For a race car driver, there are few things more rewarding than seeing hard work pay off with a trip to victory lane. That was the case for Wyatt Alexander on Saturday night during the inaugural Granite State Pro Stock Series event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Alexander of Ellsworth, ME scored one of the biggest victories of his young career, passing Corey Bubar with 28 laps remaining and pulling away for his first touring series Late Model win.
But his triumph didn’t come without some challenges.
One week prior, Alexander suffered severe damage to his No. 96 Super Late Model when the driveshaft came apart and destroyed the underside of the racecar. With hard work from three generations – Wyatt, his father Brett and grandfather Bob – repairs were made after a few long nights at the race shop.
Those long nights ultimately led to a memorable moment that the 20-year-old won’t forget for quite some time.
“We got parts from Dave Farrington Thursday night and me and my dad and my grandfather stayed up and worked on this thing together,” Alexander said. “You don’t see three generations under a Super Late Model together very often. This is cool, this means a lot.”
After winning his heat race earlier in the day, Alexander started the 150-lap race from the fourth position following a re-draw. He quickly found his way into the runner-up spot and settled in for the first 100 laps of the race.
When lapped traffic began to halt the progress of race-long leader Corey Bubar, Alexander pounced. After clearing the slower cars, Alexander peeked his nose to the outside of Bubar and made a clean pass around the outside. From there, he pulled away to score the victory.
“I knew if anybody could get through lapped traffic here it was going to be Corey Bubar,” Alexander stated. “There’s nobody else here who is going to work around this race track better than him. I saw him get hung up and I thought to follow him through. I was trying to attack him, but I thought if we could get through clean and then I could race him, that was my best chance. I didn’t want to end up in the backstretch wall. Once we cleared the lapped traffic and I set to the outside and got to his bumper cover, I knew it was game over. I knew if I could get to the top that was going to be it.”
Bubar, who led the first 122 lap of the race, followed Alexander under the checkered flag in second. Derek Ramstrom, a former PASS 300 winner at the track, finished third in a rare appearance with the Granite State Pro Stock Series. David Oliver and Trevor Sanborn completed the strong showings from Beech Ridge regulars by completing the top five.
Saturday’s victory served as a high on the rollercoaster ride Alexander and his team have been on in recent years. After going to school in Charlotte and racing down south for two season, he returned home last year with plans to once again race in his home state of Maine.
“Anybody who knows us knows the ups and downs of the last couple years; running really good down south, not so good down south, moved back up here, good, bad and everything in between.”
Despite the misfortune he experienced the week prior at Beech Ridge and the repairs needed, Alexander admitted that he still had a good feeling entering Saturday’s race.
“I had a feeling. I don’t know what it is,” he said. “My dad, my grandfather and I stayed up ‘til midnight Thursday night and Friday morning working on this thing. I worked for my dad a half a day Friday and my grandfather finished the car. I hopped in the car on the scales at noontime on lunch break and asked my dad if I could take the truck and trailer. I was the first truck and trailer in line here by myself from Ellsworth.
“My intention was to be the first one in line at the gate and the last one in victory lane. I knew I had to have my stuff together this weekend, and apparently, we did it.”
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51