This past Saturday, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosted week #3 of their 2021 season, welcoming both Thunder and NASCAR Nite divisions. The Pro Series kicked off the NASCAR Nite portion with yet another 75-lap main event.

Last week, Bill Rodgers took home the victory in the division after Corey Bubar scored his season opening win. The division remains highly competitive week-in and week-out, with each week providing new twists and turns. This week was no different.

Alan Tardiff and Joe Pastore went head to head for the early lead in the first 12-lap qualifying heat. Pastore pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 3. Dave Oliver was also on the move early, overtaking Alan Tardiff for the runner-up spot on lap 4. He was at Pastore’s door the following lap, challenging for the top spot. Oliver pulled ahead on lap 8 and never looked back, securing the heat victory. Joe Pastore and Alan Tardiff rounded out the top 3.

Corey Bubar took off with the early lead in the second and final Pro Series heat as Trevor Sanborn quickly moved into the runner-up spot over Gary Smith. Bubar and Sanborn went door-to-door for the lead on lap 2 and remained close, although Bubar held the slight advantage.

Week 2 winner, Bill Rodgers, was on the move mid-race, advancing to third over Gary Smith on lap 6. He was at Trevor Sanborn’s door for the runner-up spot the following lap and the 3 leaders remained neck & neck for the remainder of the heat. Bubar ultimately scored the heat victory over Trevor Sanborn. The two drivers made contact following the finish and Sanborn went for a wild spin through turns 1 and 2. Gary Smith, beating Bill Rodgers to the line, rounded out the top 3.

Once the field was set, 13 drivers took to the track for the 75-lap feature. Dave Oliver pulled away from his competitors early, taking off with the lead. Bill Rodgers was on the move early, all over Corey Bubar for fourth on lap 6. Gary Smith was right on his toes, joining the battle for position on lap 10 and pulling away with the advantage over Rodgers just one lap later.

Smith continued his pursuit on lap 14, challenging Bubar for fourth. While battling it out, the two drivers caught up to Joe Pastore and Gary Smith overtook both drivers, seizing the third place position. Wyatt Alexander was all over Corey Bubar for fifth on lap 24, hungry for a spot in the top five. The two drivers battled cleanly for over a dozen laps before Alexander finally took over the spot on lap 45. After a solid showing all day, Alan Tardiff came to a slow on lap 48, pulling to the pits.

Dave Oliver was on rails, pulling ahead to a full half track lead with just 25 laps to go. Corey Bubar came back to life in the closing laps of the feature, reigniting his battle with Wyatt Alexander for fifth on lap 59 before overtaking the position the following lap. After a strong performance throughout the day, Gary Smith had a right front tire go down on lap 66, sending him into the turn 4 wall. The incident was a heartbreaking end to Smith’s day and also led to a late-race caution.

Smith’s downfall completely changed the game as Trevor Sanborn and Joe Pastore overtook Dave Oliver on the restart after Oliver displayed dominance throughout the entire course of the race. The two drivers went nose-to-nose to the checkered, with Sanborn beating Pastore to the line by a hair. Margin of victory? .079 seconds. Dave Oliver, Travis Buzzell and Corey Bubar rounded out the top five.

The victory was momentous (and emotional) for Trevor Sanborn and the #29 team. Toward the end of last season, Sanborn was hospitalized and fighting for his life after being diagnosed with double pneumonia and sepsis. Sanborn still faces setbacks from his health scare in his daily life, but has since returned to racing and continues to be competitive, even when faced with adversity. Sanborn thanked his family, friends and team that has stayed by his side in his Victory Lane speech.

Sanborn’s well-fought win was one for the memory books and everyone was a Trevor Sanborn fan on Saturday night.

So far this season, we have already seen three different feature winners in the Pro Series division. Drivers like Joe Pastore and Travis Buzzell continue to be competitive and it’ll be interesting seeing how many different winners the division will have this season.

Stay tuned for week 4 of Beech Ridge competition, coming next Saturday, May 22nd. The racing action kicks off at 4:00 pm. Kids of ALL AGES are now allowed in the pits. Grandstand admission 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!