SCARBOROUGH, ME — In an event sponsored by adult beverage company Miller Lite, it was 16-year-old Reid Lanpher who stole the show during Tuesday night’s American Celebration 50-lap Pro Series feature at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). Lanpher continued a trend set by Pro Series drivers Tyler King and Corey Bubar by becoming the third straight (fifth out of last six) winner of the event not of legal drinking age.
After starting from the ninth position, Lanpher from Manchester, Maine used the inside lane to work his way through the field and eventually power to the inside of Mike Fowler to take the lead on lap 10. With a fast car underneath him during an event that went caution-free, Lanpher would never look back on his way to claiming his first career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory at Beech Ridge.
“I couldn’t believe how good the car was,” Lanpher told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The crew and everybody worked so hard to get it this way. We’ve been close all year and coming from the back makes it a challenge. We were finally able to put an awesome race car out there. It was good on the bottom so we were able to pass some cars early and then put it on cruise control once I was able to get out front.”
Second-year Pro Series driver Bobby Timmons, who was driving with a cast on his left hand due to a non-racing related incident, rebounded after a few rough weeks to finish in the runner-up spot. Timmons jumped into the second position on lap 40 of the 50-lap feature but was unable to reel in Lanpher, who had nearly a half-straightaway lead at the time.
“I got to second and I could see he was out there a ways,” said Timmons. “We only get two tires a week, so I obviously have to save a little bit. I wanted to make sure I could get away from the guys behind me, so I was saving a little but I was also running him down. He could have been doing the same thing saving his tires as well. A restart at the end would have been the only true way to figure it out, but I’m happy with second at this point. We’ve been struggling just to finish in the top-10 the past two or three weeks.”
In addition to securing his first career victory, Lanpher’s win on Tuesday night also puts the rookie Pro Series driver at the top of the Maine state NASCAR Whelen All-American Series point standings after six events. When Lanpher and his team made the decision to run weekly at the Scarborough, Maine oval earlier this year he never expected to be sitting in the position that he is in after six races.
“We really didn’t want to set the bar too high for me,” said Lanpher. “We wanted to get Rookie of the Year, win a race, and be competitive. We’ve definitely fulfilled that so far. We can’t take any of these finishes for granted. We’ve got to keep going.”
Now having his first win under his belt, Lanpher hopes the floodgates will open for future wins this season. The 16-year-old knows how important confidence is in the sport of racing and says that Tuesday’s night win is “huge” and gives him a lot of confidence moving forward.
“Between the win and the points lead now, this is huge,” said Lanpher. I have to start further back in the heat races now, but it helps my confidence a lot. This is just huge, we needed this. We’ve been so close for a long time. This is huge for me, the team, and everybody. We’re really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Early leader Steve Carrier, defending race-winner Tyler King, and veteran racer Kelly Moore rounded out the top-five.
Dave Farrington, Jr., who entered the night first in the point standings, finished 11th in Reid Lanpher’s backup car after experiencing engine problems in his primary car during practice.
American Celebration Pro Series 50 Unofficial Results
July 1, 2014 – Beech Ridge Motor Speedway
|11||159||Dave Farrington, Jr.|
|13||16||Don Colpritt, Jr.|
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com Photo