Buffington Wins Wild NELCAR Race at NHMS
Throughout the first five Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour races, there had been five different winners. In a season that has shown much more competition than we have ever seen, it was almost like nothing changed in the third Moat Mountain NHMS Series races of the season.
Shaun Buffington was once again the fastest car all day, and took the feature win, becoming the first repeat winner of the season. He didn't get it easily however, as a wild race produced some of the best racing at the front that is now expected due to recent close finishes at NHMS. While practice once again doubled as qualifying, Buffington and his teammate Tom Gray in the No. 18 car were the two quickest, and would lead each of their respective heat races to the green flag.
For the first heat race, it was Buffington on the pole with the 56 of Evan Beaulieu on the outside. For the start, it was those two who took off in the top two positions with the No. 38 of Matt Bourgoine in third. The yellow flag game out at the halfway point in the heat for a solo spin by the No. 49 of Pete Cannell. On the restart, Buffington was able to get away while Bourgoine worked his way around Beaulieu for second. At the finish it was Buffington over Bourgoine while Beaulieu rounded out the top three.
Tom Gray was on the pole for the second heat race with the No. 11 of Steve Miller on his outside. Gray was able to get the lead early, and opened up a bit of a lead on Miller. The heat ran caution free with Gray picking up the win, with the No. 59 of last week's winner Reid Lanpher in second and Miller rounding out the top three.
It was the teammates Buffington and Gray bringing the 23-car field to the green flag for what was set to be an exciting race. On the start, it was all Buffington as he opened up a lead while there was a scramble behind him for second. On lap three, the No. 60 of Joey Parker and the No. 33 of Alan Smith had an incident in turn one, bringing out the race's first red flag for cleanup.
Buffington once again had the lead on the restart, but going into turn one, it was Tom Gray who was able to get the lead around the outside and take command. The second yellow flag came out at the race's halfway point when contact between the No. 8 of Matt Chagnot and the No. 20 of Taylor Martin sent Martin for a spin, ending her day early. Other cars were involved but were able to continue on.
On the restart, Gray held the lead, but it didn't take long for Buffington to fight his way around on the outside to grab the race lead once again. The top four cars spread out a bit, until, with just a handful of laps to go, the No. 81 of Dan Winter nicked the wall off turn two and got airborne as Winter was in for a wild ride down the backstretch. The quick safety crews at NHMS were able to flip the car back over, and Winter climbed out without a mark on him to a standing ovation from the crowd.
On the final restart, it was Buffington who once again got out to the lead, with Beaulieu able to grab the second spot away from Gray as the top three cars were nose-to-tail for the finish. Beaulieu made a couple looks under Buffington, but through the lapped traffic Buffington was able to distance himself and take his first win of the season in the Moat Mountain NHMS Series. Beaulieu held off Gray for the second spot, while Bourgoine and Miller rounded out the top five.
With the win, Buffington was able to grab the points lead from Beaulieu in the Moat Mountain NHMS Series by one point. Buffington is also the first repeat winner on the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour this season.
The next race for the Tour will be Saturday, May 26th with the season's first trip to Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. Racing starts at 5 PM. For more news, info, and how you can get into a Legends Car, visit Nelcar.net.