The Wildcats racing action is always exciting at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, but with just 2 weeks remaining in the 2021 season, things were truly heating up on the track on Saturday.
Coming into the night, Wade Kennedy held a comfortable 16 point lead over Chaz Briggs in the division standings.
The racing action kicked off with two 10-lap qualifying heats. Ryan Lund and Kaleb Bean went head to head for the early lead in the first heat. The two drivers battled it out tooth & nail until Bean got sideways on lap 5 in turn 2, handing Lund the advantage.
Joe Morse was coming through the field in the closing laps of the race, advancing to fourth over Jason Gammon on lap 8.
Ryan Lund held strong through the finish, picking up the heat victory. Kaleb Bean and Cole Watson rounded out the top 3.
The initial start of the second heat was called off by race control, but Jacob Vaughn and Jared Kimball went door to door for the early lead once the field got rolling. The drivers continued to swap the lead back and forth until Kimball pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 7.
Rob Herrick was on the move in the closing laps of the heat, pulling to Jacob Vaughn’s inside door on lap 8 to challenge for the runner-up spot. It was a drag race to the finish, with Vaughn beating Herrick to the line as Jared Kimball picked up the heat victory.
The Wildcats closed out the night with their 30-lap feature race. Madness ensued on the initial lap as Cole Watson took the leaders 3-wide, resulting in a chain reaction as Ryan Lund spun around and the field scattered. The incident resulted in an early race caution.
Cole Watson took off with the lead on the restart as Jason Gammon quickly took over the runner-up spot. While battling for position, Joe Morse and Mark Grantham collided on lap 3 in turn 3. Grantham nearly went around, managed to save it, but ultimately fell to the back of the pack.
Jared Kimball was on the move in the early laps of the race, advancing to third over Mike Roe on lap 11. He continued his pursuit in the coming laps, making his way to Jason Gammon’s inside door on lap 13 as he challenged for the runner-up spot.
Ed Connolly took a spin on lap 13 in turn 1, sending Joe Morse for a spin and Chaz Briggs into the speed bumps. The incident resulted in a mid-race caution.
Cole Watson pulled ahead with the advantage on the restart, but trouble was brewing behind the leaders as Owen Bridges blew up on lap 16, leading to another caution. Rob Herrick was among the drivers caught in the aftermath of the mess.
Cole Watson maintained his lead on the restart, but Jared Kimball was all over his back bumper, hungry for the top spot. Dan McKeage, Jr. was also on the move, challenging his teammate, Wade Kennedy, for third on lap 22.
Joe Morse took a spin on the front stretch on lap 22, resulting in melee as Adam Lovejoy, Lyman McKeage, Shawn McKeage, Mark Grantham and Rob Herrick also got collected.
Herrick cut down a tire as a result of the madness. Herrick, who typically has a bare bones pit crew, was met at his pit pad by dozens of his competitors willing to help jack him up and get him back onto the track for the green. With the helping hands and generosity of his competitors, Herrick was successfully able to return to the track without going a lap down.
Shawn McKeage also attempted to return to the track for the drop of the green flag, but he was ultimately sent back to the pits due to his car leaking radiator fluid onto the track.
The first restart was called off by race control, but Cole Watson maintained his edge on the restart as Jason Gammon made his way into the runner-up spot.
Jared Kimball made his way back to Gammon’s inside door with 5 to go, challenging for the spot. Wade Kennedy joined the battle on the final lap, taking his competitors 3-wide for position.
Cole Watson held strong through the finish, capturing his first feature victory of the season (and his first in 3+ years) at the track. Jason Gammon, Wade Kennedy, Dan McKeage, Jr. and Chaz Briggs rounded out the top 3.
Wade Kennedy was able to further pad his points lead over Chaz Briggs going into next week’s season finale.
Who will win the crown when all is said and done? Join us next week at Beech Ridge to find out!
The Super Saturday season finale is this coming Saturday, September 11th. The night will include the season’s final Autograph Night in addition to a championship award ceremony for all divisions. It all kicks off at 4:00 pm.
Continue chasing the checkered and support your local short tracks. I hope to see you soon!
Cover photo credit: Jamie Williams – Finish Line Photography