This past Saturday, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosted what could potentially be their final season finale in track history. The Pro Series were the premier division of the night, with Gary Smith and Rusty Poland coming into the night in a deadlocked tie for the track championship. Corey Bubar was also in the hunt, sitting just 10 points behind his competitors in the point standings.
The Pro Series competition kicked off with one 12 lap qualifying heat. Travis Buzzell powered to the early lead, pulling away from his competitors. Gary Smith also got a big jump early, separating himself and Rusty Poland by 3 positions.
Joe Pastore was hungry for the lead on lap 4, challenging Travis Buzzell for the top spot. The two drivers battled it out for a couple of laps until Pastore pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 6.
Joe Pastore maintained his advantage through the finish, picking up the heat victory while Travis Buzzell and Nick Cusack rounded out the top 3.
Gary Smith finished the heat one position ahead of Rusty Poland, who finished in eighth. This gave Smith a one point advantage over Poland going into the feature.
11 drivers took to the track for the 40 lap feature, which was the final event of the night. Joe Pastore took off with the early lead in the feature as Travis Buzzell powered into the runner-up spot behind him.
Gary Smith broke the top five on lap 4, giving him a two car advantage over Rusty Poland.
Travis Buzzell was all over Joe Pastore for the top spot on lap 10, eventually pulling to his inside the following lap. The two drivers went door to door until lap 13, where Pastore pulled ahead with the advantage.
Corey Bubar began his pursuit to the front mid-race, overtaking Travis Buzzell for the runner-up spot on lap 23. He tracked down Joe Pastore in the coming laps, eventually pulling to Pastore’s inside door on lap 27. While battling for position, the two drivers made contact on lap 28 in turn 4, resulting in Bubar losing ground and Pastore pulling away.
Pastore and Bubar reignited their battle with 5 laps to go and made contact once again on lap 38 in turn 4. It was a true drag race to the finish, with Pastore beating Bubar to the line and ultimately collecting his second victory of the night.
Travis Buzzell, Dave Oliver and Gary Smith rounded out the top five.
With his fifth place finish, Gary Smith captured the 2021 track championship. This was the first career Pro Series championship for Smith, who is 65 years old and travels from Bangor to Scarborough to race each and every week. Following the race, Smith celebrated his big accomplishment with family and friends, which included both his children and grandchildren.
While Smith picked up the track championship, Dave Oliver was crowned the 2021 NASCAR champion at the track and Wyatt Alexander picked up well-deserved “Rookie of the Year” honors in the division.
The season ended with a bang in the Pro Series and the surprises (unfortunately) continued before the championship award ceremony took place as track owner, Andy Cusack, announced that the track is currently under contract by an out of state real estate developer.
Sadness, frustration and sorrow flooded the front stretch, but track announcer, Andy Austin, kept perfect composure as he announced the champions to the sad, but supportive, crowd.
With the future of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway unknown, PLEASE make sure to support the track staff and competitors on Thursday, September 23rd, which could very well be the track’s final night of competition. The racing action kicks off at 7:00 pm. Let’s flood the pit and grandstand area and send BRMS off with a bang!
If you would like to create positive change in our racing community and brainstorm/share ideas on how we can save our track, please join the Save Beech Ridge Speedway group on Facebook.
Until then, continue chasing the checkered and support your local short tracks. This is more imperative now than ever before.
Please reach out if you need a somebody to talk to. #weareBRMS and we WILL get through this together.
Cover photo credit goes to my wonderful future Mother in Law, Sue Walker.