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Beaulieu Escapes with Rough Win at Unity
The Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour returned to the Unity Raceway for the final time of the 2011 season this past weekend. With many of the newcomers in the tour who run very well at the rough track, they were going to do all they could to make their mark in the final race at Unity. For the series veterans however, they were just as competitive and ready for victory as well.
The 81 of Dan Winter was on the pole with the 49 of Pete Cannel on the outside of the front row for the first heat race. At the start, Cannel, who ran at Unity when it was a dirt track in the 70s, got the lead early and lead the first lap. The 27 of Kevin Hutchens however came from his midpack starting spot and took the race lead on lap two, and didn't look back as he took the win. Matt Chagnot finished second with Winter rounding out the top three. After the win, a problem in Hutchen's motor would end his night, keeping him from going for another Unity feature win.
For the second heat race, it was the 10 of Ed Getty on the pole with the 2 of Ryan Hammar on the outside. Hammar got the early race lead while Matt Bourgoine in the 38 made quick work of the traffic and got the lead at the halfway point. Going into turn one with a handful of laps left, the motor in Getty's car expired, bringing out the yellow flag. On the next start, there was still oil on the track in the second corner, which resulted in Hammar spinning, collecting the 56 of Evan Beaulieu and the 17 of Terry Kirk. The safety crews got the mess cleaned up and Bourgoine was able to pull away with the win after the final restart. Weymouth finished second and Kirk rallied back to third.
Two of the tour's top rookies, Winter and Hammar, paced the field to the green flag for the feature event. Hammar took off with the early lead, but Kirk was right on his tail trying to take the lead. The first yellow flew when the 25 of Larry Poirier went for a spin. On the restart, Hammar got the jump on Kirk and took the lead. The field wasn't green for long however, as the 46 of Chad Harrington and the 33 of Alan Smith got together off turn two, collecting Winter. This restart, it was Beaulieu on the outside of Hammar. After slight contact off turn two, Beaulieu came out with the race lead. Just a few laps later, Poirier went for another spin off turn four, bringing out the yellow once again.
On the restart, Beaulieu got the jump over the 399 of Bob Weymouth, but the yellow immediately flew as Hammar and the 59 of Reid Lanpher went for a spin in turn three. For what would be the final restart, Beaulieu got the jump once again on Weymouth, and pulled out with the lead off turn two. Bourgoine got second from Weymouth with a handful of laps left, and ran Beaulieu down for the lead. He made a few bids, but it wasn't enough as Beaulieu took the win. Bourgoine finished second, with Weymouth in third and Kirk and Harrington rounding out the top five.
Just two more Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour races and the 2011 champion will be decided. Beaulieu currently holds a 70 point lead over Weymouth. Next weekend, the Tour heads to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway for one of their biggest races of the season. The 50 lap National Qualifier, taking place on one of the biggest weekends in racing, the PASS 400 weekend. Racing will start Saturday, September 17th, at 5:45 PM. For more news, info and how you can get behind the wheel of a Legends Car, visit Nelcar.net.