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Beattie wins thrilling ACT Tour Spring Green at Seekonk

The ACT Tour rookie conquered the “Action Track of the East” Saturday night to earn his first Tour win in his thirteenth series start.

Kasey Beattie emerges victorious from his car after outdueling Erick Sands to win the ACT Tour's 49th Spring Green at Seekonk Speedway. (STS/Jeff Brown)

At the end of last year, Kasey Beattie thought that his racing career would have to be put on pause. But a turn of fate turned Beattie from a sidelined racer into a touring rookie.

And Saturday night, the touring rookie found his way to victory lane.

Beattie held off a hard-charging Erick Sands to claim his first American-Canadian Tour Late Model win at Seekonk Speedway in the 49th running of the historic Spring Green.

And while the Vermonter was dominant from the drop of the green flag, he knew in the final nine-lap sprint that the tables had turned.

“They were definitely better than us,” Beattie said of Sands and fellow rookie Kaiden Fisher, who fell short of stealing the checkered flag at the finish. “We didn’t have the best car at the end.

“It’s better to be lucky than good.”

Saturday’s Spring Green, an event in which the lap count reflects the year of the race, was only the second to be hosted at Seekonk, the only paved oval in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. With a mix of ACT Tour regulars and Seekonk weekly competitors in the pits, 34 cars would have to be whittled down to fill the starting grid.

And it was Beattie’s action-packed heat that set so many storylines in motion. Only one lap in, Autodrome Chaudière winner Alexendre Tardif lost a tire, collecting Jake Johnson and Jonathan Bouvrette in the aftermath. Johnson, second fastest in the final practice session, loaded up early, out of contention. Tardif and Bouvrette were relegated to the consi rounds just to make the field.

Beattie, meanwhile, carved through the short field to finish third, giving him a plus-six in ACT’s plus-minus pool that would elevate him to the pole for the feature.

Beattie set the tone early, leading the lion’s share of the 124-lap contest en route to the victory. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Starting alongside Jacob “Rowdy” Burns, Beattie cleared the Seekonk local early and built a lead as Gabe Brown worked Burns over. Brown made his move, leaving Burns in the clutches of Sands and Fisher as he set off after Beattie.

A lap-24 spin for Rémi Perreault erased Beattie’s advantage, with the St. Johnsbury, Vt. racer ceding the inside line to Brown for the restart. Brown pressured Beattie for the point, but Vinnie Arrenegado’s spin brought out the caution again on lap 33.

Beattie again took the outside, with Brown inching ahead for the lead as Fisher traced the apron of the track to make it a three-wide battle for the top spot. Beattie’s top-groove choice prevailed as he shut the door on Brown, while Fisher gave up third to points leader Derek Gluchacki.

Kaiden Fisher (#18VT) tests the inside line on Gabe Brown and leader Beattie early on. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Burns had slipped out of the top five when he and Jesse Switser made contact off turn two on lap 51, sending “Rowdy” for a spin in front of the field. Only Ray Christian III and Bryan Wall, Jr. were collected in the fracas, but the damage to Burns’ car was terminal as the outside polesitter departed for the pits.

On the restart, Beattie made quick work of Brown, who found himself sandwiched between Fisher up high and Gluchacki down low in a battle for second. As the three sorted themselves out, Sands diced his way to third as Tom Carey III joined the top-five battle. Beattie was at last able to pull away from Fisher as Carey pressured Gluchacki for fourth.

More trouble for Arrenegado brought the caution back out on lap 88. This time, Fisher lined up inside Beattie for the restart. Beattie wasted little time getting single-file in front of Fisher, but the Thunder Road phenom stayed glued to Beattie’s bumper around the third-mile oval. Sands settled into third, waiting for either of the rookies out front to make a mistake.

Behind the lead battle, fellow rookie Jeremy Sorel was turning in a career night in the top ten when smoke billowed from the rear end of his Chevrolet. As Sorel’s rear gear came apart, he oiled down the track surface, with Polewarczyk, Wall, Ryan Flood and others spinning through the mess. The yellow waved at lap 109, and the field came to a stop on the backstretch as track workers cleaned the trail of oil and separated the cars of Wall and Flood.

Derek Gluchacki spent most of the race battling the leaders, but settled for fifth at the finish. (STS/Jeff Brown)

With fifteen laps remaining, Beattie could do nothing but sit and think.

Beattie led the field to green, and Fisher was relentless on the restart, holding firm on the inside. Then Sands dove to the apron entering turn one, forcing Fisher high and making it a three-way battle for the win. Fisher fended off Brown as Sands used the inside line against Beattie, inching ahead in turns three and four while Beattie gained the advantage back on the other end of the track. Beattie eventually pulled clear by a car-length as Fisher tested the high line against Sands for second.

With the top four under a blanket beneath the white flag, Sands drove deep into turn one, but Beattie cleared the Granite Stater off turn two. Fisher threw his car under Sands’ into turn three, but the rookie lost grip in the corner, looping it and costing himself a podium finish with the checkered flag within sight.

As the field wove through Fisher’s smoke show, Beattie skidded across the line ahead of Sands to earn his first ACT Tour feature win in only his 13th start.

Beattie and Sands slide across the finish line to take the checkered flag. (STS/Jeff Brown)

“Erick ran me really clean, and Fisher did too, for the laps we were side by side,” Beattie said of the late-race firefight. “We were very, very fortunate for those guys to run me as clean as they did. I know the Tour can be pretty aggressive.”

Sands, who finished third in the 2021 Haunted Hundred at Seekonk, bettered his career best by one with his runner-up performance.

Brown snaked through the last-lap fracas for third, with Carey fourth and Gluchacki fifth.

Starting 27th after a heat-race mishap, Alexendre “Fireball” Tardif picked his way through traffic to finish a solid sixth. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Tardif, despite taking a provisional to start 27th after his heat-race issues, drove a smart race to finish sixth. Defending race winner Polewarczyk overcame his own late spin, coming home seventh. Fellow New Hampshire racer Cam Huntress was a strong eighth. Two-time defending champion D.J. Shaw struggled all night with traffic, finishing ninth ahead of eight-time Seekonk Pro Stock champ Dave Darling, who was tenth in his first ACT appearance.

Fisher recovered to limp across the line in 15th.

For Beattie, it was an opportunity to savor what he thought, after last year’s track championship at White Mountain Motorsports Park, might never come.

Beattie was resigned to taking time away from racing after last season, until car owner Jeff Oeschger stepped in to fund his team for the 2024 season. (STS/Jeff Brown)

“Me and my dad poured everything into last year, trying to win a championship,” Beattie said, “because we knew at the end of the year before, we had a really good car and had a shot at it. Funds dried up near the end of the year.”

Despite clinching the track title, the Beatties were at the end of the line. “And I think it was Milk Bowl weekend, Jeff Oeschger was kinda looking for this kind of operation, to buy into an operation and own a car. Tim Hunt kind of hooked my dad and Jeff up, and that kind of started the whole process, and we went from there.

“Jeff wanted to go Tour racing. We were content racing White Mountain weekly. This was Jeff’s idea.”

The idea was Oeschger’s, but the car was Beattie’s, a ten-year-old and updated Dale Shaw Race Cars chassis. It was quick at WMMP all year. And then, in the season-opening Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Beattie was swept up in one of the day’s grinding crashes.

“This is the Loudon car,” he said. “We stripped it that night at the race track, and we were the first ones down to Dale Shaw Race Cars [that Monday] to try and get it ready for Oxford. They clipped it that week and got it ready for Oxford, and we’ve been lucky enough to have our primary car all year.”

Beattie holds the point late in the running, with Erick Sands and Kaiden Fisher not too far behind. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Beattie had eight ACT Tour starts prior to this season, four at WMMP. He had raced at Seekonk once before, making an early exit in the 2022 Haunted Hundred in a car fielded by veteran Jim “Scruffy” Linardy. But he credited iRacing, and a former Seekonk track champion, for helping him figure out the new venue so quickly.

“I’m on RKM Setup Shop [with] Ryan Kuhn, and he told me that Lanier on iRacing was pretty close to the line,” Beattie said. “You’ve gotta drive the flagstand, turn down in and stuff. So I turned a lot of laps on Lanier last week to try and prepare myself mentally, muscle memory and stuff, for here. And it worked out for us.

“We had a really solid car.”

Beattie is ACT’s third consecutive first-time winner this year, following Christopher Pelkey at Thunder Road International Speedbowl and Tardif at Chaudière.

Jacob “Rowdy” Burns started second, but an early crash eliminated the young racer from contention. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Twenty-nine cars took the green flag Saturday, with Tardif taking the ACT Tour provisional and Chase Belcher earning a provisional as a Seekonk weekly racer. An additional promoter’s option was given to veteran Claude Leclerc, who won the 1983 Spring Green when the event was sanctioned by the NASCAR Stroh’s Tour, the forerunner to the ACT Pro Stock Tour.

Among those missing the cut were the aforementioned Johnson, a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner earlier this year, fellow Modified racer Woody Pitkat, and ACT rookie challenger Cole Littlewood.

That competitive depth is the thing that gives Beattie pause, even after earning that crucial post-victory momentum.

“Not very often is there many multi-time winners on the Tour,” he says. “It’s so hard to race on the Tour, everybody is so good. There’s hands-down, 15 to 20 guys every race that, if they have a good car, can win.”

Beattie is officially one of them.

“We’re mentally prepared now,” he says, “and we kind of got the monkey off our back, and we’re ready to chase another one.”

Unofficial Results
American-Canadian Tour Spring Green 124
Seekonk Speedway

1. (45NH) Kasey Beattie
2. (36NH) Erick Sands
3. (47NH) Gabe Brown
4. (5MA) Tom Carey III
5. (03MA) Derek Gluchacki
6. (21QC) Alexendre Tardif
7. (97NH) Joey Polewarczyk
8. (27NH) Cam Huntress
9. (04VT) D.J. Shaw
10. (52MA) David Darling
11. (31CT) Ray Christian III
12. (12RI) Bobby Pelland III
13. (9VT) Chip Grenier
14. (0NH) Jimmy Renfrew, Jr.
15. (18VT) Kaiden Fisher
16. (29MA) Joshua Hedges
17. (25NH) Jesse Switser
18. (33QC) Rémi Perreault
19. (98MA) Ryan Flood
20. (72MA) Ryan Kuhn
21. (11QC) Claude Leclerc
22. (77NH) Bryan Wall, Jr.
23. (7MA) Jeremy Sorel
24. (38RI) Connor Souza
25. (08RI) Richie Murray
26. (17RI) Vinnie Arrenegado, Jr.
27. (35MA) Chase Belcher
28. (30RI) Jacob “Rowdy” Burns
29. (41QC) Jonathan Bouvrette

Jeff Brown is a contributor to Short Track Scene. A native of New Hampshire and a long-time fan of New England racing, Brown provides a fan's perspective as he follows New England's regional Late Model touring series.

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