Wiscasset, ME – The Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour rolled through the gates of Wiscasset Speedway on Saturday, for the second of the scheduled nine visits to the coastal raceway in 2015. For the first time in quite a number of years, the INEX National Qualifier for the State of Maine was awarded to Wiscasset, as their interest in and support of legend cars has become second to none. With 19 cars signed in to compete, and 50 laps the distance, this very special feature event was a treat for the teams and fans alike. With the regular NELCAR lineup rules tossed out the window for the day, the heat races would determine the feature starting grid, straight up.
For heat 1, U.S. Marine Veteran Pete Cannell in the 88 was on the pole, with the 70 of Tylar Braunschweig to his outside. Braunschweig got the advantage into turn 1, and took off with the lead. Canadian driver Cory Hall in the 08 made his way by Cannell from the 3rd spot, with Alan Smith in the 33 following Hall through from 5th. Braunschweig never relinquished the lead in the caution free race, scoring a long awaited first career heat victory! Hall brought his sedan home 2nd and Smith took 3rd.
Seven combined NELCAR championships represented the front row of heat #2, as current points leader Mathew Bourgoine in the 38 started on point, alongside Bob Weymouth in the 399, who was making his first start with the Tour in 2015. Bourgoine grabbed the lead, with the 19 of Kevin Girard Jr. right in his tire tracks after starting 3rd. Girard took advantage of Bourgoine running wide off turn 4, and took over the top spot. Matt Grant in the 84 started back in 7th, but was able to pick his way through traffic, eventually taking over the second spot, where he began to reel in Girard. He caught him, but didn’t have enough laps to attempt a pass, as at the checkers, it was Girard taking the win, Grant finished right behind in 2nd, and Weymouth settled for 3rd.
The heat winners, Braunschweig and Girard, made up row #1 for the extra distance feature. Braunschweig jumped out to the early lead with Girard in hot pursuit, but it didn’t take long for the first caution to fly, as rookie Colby Meserve went for a solo spin with his #92 car in turn 1 on the first lap. The field was reset to the original lineup, and they tried again. Braunschweig once again grabbed the lead with Girard in tow, and Grant in third. Girard worked for upwards of a dozen laps, and finally found his way around Braunschweig, bringing Grant along with him. Those pair of drivers, who both entered legend cars in the 2012 season, led the pack around the 3/8 mile at a blistering pace until a scary crash on lap 23 brought out the red flag. Pete Cannell made contact with the lapped car of Roger Edgecomb in the Puzzled Racing 27, sending Cannell barrel rolling off turn 4. Thankfully, the 69 year old walked away from the crash unhurt, aside from bumps and bruises. When green flag racing resumed, Girard remained the leader, and Grant fell back to 4th after slipping in oil that was on the frontstretch, giving way to Braunschweig and Cory Hall. The next yellow came out on lap 30 for a spin on the backstretch by the 72 of Mike Humphrey, bunching up the field with 20 to go. Girard kept his black and yellow coupe out front when the lights returned to green, with Braunschweig sliding into 2nd, and Grant, who had made his way back by Hall before the caution, in 3rd. The three raced bumper to bumper for several laps, until Braunschweig yielded the second spot to Grant, who began his pursuit of Girard. Things settled down throughout the field in the closing laps, as Girard held a 6 car length gap over Grant, who held the same distance advantage over the 88 of Nova Scotia driver Nicholas Naugle, who quietly battled his way up to the third spot after starting back in the 10th.
The remaining circuits proceeded without a hitch, and Kevin Girard Jr. raced to his second win of the year with a dominant performance in the National Qualifier! Matt Grant matched his career best finish with a solid 2nd place run in his white and green 84, Nicholas Naugle and the 88 team made their 10-hour, westbound trek well worth it by picking up the 3rd place trophy, Tylar Braunschweig held on to finish 4th after leading the early laps, and Bob Weymouth was able to bring his familiar Interstate Trailer Sales sedan home with a 5th place finish.
Additionally, Girard claimed the Semi-Pro win, Grant earned the Pro victory, Weymouth took the top spot in Masters, and 12th place finisher Dylan Varney in the 80 was the winner of the Young Lion division. Each of these drivers have earned a guaranteed starting spot in the INEX Asphalt Nationals A-Main for their respective divisions, which will be held at Anderson Motor Speedway in South Carolina on November 12-14th!
The Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour will take a break next weekend, before heading back to Wiscasset on the following Saturday, May 30th. That race will be promptly followed by the annual Arrive and Drive at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, on Sunday, May 31st, where for just $50 YOU can get behind the wheel of a legends car for 10 hot laps!
For more information about all the happenings with the Tour, visit our website, www.NELCAR.net , “LIKE” NELCAR on Facebook, and come see us at a track near you!
1-19 Kevin Girard Jr. – Old Orchard Beach – S
2-84 Matt Grant – Windham – P
3-88N Nicholas Naugle – Dartmouth, NS – S
4-70 Tylar Braunschweig – W.Newfield – P
5-399 Bob Weymouth – Topsham – M
6-33 Alan Smith – Lincoln – M
7-10 Ed Getty – Gray – M
8-17 Terry Kirk – Durham – M
9-00 Philip Brackett III – South Portland – S
10-8 Matt Chagnot – Derry, NH – M
11-72 Mike Humphrey – Cornish – M
12-80 Dylan Varney – Windham – Y
13-92 Colby Meserve* – Buxton – S
14-38 Mathew Bourgoine – Newport – P
15-27 Roger Edgecomb* – Hiram – M
16-08 Cory Hall – Jolicure, NB – S
17-88 Pete Cannell – S.Berwick – M
DNS-29 Austin Teras* – Windham – Y
DNS-72A Wyatt Alexander – Ellsworth – Y
Heat 1 Finish
5-00 Brackett III
Heat 2 Finish
1-19 Girard Jr.
* denotes rookie