Column By: AMY HARROP / RPW – SCARBOROUGH, ME – Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s first Pro All Star Series race of the 2018 season was sure to be action-packed and full of excitement. With a last-minute addition of the Northeast Classic Lites, the schedule for Saturday was jam packed with exciting racing divisions. The addition brought the division count up to four with the Pro All Star Series SLM’s, PASS Modifieds and the North East Mini Stock Tour also competing.
The Pro All Star Series action began with three 12-lap qualifying heats for the Super Late Model division. Glen Luce ran away with the first heat win while Garrett Hall and Reid Lanpher battled side-by-side for the victory in the second heat. Hall reigned victorious, beating Lanpher out by just a nose. The final heat was won by 2017 Pro All Star Series champion, Travis Benjamin.
After suffering from mechanical problems last weekend at Oxford, Matty Sanborn edged out the competition for a heat victory in the PASS Modified division.
After the fields were set for all divisions, it was time for the North East Mini Stock Tour to take the stage. After starting dead last due to missing practice and qualifying, defending Mini Stock champion Emerson Cayer took home the victory in the NEMST 50-lap feature. Cayer’s team swapped out their motor in the pits earlier in the afternoon, so it was a near-miracle that they had the ability to run the race, let alone win. The victory was Cayer’s first feature victory since 2014. The victory sets the mood for another championship run for the #88 team in 2018.
Duane Skofield blew away the competition in the Northeast Classic Lites feature, finishing nearly half a straightaway ahead of the competition. Justin Larsen and Robby Bryant followed, rounding out the top three in the division.
The PASS Modified division was up next with Matty Sanborn leading the field to green. After a string of early-race cautions involving Mike Napolitano and Mark Lunblad, Jr., the field returned to green on lap 4. Jariet Harrison quickly stole the lead away from Matty Sanborn, who fell back to third place.
While Harrison tried to pull away from the field, Ben Tinker was on a mission a little further back in the field. Tinker began knocking cars down one by one on the outside line, eventually making his way into the runner-up spot on lap 9. He was side-by-side with Harrison for the lead on lap 10, eventually capturing the lead the following lap in turn 4.
Trevor Sanborn was behind the wheel of Kate Re’s #10 machine, gaining some driving experience in yet-another division. Throughout the early stages of the race, Sanborn was gradually making his way to the front of the pack. After capturing third place on lap 16, Sanborn tracked down Jariet Harrison for the runner-up spot on lap 30.
Tinker kept a steady lead over Trevor Sanborn and the rest of the leaders for the remainder of the race, leading to his second consecutive PASS Modified victory. Trevor Sanborn, Jariet Harrison, Gary Shackford and Patrick Sullivan followed, rounding out the top five.
Some notable drivers in the lineup for the PASS 200 included Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame member Mike Rowe, Modified and PASS tour driver Derek Ramstrom and the two youngest competitors in the field, Ivan Kaffel and Gabe Brown.
Glen Luce started on the pole for the 200-lap feature, followed by Garrett Hall, Travis Benjamin, Johnny Clark and Corey Bubar. Reid Lanpher was forced to start in the rear of the pack due to a technical violation for low frame height.
Garrett Hall stole the lead early into the race, but danger was brewing behind the leaders. Ivan Kaffel, John Salemi, Tracy Gordon and others got tangled up in turns 3 & 4 on lap 8. Gordon’s tire flew off under caution while Salemi’s #63 car had to be pulled out of the dirt by the tow truck.
Garrett Hall resumed his lead as the field went back to green, pulling away from the race leader. Dan “Naughty 40” McKeage faced troubles on lap 37 for the second week in a row, bringing his car behind the wall and going down several laps before later returning to the track.
Dave Farrington, Jr. and Scott McDaniel got into each other on lap 49 in turn 2, bringing out the second caution of the day. Jeff White took a trip through the dirt in turn 3 on lap 56, leading to the third caution of the race.
After starting toward the rear of the field, Curt Gerry broke the top 5 on lap 58 with 2017 Beech Ridge track champion Reid Lanpher in tow. While Gerry and Lanpher battled it out for position on lap 75, 2017 PASS Champion Travis Benjamin was in hot pursuit for the lead. He captured the top spot on lap 110, pulling away from the competition.
Scott McDaniel slowed on lap 122, coming to a stop in turn 2. This led to a quick caution, followed by an 8-minute competition caution on lap 125.
Curt Gerry found his way into the runner-up spot on the restart, eventually making his way to Benjamin’s door for the top spot on lap 125. He captured the lead on lap 126 and began sailing off into the sunset.
Gabe Brown took a spin on lap 130, leading to a late-race caution. Reid Lanpher followed in Curt Gerry’s footsteps on lap 137, making his way around Travis Benjamin for the runner-up spot.
Lanpher attempted to catch up to the #7 machine, but nobody was quick enough to compete with Curt Gerry. Gerry sailed away with the victory, which is his 4th consecutive PASS victory. Reid Lanpher, Mike Hopkins, Travis Benjamin and DJ Shaw followed, rounding out the top five.
With two victories under their belt already in 2018, these back-to-back wins are sure to give the #7 team momentum as they enter the regular Beech Ridge Motor Speedway season, which begins next Saturday.
PASS racing will resume next Saturday, May 5th, at Star Speedway. You can also catch Beech Ridge’s 70th annual season opener next weekend, which takes place next Saturday at 7:00 pm.
We hope to see you there!