Lanpher wins PASS 300 at Beech Ridge

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SCARBOROUGH — Prior to last Sunday, one of Reid Lanpher’s biggest goals in racing was to give his team a victory on the highly-competitive Pro All Stars Series North tour.

After an impressive victory at Oxford Plains Speedway in a talent-laden 40-car field, the 18-year-old Manchester native went back-to-back on Saturday afternoon with a dominant run at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

Lanpher took the lead from Travis Benjamin on lap 233 and held off defending track champion Curtis Gerry to win the PASS Beech Ridge 300 just one week after breaking through at Oxford. Derek Ramstrom finished just under three seconds behind Lanpher in third, while Benjamin and Glen Luce completed the top five.

“This is our home track, and it’s the biggest race of the year in length,” Lanpher said in Victory Lane. “I just can’t believe it; I’m on cloud nine right now after last week. To back it up with another win today is amazing.

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“Building a good car is definitely an important part of this game. Car builder Jeff Taylor, my crew chief Jason Ricker and all the guys have a lot of hours into this thing. I owe a huge thanks to them and all of our partners. I couldn’t do this without my family and the support of so many people.”

Gerry, of Standish, had only one finish outside the top 10 last summer en route to winning the weekly NASCAR Pro series title. His run in Saturday’s 300 was impressive for a man used to 50-lap sprints.

“We had a great car today,” Gerry said. We got up to the top five at one point, got spun out, and had to start from the back. We passed a lot of cars today, but we wore out the tires as we did that. The car was just way too tight at the end of that last run.”

Ramstrom, of West Boyalston, Mass., started seventh on the 27-car grid and stayed in sight of the leaders throughout. He started racing these cars at 14 in 2006, and has developed into a real contender.

“All in all, it was a great weekend for us here at Beech Ridge,” Ramstrom said. “The car was fast since we unloaded. We love coming to this facility. I really have to thank my crew for this podium finish today; this is a brand new car and we had no mechanical issues at all. To compete with these PASS guys, you really need to be on point. We’re going to take this momentum and carry it on to Star.”

Finishing sixth through tenth in Saturday’s Beech Ridge 300 were Tracy Gordon, defending series champion DJ Shaw, Joey Doiron, Mike Hopkins and Garrett Hall. Only eight of the 27 starters finished on the lead lap, indicative of the torrid pace set by the leaders during a long (120 laps) green-flag run. 

Race strategy played a big part in the outcome, as all nine cars on the lead lap pitted for tires under caution on lap 188. For some, it came at the perfect time. 

The race took just under two hours to complete, while nine cautions slowed the pace. Lanpher took home over $7,000 for his efforts in the PASS National points event. There were three lead changes among three drivers, with Benjamin (laps 189 to 232) and Hall (laps 1 through 94) also taking turns on the point.

Other notable finishers in Saturday’s 300 include Jay’s David Farrington Jr. (11th); multi-time series champion Johnny Clark (13th); former series champion and Oxford 250 winner Ben Rowe (14th); Beech Ridge regular Dan McKeage (18th); Auburn’s Travis Stearns (19th); British Columbia native Sarah Cornett-Ching (20th); and Maine Motorsports Hall of Famer Mike Rowe, who charged up from dead-last on the grid to fourth at one point, (24th).

In other feature action at Beech Ridge, Ben Tinker, of New Gloucester won his second straight race in the PASS Modified division, proving he is the man to beat for the open-wheeled warriors in 2017. Bryce Mains won his second straight race in the new Quad Crown Street Stock series with a strong run.

The next event on the PASS North schedule is set for next Saturday, May 6, at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire. Oxford Plains Speedway will kick off its 2017 weekly racing program on Sunday, May 7, beginning at 2 p.m.

pwhipple@sunjournal.com

Manchester native Reid Lanpher powers off Turn 4 during Saturday’s Beech Ridge 300 for PASS North Super Late Models. The 18-year-old driver won his second straight points race after winning his first last Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway. 

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