After pulling the plug on his Super Late Model program just a few short days ago, Maine native Spencer Morse has a good reason to be excited about the upcoming New England 500 weekend at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Morse will drive a ‘Tribute to Sept. 11’ car on Sunday, Sept. 18, in the Fall Foliage 200 for the American-Candian Tour (ACT) Late Models at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. The race is part of the inaugural New England 500 weekend, headlined by 300 laps from the PASS North Super Late Models.
“I’m excited to announce that I’ll be driving the Len’s Auto Sales & Service No. 343 at Beech Ridge,” Morse said while watching the races Saturday night at Oxford. “We got to try the car out on 250 weekend, and I realized the car definitely has some potential.
“What makes this opportunity so special is the chance to honor the Firefighters lost on September 11, 2001. We have all 343 names of those who perished that dreadful day 15 years ago on our hood. We were lucky to have Corey Morgan from The Sign Store complete the lettering and make this Tribute scheme look so nice. I hope we can have a strong run for those brave men who made the sacrifice.”
Morse explained some of the reasons for stepping out of the Super Late Model and seeking other options to race. It’s no secret the SLM cars take big dollars and man hours to operate and maintain.
“When it comes to running bump stops in today’s Super Late Models, it is a real major challenge. You have to be very smart, and it takes a lot of time and money to figure those things out. With the ACT cars, it’s kind of like the old Pro Stocks.
“You can still get up on the wheel, they’re fast, and they are a lot of fun to drive. With the Super Late Model, it had the same symptoms no matter how I drove it. With the ACT car, if I’m tight in the center of the corner I can change my entry speed to adjust. There’s just more you can do as a driver to really make one of these cars go.”
On his last outing, the car did have a few mechanical issues to create a bit of a challenge for the driver.
“We didn’t have power steering, but we’ll get that and a couple of other things sorted out in time for next weekend. I really think when we do, we’re going to have a pretty good hot rod.”
Morse was the initial driver for Oxford Hills Middle School’s (OHMS) Aspire Higher race program. After a challenging rookie season in 2015, the team made it to Victory Lane on May 14 of this year.
The New England 500 weekend marks the first time ACT has sanctioned a Fall Foliage 200 at Beech Ridge since 1989. The program kicks off on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. with support class racing.
Morse knows the rich history of ACT at The Ridge and says he’d love to make a little history of his own on Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve seen videos from those early ACT races, back when MRN Radio’s Dave Moody was the announcer. I’ve had a top-ten finish in a Sport Series race at Beech Ridge, I’m hoping we can maybe have a little of that same good luck with our Tribute to Sept. 11 Firefighters car on Sunday afternoon.”
-By Phil Whipple, Speed51.com Contributor – Twitter: @PhilWhipple
-Photo credit: Sandy Haley Photo