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From Back To Front, Beaulieu Wins at Beech Ridge
Going into the second round of V.I.P. Thursday Night Thunder at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Evan Beaulieu was on the stretch of six straight second place finishes, and a win would be almost out of the question coming from the rear of the field, but with a track that had plenty of grip after a week of great New England weather, it could be anyone's race.
Last week's winner Matt Bourgoine, Beaulieu and former Thursday Thunder champion Bob Weymouth would have to make something happen from the rear of the field after finishing in the top three last week. With the sun shining, the field was set for what many fans called, the best Legends race they had ever seen.
After the draw in the driver's meeting, Kevin Hutchens put his No. 27 machine on the pole with the No. 84 of rookie Matt Grant on the outside. As the green flag flew, Hutchens held on to the lead, with the No. 17 of Terry Kirk following through into the second spot. It didn't take long for the first caution to fly, as the No. 49 of Pete Cannell spun on the backstretch just three laps into the race.
The field was reset after a few laps of yellow, and Hutchens was able to get away once again on the restart. Grant found his way into second spot with the rest of the field two-by-two behind him with the drivers coming from the rear of the field working three wide in traffic at times. About halfway through the race, Beaulieu was able to break through the traffic on the outside line and find the bottom of the track to try and reel in Hutchens. With just eight laps to go, the No. 05 of Super Modified driver Mike Ordway and the No. 10 of longtime competitor Ed Getty made contact, sending Getty for a spin and bringing out the caution flag.
Hutchens on the inside, Beaulieu on the outside, the two championship competitors from a year ago were set to battle for the win. The green flag flew and the two drivers stayed side-by-side down into turn one. Hutchens started to gain a bit of an advantage on Beaulieu, but Beaulieu wasn't backing down as he got back to even with Hutchens with a few laps to go.
With just two laps to go, the two leaders made contact out of turn two while running side-by-side, which sent Hutchens into a spin and causing a huge wreck in turn three, collecting Kirk, Getty, Steve Fox, Alan Smith, Bourgoine, Tylar Braunschweig and Ryan Hammar. Everyone involved was okay.
At the finish, Beaulieu was able limp his car to the win with his teammate Charlie Buxton finishing second and Matt Grant in third, the first podium at Beech Ridge for both drivers.
With the win, Beaulieu moved into the points lead for V.I.P. Thursday Thunder as well as the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour title fight. The Tour will be back at Beech Ridge next Thursday night for round three of V.I.P Thursday Thunder at Beech Ridge, and with Beaulieu, Buxton and Grant coming from the rear of the field this time and the competition as good as it's ever been, it will be yet another great race. For more news, info and how you can get into a Legends Car, visit Nelcar.net.
FINISH - CAR # - NAME
1 - 56 - EVAN BEAULIEU
2 - 12B - CHARLIE BUXTON
3 - 84 - MATT GRANT®
4 - 399 - BOB WEYMOUTH
5 - O5NH - MICHAEL ORDWAY JR
6 - 49 - PETE CANNELL
7 - 113 - CASEY NASH
8 - 60 - ANTHONY PAGLIARULO
9 - 27 - KEVIN "Kman" HUTCHENS
10 - 17 - TERRY KIRK
11 - 10 - ED GETTY
12 - 70 - TYLAR BRAUNSCHWEIG
13 - 88 - STEVE FOX
14 - O2 - RYAN HAMMAR
15 - 33 - ALAN SMITH
16 - 38 - MATHEW BOURGOINE
17 - 8 - MATT CHAGNOT
18 - 81 - DAN WINTER
19 - 4 - PETER CRAIG