As the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour season came to a close this past Saturday, you could feel the energy in the pit area as the drivers were preparing for one last shot at a victory before retiring their vehicles for the winter. This time however, the tour was back on the road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Shaun Buffington, who came into this race undefeated on the road course, was quickest in practice. The field was realigned after the top eight drivers were inverted and the 18 car Legends field took the track for the final time of the 2011 season.
The 99 of Mike Alton led the field to the green flag with the 399 of Bob Weymouth on his outside. As the field went through the first few corners, debris on the track brought out the first yellow flag. The field realigned and went green for the second time. Alton got a good jump but it was Weymouth who got the lead after the first few corners.
On the second lap, the 23 of Shawn Buffington lost his brakes heading into turn four, which lead him to make contact with the 56 of Evan Beaulieu. Beaulieu was able to continue on, but Buffington saw his day end early.
On the restart, Weymouth led the field to the green, but it didn't take long before the 38 of Matt Bourgoine overtook him for the race lead. Around the halfway point the 20 of Taylor Martin spun in the downhill section of the track and was stuck in the grass, forcing the full course yellow.
On the final restart of the race, Bourgoine once again got the jump and took off. However, the 79 of Max Zachem was right on him in the race for the win. At the end, it was all Bourgoine as he showed his skill on the road course and pulled away to take the victory. Beaulieu raced his way from the rear of the field to finish second in a thrilling race with Zachem who settled for third. Rookie Reid Lanpher and Tom Gray rounded out the top five.
Ironically enough, even after their incident, both Beaulieu and Buffington were crowned champions after the event. Evan Beaulieu solidified the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour championship in his fourth full season of racing Legend Cars. Shawn Buffington captured the NHMS championship with his dominating season on both the quarter mile oval and the 1.6 mile road course.
This was a season to remember, as many drivers found victory lane, and it was one of the most competitive in the tour's history. The tour would like to thank its competitors, fans, and sponsors for a successful 2011 season, and to keep updated over the offseason, and how to get involved before opening day in 2012, please visit Nelcar.net.