Wiscasset, ME – On Saturday, the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour kicked off their 22nd season of racing with the first of a tour-high nine races at the fastest oval in the State of Maine, Wiscasset Speedway. With both drivers and fans eager to get to the track and put the cold, snowy winter days behind them, Opening Day 2015 promised to be a great showcase of racing action!
A healthy mix of returning veterans and rookie contenders filled the pit area, as 13 cars were on hand to get the season started. A random draw set the field for the 10-lap heat races, with the finishing positions from the heats determining the lineup for the 25-lap feature event.
For heat #1, the front row consisted of the 19, fourth year competitor Kevin Girard Jr. and the 33 of Alan Smith, the runner up in Tour points from a year ago. Girard got off to a good start and built a sizable lead on the rest of the field. Defending and three-time champion Mathew Bourgoine in the 38 followed from the 3rd starting spot in pursuit of Girard, but was unable to catch the Old Orchard Beach driver, as he cruised to the caution-less heat win. Bourgoine settled for second and Smith took third.
Heat #2 saw the 70 of veteran racer Tylar Braunschweig and sophomore driver Philip “Buckshot” Brackett III in the 00, lead the field to the green. Braunschweig got out to the early lead and held it for several laps before the 84 of Matt Grant made his way to the top spot after starting 4th. The 21 year-old took command of the race and never looked back, taking the checkered flag in the caution free affair. Terry Kirk in the 17 took the second spot and Ed Getty in the 10 brought home third.
The heat race winners, Girard and Grant, set the pace for the feature event, which had all the makings to be a good one. Girard took control right off the get go, with Bourgoine right in tow. Grant fell back to the third spot and the three raced nose to tail until the first yellow flag waved on lap 4, for a solo spin by 15 year-old Dylan Varney in the 80. When racing resumed, the three drivers up front continued to race bumper-to-bumper, with nobody able to pull away. Another caution fell on lap 13 for a spin by Varney, bunching the field up once again, for a 12 lap sprint to the finish. Girard got away again on the restart, with Bourgoine falling in line to mount a challenge, and Grant remained tucked up behind him. Some good racing action took place all over the speedway while the leaders ran single file, most notably Ed Getty and Terry Kirk, who battled side by side for a number of laps for the 5th spot, with Getty eventually prevailing. The race finished without another caution, and despite a flurry of challenges from Bourgoine in the closing laps, Kevin Girard Jr. was able to hang on and win the race, scoring the second legends feature win of his career! Bourgoine brought home a 2nd place finish after a strong run we’ve become accustomed to seeing, Matt Grant never lost touch with the leaders and drove his 84 machine to a 3rd place result, Alan Smith had a very good run in the feature, picking up a Masters division victory en route to a 4th place effort, and Ed Getty rolled to a 5th place finish in his familiar yellow and white #10.
The drivers and teams of the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour will take a break next weekend, before getting back to it on May 9th at Speedway 95 in Hermon, a track that always provides the setting for some very exciting and unpredictable legends racing!
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1-19 Kevin Girard Jr. – Old Orchard Beach – S
2-38 Mathew Bourgoine – Newport – P
3-84 Matt Grant – Windham – P
4-33 Alan Smith – Lincoln – M
5-10 Ed Getty – Gray – M
6-17 Terry Kirk – Durham – M
7-00 Philip Brackett III – South Portland – Y
8-72 Mike Humphrey – Cornish – M
9-88 Pete Cannell – S. Berwick – M
10-92 Colby Meserve* – Buxton – S
11-8 Matt Chagnot – Derry, NH – M
12-80 Dylan Varney – Windham – Y
13-70 Tylar Braunschweig – W. Newfield – P
DNS-29 Austin Teras* – Windham – Y
DNS-5 Todd Harrison – Durham – M
Heat 1 Finish
1-19 Girard Jr.
Heat 2 Finish
4-00 Brackett III