When it comes to Super Late Model racing, Trevor Sanborn has learned how to run with the best of them. The young Mainer has won in PASS South and also become the perennial bridesmaid in PASS North competition - where he has driven entries for his own family, Richard Moody Racing and Cushman Competition. He's collected runner-up finishes, stood on the podium numerous times, led plenty of laps and even dominated races. But Sanborn still hasn't been able to lock down that elusive PASS North victory yet.
In 2010, Sanborn will still chase that elusive first victory in a partial schedule of running a Richard Moody Racing entry, but his full-time racing job now involves returning to his hometrack of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME), where he will chase the championship in the Pro Series (Super Late Model) division.
When it comes to winning at Beech Ridge, nothing was elusive for Sanborn on Saturday night when he captured the season-opening race at the track.
“It's excellent to be home,” said Sanborn. “I'm excited. The car was good tonight, it was all there.”
And while Sanborn might have learned from the best of them in PASS competition, the field that he beat at Beech Ridge on Saturday night included plenty of top-shelf talent as well.
Mike Rowe, a former PASS South champion and three-time Oxford 250 winner is the defending track champion. Former Oxford 250 winner Jeremie Whorff is also there along with his father, Bill, who has placed second in the Oxford 250. So is former PASS Sportsman champion Dan McKeage and multi-time Modified Racing Series driver Tony Ricci. ACT Late Model rookie Bradley Babb was in the field on Saturday night too. Aaron Ricker is another Beech Ridge regular who runs strong in both PASS North and ACT Late Models in his free time. Kevin Kimball used to race regularly in PASS North. Several drivers who formerly raced in the now-defunct PASS Outlaw division now race at Beech Ridge regularly as well - including Chuck Colby, Charlie Colby, Gunnar Josselyn and Jay Sands.
Then there are the “Ridge Runners” who have built up their racing resumes running at the Scarborough, Maine track. Their ranks include multi-time Beech Ridge champion Bub Bilodeau and race winners David Oliver, Bill Rodgers and Steve Carrier.
So with a field of drivers that could stack up favorably against many tours in this country, winning at Beech Ridge on any given night is no easy task.
“They are definitely good. There is no one better than these drivers,” said Sanborn. “They come ready to compete. They've won and if we can win against them, it shows me and my crew that we have done well.”
Sanborn started on the outside of the front row alongside McKeage. Sanborn rocketed into the lead early, but McKeage kept him honest for awhile. In the end though, nobody had anything for Sanborn this week. He led every single lap and finished ahead of Jeremie Whorff, Oliver, McKeage and Rowe.
“The car was good all day,” said Sanborn. “We just showed up and it was real, real fast out of the trailer. It was just hooked up tonight.”
The victory helps to ease some of the bite from the PASS race that took place at Beech Ridge earlier in the month, where Sanborn led early but faded to a fifth-place finish when a bleeder value stuck in his tire. Sanborn said that there are not a lot of similarities between the two types of events though.
“I learned a lot set-up wise from the PASS races, but the 40 lap features are a lot different,” said Sanborn. “I won't say it's easier to win a race, but you don't have to run 150 laps either. You can go wide open for 40 laps.”
This isn't the first time that Sanborn has won on opening night at Beech Ridge. In 2006, he won the first race of the year as well. So he knows firsthand what kind of momentum an early victory can bring.
“I know that car was real good and I know that going into the summer, we can win more of these and stay on top.,” said Sanborn. “That's the plan.”
- Since it was an off-weekend for the PASS North Series, a number of familiar faces from that tour were in the pit area on Saturday night including drivers Joey Doiron, Scott Mulkern and Scott Chubbuck, car owner Jay Cushman and crew members Seth Holbrook and Buster Bean.
- The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East was also represented in the pit area on their weekend off with D.J. Shaw and Alan Tardiff both coming to the track to enjoy the races. Both drivers formerly raced weekly int he Pro Series division at Beech Ridge.
- PASS Modified regular Bill Dixon returned to his hometrack of Beech Ridge on Saturday night with the Sports Series car that he used to run regularly there. Dixon struggled with the set-up of the car and finished 27th. He told Speed51.com that he plans to run a few more of the Saturday night races at Beech Ridge this season.
- Former PASS Modified Rookie of the Year Chris Smith drove George Libby's #55 Sports Series car to a fourth-place finish and plans to run that car regularly at Beech Ridge in 2010.
- The other winners at Beech Ridge on opening night were Russell Morse (Sports Series), Chris Warming (Wildcats) and Matt Dow (Roadrunners).