Kirk Alexander Grabs Fourth Win of True Value Mod Season by Denise DuPont
Beech Ridge is the A-Team's Latest Triumph
The True Value Modified Racing Series went to Scarborough, Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday for the series tenth race of 2007 and when everyone packed up to go home at the end of the night, Kirk Alexander was the big winner of the day – a story that has now been told four separate times this season.
Alexander holds the winning flag at the Ridge. (Jim DuPont Photos)
There were 30 cars in the pits for qualifying races, but only 24 cars started the race at the 1/3 mile slightly banked oval. 18 cars qualified through the heat races, six cars qualified in a consi Race and two cars took provisional spots.
The winners of the heat race were Jack Bateman, Andy Seuss and Ed Dauchenhausen. Jon McKennedy won the 15-lap consi race. As the last race winner at Oxford Plains, Alexander, started the Beech Ridge race at the back of the pack in the 24th position. Two race provisional positions were taken by and Todd Patnode and Rob Goodenough. Bad luck followed smiling Johnny Bush to the track again tonight. After racing to a qualifying spot in heat one, his car blew an engine when he started it to go to the scales for inspection before the race start. This allowed the bubble car of Bill Goodrow (38) to start the race.
Point leader Kirk Alexander wheeled the A-Team car across the start finish line to win the 100 lap TVMRS race along with his 24th race with the True Value series.
”It is a great place to come,” said Alexander of Beech Ridge. “It is a great race track. It just happened to rain last week and we had two oval tracks that have the same setup. They seemed to work pretty good.”
Alexander inherited the lead from Bateman on lap seventy-four. Bateman led the race since mid-way with his strongest car of the season. The car ran over some debris on the track cutting his right front tire. Bateman held on the car avoiding walls but he lost the race lead.
Alexander and his crew have finally found the consistent right combination to get the job done. Each week if he has a good car underneath him he just drives it to the front making it look like he is taking a Sunday afternoon drive.
Jack Bateman had a fast car, but no good luck.
“That was a long way from the back passing a lot of cars and it freed up at the end,” said Alexander. “You use up a lot of equipment doing it.”
No matter how challenging the tracks have been lately Alexander has used his skills to get the job done.
”The car was awesome,” said Alexander. “The outside groove seemed to be there and there was a lot of grip up top. I would get underneath a few people and she wasn’t sticking as good so I had to work the top side. A couple of cautions we got stuck on the bottom and I just dreaded being on the bottom. Towards the end there I was loosing my tires in the back and the stagger was just opening up and it was tough for a couple of laps. I was trying to be safe about it without buzzing the tires too bad. Man this car is just awesome through the center. We have been working hard on it. We found some things a little different and they are working good. My team I cannot tell you enough about them. They bust their butts all the time. It makes my job a lot easier. We held on. It was a good race towards the end there. We were giving her all she had. Mike was looking low and I was holding on and doing what we had to do.”
Ed passed Andy Seuss for the lead on lap nine and wheeled his strong running bright pink and yellow car around the field until lap twenty-three when Jack Bateman passed him for the lead. But the Dauchenhausen team and car did not give up. Ed maintained a top five position during the entire 100 laps.
The 2003 NASCAR Northeast Region Champion showed that perseverance and the trial and error with their car paid off. They were finally able to qualify, start and finish well. Having a top five, let alone a podium finish has been Ed’s goal all year. The team has finally made their target.
Since race winner Kirk Alexander already has a starting spot for the Mod Mania race, the award was given to second place finisher Mike Holdridge. A second Connecticut driver now has a guaranteed starting spot at Thompson in September.
“This is what this series is all about,” said Ben Dodge as he awarded Holdridge the Thompson Modified Mania honor. “This is the little guy that has done good. It is the story of the little train that could. We are very proud at Thompson Speedway to add Mike Holdridge to the list of guaranteed starters for the prestigious Modified Mania event in September. This will put him in the starting line-up automatically for one of the big pay days for 2007 for the competitors in the True Value Circuit. Congratulations Mike you are very deserving of this honor. What a great run. ” Said Ben Dodge as he awarded Mike the Thompson Modified Mania honor.
Another great podium finish went to Ed Dauchenhausen in spot number three. Ed started the race in third position and after leading the race for a few laps, a lot of hard racing, and defensive actions, he went to the podium in third where he had started the race.
“We are just ecstatic. It was great,” said Dauchenhausen. “We had a great night.“
Mike Holdridge accepts the Modified Mania award from Ben Dodge.
Mike Holdridge selected to start at the back of the pack rather then his 12th qualifying spot. His car had an SK engine with a four barrel carburetor that had 75 less horsepower then the other competitor’s motors. Holdridge felt that his car was at a disadvantage and would not be up to speed with the rest of the pack. But the back of the pack strategy ended up working in his favor. Holdridge came out of nowhere and was in the top five on lap 74 as Kirk took the lead. Holdridge had one of the fastest cars on the track during the last ten laps of single file restarts.
“It was a great run, the best one that I have had all year. This makes the season,” said Holdridge, who crossed the start finish line with his SK powered car right behind Alexander to take home a second place finish. This was Holdridge’s best finish this year in the series.
Beech Ridge Speedway’s August 4th race was the fourth of the six qualifying races for Thompson Speedway’s 2007 Mod Mania race on September 8th. The six tracks with qualifying events are: Monadnock (Kirk Alexander), Lee (Les Hinckley), Oxford Plains (Dwight Jarvis), Beech Ridge, Canaan and Seekonk.
“We are so happy, it has been a long week. We were not going to go last week. I was up all Friday night with a bad tooth ache I held it off for operating from Thursday to on Monday. It is hard racing without pills. You have got to do what you got to do. It makes the four hour ride home worth it.”
There was no denying that Jack Bateman had a car to challenge and beat at Beech Ridge. His car was several car lengths in front of the field and for a while it looked like he was going to run away with the win, but the race just did not play into his favor.
“The car was very good right up to the very end,” said Bateman. “When we were here last year we had a pretty good setup and run so we duplicated that. We worked off of that and it worked out pretty well. I am happy with the run but a little bit disappointed. I thought that we had an opportunity to win it. But it just did not happen.”
When Bateman hit debris as he rounded second turn on lap seventy-four, the leader of the pack had to pit for a tire and car checkout.
Alexander (#43) keeps Holdridge (#0) at bay.
“We must have ran over a piece of debris and the right front tire got cut down, so we had to pit for that. Then in the meantime the alternator stopped working. So we had to quit because the engine would just barely run. I was afraid that I was going to get in somebody’s way so I just got off the track.” After that Bateman never made it back to the front of the field. He had to settle for a twenty place finish even though he came to the track with a first place car.
Lou Mechalides had to settle for a just out of the podium with a fourth place finish when the race was all said and done.
“The car was just real good at the beginning and I was just riding,” said Mechalides. “Coming up through the traffic I bent the front end pretty good. Even though I got the lead it was bent up pretty good. So I was just riding and trying to hold them off. Before we bent it I felt that it was a real good car.” Lou also kept his car contending in the top five pack all night. But in the end he just could not challenge for the lead position. “The cautions at the end of the race definitely hurt me. For some reason it took twice as long to get everything cleaned up tonight so it was even worse with the tires cooling off.“
Andy Seuss started the race jumping to the lead, which showed that the his crew had finally gotten the demons out of the car. For the last few races, Seuss has had an ill handling car and the cause has eluded the team for weeks. Even thought the team finished in 16th spot, they left the track with a lot of notes and a direction to get back on track. Not often that you see a smile on a team for 16th place finish but when you finally crack the solution on a tough case you have a reason to smile.
“We finally have our car back on the right track,” said Seuss. “We have more notes from tonight to tweak her more. We will be back next week.”
The True Value Modified Racing Series will race next at Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, NH on Saturday, August 11th.
TRUE VALUE MODIFIED RACING SERIES
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway
FinishCar #DriverStarting Position
Failed to Qualify: Peter Jarvis (#9), Chris Pastryak (#15) and Ken Vogel, Jr. (#97).
Pre-Race Awards: Black Mountain Painting 1/2 Way Bonus: Lou Mechalides
Koszela Speed 7th Place Award: Vinnie Annarummo
Sherwood Wheels 5th Place Award: Les Hinckley
Sunoco Hard Charger Award: Kirk Alexander – 22nd to 1st
There were 6 cautions.
Caution Flags: Laps 19; 20; 50; 74; 85; 95.
Lap Leaders: Andy Seuss (#70) 1-9, Ed Dauchenhausen (#48) 10-22, Jack Bateman (#17) 23-33, Lou Mechalides (#40) 34-73 and Kirk Alexander (#43) 74-100.
Total Laps Led: Andy Seuss – 9, Ed Dauchenhausen – 13, Jack Bateman – 11,
Lou Mechalides – 40 and Kirk Alexander - 27.
5 lead changes involving 5 drivers.
Race Time: 55:38.373