellow flag. Josh Hodgdon managed to pull away once again on the restart as Joey Israelson and Alex Smith duked it out for the runner-up spot behind him.
Hodgdon sailed into the victory, picking up his fourth checkered flag of the 2021 season. Alex Smith beat Joey Israelson to the line, coming home with a runner-up finish. Alex Wilson and Brandon Williams rounded out the top five.
Following the NASCAR Nite heats, the Mighty Trucks took to the track for their 25-lap feature. Trace Ayers held the early advantage, but was split 3-wide by his competitors for the lead on lap 2, with Jeff Gillette, Jr. taking over the top spot.
Derrick Drown took a spin on lap 4 in turn 2, collecting Matt Merrill. Trace Ayers was also caught up, taking a spin. The incident resulted in the first caution of the feature.
There was another 3-wide battle for the lead on the restart, with Jeff Gillette, Sr. taking over the reins as Keith Petrin followed in his footsteps. Dave Lamson and Brad Weismann ignited a head to head battle for third on lap 6, with Weismann taking over the spot the following lap.
Keith Petrin made way to Jeff Gillette, Sr.’s door on lap 9, challenging for the top spot. A little further on back, Matt Merrill was on the rebound, at Jeff Gillette, Jr.’s door for fifth on lap 13. There were battles for position all around the track as Dave Lamson and Brad Weismann also reignited their battle for third on lap 15.
Weismann pulled away with third once again as Matt Merrill broke the top 5 on lap 16. John Curtis took a spin on the backstretch on lap 17, resulting in a late-race caution.
Jeff Gillette, Sr. and Keith Petrin heated up their battle for the lead on the restart as Matt Merrill and Dave Lamson duked it out for fourth further on back. Merrill advanced position on lap 20 and immediately moved onto Brad Weismann, quickly taking over third. He was hungry for more, going head to head with Keith Petrin for the runner-up spot on the final lap.
Jeff Gillette, Sr. held his ground in the closing laps and picked up another feature victory, extending his point lead in the division. Matt Merrill beat Keith Petrin to the line, securing a runner-up finish as Brad Weismann and Dave Lamson rounded out the top 5.
The Mad Bomber Varsity division rounded out the Thunder program with another 25-lap feature. Drew Morse took off with the early lead, pulling away from his competitors. Richard Bourgeois-Lang took a spin on the initial lap in turn 3, but the field remained green.
Paul Lund made his way to Drew Morse’s door on lap 4, challenging for the top spot. The two drivers battled it out for a couple of laps before Lund pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 7.
Brandon Johnson, a dominating force in the division in 2021, advanced to fourth on lap 11 after starting the feature from the tail-end of the field. He made his way to Dean Hanscom’s door on lap 15, challenging for third before advancing position just three laps later.
Paul Lund maintained his edge through the closing laps of the feature, picking up his first feature victory of the 2021 season as Drew Morse and Brandon Johnson rounded out the top 3.
Drivers like Brandon Lizotte, Josh Hodgdon, Jeff Gillette, Sr. and Brandon Johnson continue to display dominance in their respected divisions this season while other drivers like Paul Lund and Matt Merrill continue to strengthen and step it up with each and every passing week.
Who will be the next new face in Thunder Victory Lane this season? Stay tuned to find out!
Catch the next week of Super Saturday racing action this coming Saturday, June 3rd. The night will feature all divisions in addition to the annual Miller Lite American Celebration fireworks display. The racing action kicks off at 4:00 pm.
Continue chasing the checkered and support your local short tracks. I hope to see you soon!
Featured cover photo credit: Jamie Williams at Finish Line Photography!