handle on what we need, so we should be in good shape.”
Late in the race, Marquis’ car started to fade and he didn’t have much choice when it came to picking a racing line.
“We had to hold it to the bottom,” said Marquis. “I think that we had a tire going down on the right rear. It only had 17 pounds of air pressure in it. The car was so tight. Before that, the car was really, really good. I was so happy with it. It was fast and I was just pacing myself and making sure that I didn’t use it up.”
MARQUIS STAYS OUT OF TROUBLE TO WIN AT THE RIDGEby Mike Twist
Beech Ridge Mod Race Not Kind to Plenty of Rookies and Veterans Alike
There were pretty much two groups of drivers who raced in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). Those were the drivers who had some type of trouble during the night and those who did not. The first group definitely outnumbered the second group.
The bunch that stayed out of trouble included the top three finishers. Two veterans decided the race win. Jerry Marquis held off Tony Hirschman for the victory with rising star Eric Beers in tow.
“It seems like the old timers end up in the front every week,” said Hirschman.
Meanwhile, the majority of other drivers had handling problems, spins or wrecks. It didn’t really matter if you were a veteran or rookie, contender, pretender or anything else. It was more likely than not that if you were in the starting field for the race, you would have a rough night.
But between the 10 caution periods in the 150-lap race one thing stayed consistent. Jerry Marquis took the lead from Nevin George on lap eight and never looked back from there to score his first victory behind the wheel of the famed Mystic Missile #4 car owned by Bob Garbarino. Marquis joined the team at the start of the season and over the first part of the year, they’ve endured plenty of their own bad luck. Beech Ridge was their turn to see the others guys get in trouble as they trucked right on to victory lane.
“I’ll tell you, this feels good,” said Marquis. “It’s been long overdue. These guys and are great guys and I’m glad that we did this as a team and got that win. We got the monkey off our back. I’m just hoping it will keep going. I hope to keep these top fives finishes going. We’ve got the handle on the race car and we’ve got a
Marquis’ troubles allowed Tony Hirschman to close up to his rear bumper. Over the final dozen laps, he was glued there with his #48 car. The fact that both guys are Modified champions was obvious. Marquis never blocked Hirschman and Hirschman never put a bumper to Marquis.
“He’s a gentleman and has always been,” said Marquis of his rival. “It was definitely a good feeling that Tony was back there and that he was going to race me hard, but clean. I’m just glad to race with him and Eric [Beers, who finished third] and everyone who was here tonight.”
Jerry Marquis exits his winning Mystic Missile. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Those who spun, got spun or had tire problems during the 150 laps at Beech Ridge included Rick Fuller, Ken Barry, Donny Lia, Tyler Haydt, Jim Storace, Wade Cole, Renee Dupuis, Gregg Shivers, Kevin Goodale, Dick Houlihan, John Blewett, III and Zach Sylvester.
A few of those drivers were even able to recover to finish in the top 10. Most didn’t.
“We were strong there for awhile, but he wasn’t going to give up the bottom,” said Hirschman. “There was no outside. It was wrecked here tonight with all of the junk up there.”
Eric Beers sat back and watched everything safely from third place. He wasn’t expecting two champions to wreck each other, but he prepared himself in case that happened.
“I gave them a little bit of a gap there when Tony was working on Jerry so that I would have some room to move if something happened,” said Beers. “I was actually trying to save the tires too in case there was a late race restart.”
Steve Whitt continued his hot streak of late by finishing fourth and Modified Tour point leader Ted Christopher overcame a start from outside the top 10 to finish fifth.
Speed51.com will have more from Beech Ridge in our leftovers later this week.
A full pack of Mods get ready to take on Beech Ridge. In most cases, the track won. (51 Photo)
And the same non-existant outside groove that caused many of the night’s wrecks also kept Hirschman from pulling out to make a pass for the lead.
Jerry Marquis (Mary Hodge Photo)
Hirschman (#48) chases Marquis (#4) in the closing laps of the race. (Howie Hodge Photo)