Nine years ago was the first mini stock race at Beech Ridge. The ‘4-Cylinder Nationals’ as it was called by Gary Sagar was an open comp mini stock event that attracted over 30 cars fighting for $1000 to win in the 50 lap event. Now NEMST Promoter Bob Guptill started deep in the field in that first event that showcased the best from all over the region and drove to a top 10 finish. Fast forward to the present with the popular NEMST and its 10 race schedule for the 2015 season.
Twenty-six touring minis entered the pit area Saturday morning to fight for the first Beech Ridge trophy since the 2011 season. From brand new cars to aged veterans the competition was high. This was truly the best of the very best, champions from nearly every track in New England battling against one another. Practices went well with a large group of drivers running nearly identical lap times. NEMST Officials were sure the feature would be an action packed show.
Environmental Engines presented the heat races with Joe Kendall, Justin King, and 2011 champion Rob Greenleaf taking the checkers in their respective races. Kendall drew the maximum invert for the feature of 7 rows after winning his heat race. As the feature was lined up Nick Maniatis and Jake Rheaume completed the front row. Lee USA winner and 2014 Champion Toby Wells would start from the 11th position, the highest NEMST rules will let him start for the rest of the season.
Maniatis broke out to the early lead as Rheaume struggled to find traction on the high side and filled a hole on the bottom line. Multi time feature winner Justin Trombley began a stunning run towards the front over the opening laps passing cars both high and low. Rob Greenleaf also made some wild moves while battling towards the top spot alongside Kendall and Collins. Caution came out on lap 12 for the 55 machine of Nick Anderson with a blown engine. Racing resumed briefly but caution flew again for the Zakarite #07 spinning in turn 1. After the lap 15 caution the leaders took off once again with Wells making a charge to the front. On lap 25 Wells took over the lead with Maniatis, Trombley, Kendall, and Greenleaf in tow.
On a lap 26 restart Maniatis took the early lead but Wells rocketed off turn 2 taking the lead. Side by side battles filled the rest of the top 10 as more part time NEMST made moves towards the top half of the field. Joe Kendall was making moves on the outside lane through lapped traffic while also moving into the top until lap 45 when a miscalculated move ended in a spin with the 79 of Josh Dunn and a collision with the broken machine of Louis Maher.
The valiant battle for second would resume between Collins and Trombley as fourth would be settled between Maniatis and Greenleaf. Wells would pull away as the battles throughout the top 5 resumed. Collins would finish in second while Trombley crossed the line in 3rd before refusing to tear the car down in technical inspection. Greenleaf would be moved to third with Maniatis finishing in 4th and Zakarite recovering from his early spin for fifth.
The NEMST is back in action with the Tri-Track Modified Series at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH on Sunday May 17. For full Beech Ridge results and upcoming race info please visit our website at www.northeastministocktour.com.
-NEMST Press Release. Photo credit: Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Facebook