Teams Get Jump Start on 300 Lapper With Test Day
Excitement has been building all summer long for the Pullen Heavy Industries race weekend that will take place at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) in late September.  The anticipation has been for several reasons.
Some drivers like Tardiff, who races weekly at Beech Ridge, were there to do a little fine-tuning.

“We really didn’t learn much,” said Tardiff.  “We were more tuning and putting the fine touches on the car to get a good set-up.  We’re trying a lot of things and making a lot of changes today.  Some are good and some are bad, but that’s why we’re here.”
Other drivers, like PASS regular and former Beech Ridge driver Whitten, were there to reintroduce themselves to the track.

“I don’t think that I’ve been here for a few years even to watch a race.  Doing what we do, I don’t have a lot of opportunities to get down here.  It looks the same and everything appears to be the same.”

Already, it appears that the 300-lap race could be a civil war between Beech Ridge regulars and the big guns of PASS.

“It doesn’t matter where they go, the PASS guys come to
Mike Murphy works under his hood.
play and they play hard,” said Tardiff.  “They are on top of their game and they are running for points.  The Ridge boys have an advantage because it’s our home track.  I think that we do have that advantage over them, but they are going to tough too.”

“I’ve heard the only a couple of the Saturday night guys so far have signed up, but I assume that they will [be filing entries in the coming weeks],” said Whitten.  “I can’t imagine that the guys up here wouldn’t sign up for a race like this at their hometrack.  Most guys live for a race like this.  To go to a track that you know and race at every week is big.  It’s been a few years, but when they used to have open shows up here, you always looked for a Beech Ridge guy to win the thing because they were so competitive.”
Donnie Whitten
One unique part of the PHI race weekend, at least in New England, will be that many weekly Pro Stock teams that might be outgunned by the PASS teams have the opportunity to enter a 50-lap Outlaw Late Model event.

Young New Hampshire driver Mike Murphy plans to be doing just that with a car that he hasn’t been able to race much lately.  He was there to test it this weekend.

“We built this car for Star Speedway and ran it a few races before they got rid of the Pro Stocks,” said Murphy.  “When we heard about this race, we pulled it out of the woods and put it back together.”
It will be the first appearance of the IBG-PASS Pro Stocks to Beech Ridge ever.  The track is right in the backyards of several teams and has a rich history of Pro Stock racing.  It’s also been several seasons since Beech Ridge has held a major open show.  Ticket sales and competitor interest have been said to be high already for the September 23rd-25th race and several teams got a jump start on their plans by taking part in an open test session at the track on Sunday.

Drivers who were there to prepare for the PASS and two barrel Pro Stock/Late Model portion of the show included Richie Dearborn, Donnie Whitten, Tony Ricci, Alan Tardiff, Garry Johnson, Bobby Cabral, Mike Murphy and PASS Modified driver Katie Hagar.
Alan Tardiff heads onto the track as the #33 team of Richie Dearborn works in the background at Beech Ridge. (51 Photos)
The test session helped to uncover some problems in advance for Murphy, son of famed car builder Pat Murphy.

“We had a little motor problem today, but we’ll bring it home and fix it,” said Murphy.  “It was very good to come here today and find that out instead of it happening on race weekend.”
One thing is certain.  No matter what division a competitor plans to enter, excitement is building for the Pullen race weekend.

“I really expect this to be super fantastic,” said Whitten.  “I expect that the pits will be jammed with cars and people.  Since they mentioned it, it’s been the talk of everyone’s season.  I think that it will be just what everyone expects it to be.”

Speed51.com will continue to bring you all of the news leading up to the Pullen Heavy Industries 400 race weekend featuring the IBG-PASS Pro Stocks, Outlaw Late Models, PASS Modifieds, Limited Sportsmen and Wildcats (Strictly/Street Stocks).

Bobby Cabral works on his #66c machine.