The Saturday festivities for the PASS 400 weekend at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) wrapped up with 26 Super Late Model drivers qualifying for Sunday's 300-lap main event. Saturday also included plenty of other storylines with support division drivers winning, losing and in one case doing both - in their Saturday features.
An official car count of 41 Super Late Models were on hand Saturday for qualifying heats and consi events. There are 26 cars that are now locked into the field, with more drivers being added after Sunday's last chance race takes place and then provisionals are awarded. A full rundown of the 26 starts appears at the bottom of this story.
Those winning heat races were Scott Chubbuck, Johnny Clark, Adam Bates and DJ Shaw. The two consis were won by John Stancil and Derek Ramstrom. Among the drivers who have not yet qualified are Kirk Thibeau, Harry Olsen, Donnie Whitten, Beech Ridge regular Chris Smith, Canadians Lonnie Sommerville and Marty Prevost; Former PASS Outlaws Alan Wilson, Jay Sands, Gunnar Joselyn and Joe Decker.
Some of the notable drivers who were not on hand for heat races on Saturday were Richie Dearborn (who practiced on Friday, but did not return to attempt to qualify on Saturday), Gary Smith, Gary Bellefleur, Rick Martin, Walt Hammond and John Flemming.
Also not at Beech Ridge is last year's PASS 300 winner Mike Rowe, who was suspended for three PASS North races for an altercation with a fellow competitor after last month's Toyota Tundra 250 at Wiscasset Raceway. Rowe's normal ride, the #2 PT Watts Chevrolet, is being driven by Katie Hagar this weekend. Hagar has not yet earned a starting spot for Sunday's race.
Only three PASS South competitors made the trip to Beech Ridge to collect points towards the 2008 PASS National Super Late Model championship. Heath Hindman towed up from Tennessee, Alex Haase is at The Ridge in a car owned by Kyle Busch and John Stancil is driving the #20 Ford under the banner of the Maine-based Cushman Competition team this weekend. All three drivers qualified on Saturday.
True Value Modified Racing Series competitor Tony Ricci was on hand in the #1 Crete Carriers Super Late Model, but loaded up early after encountering mechanical problems in practice.
The two PASS Modifieds heat races were won by Scott McDaniels and Gary Norris. Their starting lineup for Sunday's main event is below as well.
Four feature events were held at Beech Ridge on Saturday, with the Beech Ridge Roadrunners starting off a lineup that also included NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lite Midgets and a 75-lap Wildcat/Strictly Stock open race.
Shawn Brackett won the Roadrunner feature over Trevor Graffam and Ed Connelly.
The 20-lap NEMA Midget race was a case where it did not pay to lead the race. Mike Ordway, Jr. dominated the early going of the race, only to have his car sputter and stop midway through the race. This gave the advantage to Russ Wood, Jr. - who then race away from the field before turn three of the final lap. That was when Wood got into oil on the track and spun, along with all but three of the other cars still on the track. Matt Bettencourt inherited the lead and was declared the winner after a red/checkered finish. Anthony Marvuglio took second place and Wood was credited with third.
Cole Watson dominated the 75-lap Wildcat feature. The Beech Ridge regular led from the second lap onwards in what eventual runner-up Bubby Poole described perfectly as “a long race with a lot of good cars from a lot of different tracks.”
Watson, who wrecked his primary racecar in a crash earlier this season and then put into commission a Ford LTD that was formerly raced at Oxford in the 1990's said in victory lane:
“I really love this place and I can't stay away - even if it irritates me sometimes.”
Watson didn't know it at the time, but he was about to get even more irritated. His #45 was disqualified in post-race technical inspection and that awarded the victory to Chris Warming.
The 25-lap NEMA Midget feature ended the day's on-track activity and the race was battle between the Santos siblings. Erica Santos was one of the early leaders and fought a side-by-side wheel-to-wheel battle with her brother Bobby before giving up the top spot, at that point Bobby Santos checked out on the field and pulled to a half-lap lead before a late race caution came out. After the green waved again, Santos took off and won the feature over Joey Payne. It was the 900th NEMA Midget feature in the storied history of the series.
On Sunday at Beech Ridge, there will be an Open Competition Sports Series show and a PASS Modified feature before the headlining race of the weekend, a 300-lap PASS North/PASS National Series Super Late Model event takes place. Speed51.com will be on hand at the track to bring you our Trackside Now coverage of the race.
And as promised, here is the starting grid (so far) for the PASS 300 Super Late Model event.
1.Scott Chubbuck 2.Bill Rodgers 3.Trevor Sanborn 4.Scott Mulkern 5.Steve Berry 6.Cassius Clark 7.Mike Fowler 8.Steve Knowlton 9.Bobby Babb 10.Alex Haase 11.Johnny Clark 12.Adam Bates 13.DJ Shaw 14.Ben Rowe 15.Kelly Moore 16.Walt Pugsy 17.Travis Benjamin 18.Donnie Lashua 19.Jeremie Whorff 20.Aaron Ricker 21.John Stancil 22.Derek Ramstrom 23.Charlie Colby 24.Bub Bilodeau 25.Heath Hindman 26.Alan Tardiff
Remainder of PASS North starting grid to be determined by last chance race and provisionals on Sunday.
PASS Modified Starting Grid
1. Greg Ellis
2. Scott McDaniels
3. Billy Dixon
4. Troy Morse
5. Sammy Gooden
6. Ron Henry
7. Gary Norris
8. Scott Grant
9. Andy Shaw
10. Tom Oliver
11. Mark Lucas
12. 04 Car
13. Kenny Harrison