This past Sunday, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway track staff came together to host a last-minute event, giving all NASCAR Nite drivers one last opportunity to race at the track. Track owner, Andy Cusack, recently announced that the track is currently under contract by out of state developers.
With the future of the track currently in limbo, dozens of competitors flooded the pit area to take part in the sendoff event. 20 drivers showed up to compete in the Wildcats division. Following track tradition, they kicked off the NASCAR Nite program.
The competition kicked off with 2 qualifying heat races. Rob Herrick took off with the early lead in the first heat. Trouble was brewing behind the leaders as Mark Grantham and Ryan Robbins collided in turn 2 early, resulting in a caution.
Rob Herrick powered away with the advantage on the restart. Skip Stanley made way to his inside door on lap 4, challenging for the top spot. While the leaders battled it out for position, Kaleb Bean advanced to third over Scott Eck.
After battling it out for a handful of laps, Skip Stanley finally pulled away with sole possession of the lead on the final lap of the feature. Stanley ultimately scored the heat victory while Rob Herrick and Kaleb Bean rounded out the top 3.
Billy Childs, Jr. held the early advantage over Lewis Anderson in the second and final qualifying heat. Dan McKeage, Sr., paying homage to his father in the #38c machine, powered to third over Wade Kennedy on lap 2.
Chaz Briggs made his way to Wade Kennedy’s inside door on lap 3, challenging for fourth. Briggs took over the following lap, quickly moving on to Dan McKeage, Sr. for third. The two drivers went door to door until lap 9, where Briggs pulled ahead with the advantage.
Billy Childs, Jr. was long gone at the front of the pack, picking up the heat victory. Lewis Anderson and Chaz Briggs rounded out the top 3.
Sunday was special, as drivers in every single division participated in out of car introductions, which had become defunct at the track in recent years.
Billy Childs, Jr. continued to show strength in the 50 lap feature race, pulling to the early lead over Skip Stanley. Chaz Briggs was on the move early, challenging his friend and mentor, Lewis Anderson, for position on lap 3.
Skip Stanley had reeled in Billy Childs, Jr. by lap 12, as he was all over his back bumper for the top spot.
After duking it out for a handful of laps, Lewis Anderson managed to pull away from Chaz Briggs on lap 17. This left Briggs and McKeage, Sr. battling it out for position. The two drivers put on a clean battle until McKeage, Sr. pulled ahead with the advantage on lap 23.
After a solid showing all day, Chaz Briggs fell out of the groove on lap 24, resulting in the driver taking a spin in turn 4. The incident led to a mid-race caution.
Billy Childs, Jr. pulled ahead with the advantage once again on the restart. Jason Curtis began to make his pursuit to the front in the second half of the race, challenging Dan McKeage, Sr. for third on lap 31. McKeage pulled away briefly, but Curtis was back to challenge on lap 37.
Rob Herrick and Lewis Anderson tangled on lap 39 in turn 2, collecting Shawn Gilpatrick. The incident resulted in a late race caution.
Skip Stanley found momentum on the restart, giving Billy Childs, Jr. a run for his money. While battling hard for position, Stanley nearly went around on lap 41 coming through turn 4. This gave Billy Childs, Jr. the opportunity to fully reclaim the lead.
Following his struggles just a handful of laps earlier, Rob Herrick began to find his groove again on lap 44. He powered to third over Jason Curtis, quickly overtook Skip Stanley for the runner-up spot and wrangled the lead away from Billy Childs, Jr. in just two laps.
While battling for position with Jason Curtis, Billy Childs, Jr. took a spin on lap 47. The incident resulted in a caution with just 3 laps to go. Childs expressed his displeasure under yellow, spinning Curtis before retiring to the pits.
Rob Herrick elected to restart on the outside, which was certainly a dicey move. The initial restart was called off, but Herrick found himself deadlocked for the lead with Skip Stanley once the field went green.
Lewis Anderson took a spin on lap 48 in turn 3, resulting in another caution.
Fans were out of their seats in both the grandstands and the pits as the drivers crossed the finish line 3-wide for the lead. After some debating from race control, Rob Herrick was deemed the race leader. Margin of victory? .014 seconds.
The victory was bittersweet for Herrick, who hadn’t visited Victory Lane at Beech Ridge in over 27 YEARS. Herrick has one of the best looking cars in the pit area every season, but is a one man band in the pit area. Fans went wild for the driver in Victory Lane, celebrating his momentous victory with him and his family.
Skip Stanley, Dan McKeage, Sr., Jason Curtis and Wade Kennedy rounded out the top five.
The Wildcats certainly put on one Hell of a show on Sunday, sending Beech Ridge off with a bang and giving us a race that will FOREVER be embedded in our minds.
If you’d like to share your thoughts on how we can save our track, please join the Save Beech Ridge Speedway group on Facebook. All constructive ideas are certainly welcome AND appreciated.
You can support some of our Wildcat stars this Saturday, October 2nd at Wiscasset Speedway. The track will be hosting the Amsoil Dominator Strictly Shootout, which is ALWAYS a fun event. The racing action kicks off at 2:00 and admission is just $5 for fans of ALL ages.
Continue chasing the checkered and support our local short tracks. This is more imperative now than it ever has been before.
#weareBRMS and I love and appreciate all of you.
Cover photo credit goes to my wonderful friend Jamie Williams at Finish Line Photography.