On Thursday afternoon, Wyatt Alexander finally received the parts he needed to rebuild his car from a catastrophic drivetrain failure last weekend.
On Friday afternoon, Alexander, his father and grandfather rolled the repaired car back into the hauler.
And on Saturday evening, Alexander, his father and grandfather stood together in victory lane at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, triumphant in the first ever Granite State Pro Stock Series feature held at the Scarborough, Maine oval.
Alexander drove around race leader Corey Bubar on lap 128, earning his first career touring Late Model win in a race that had a distinctly Down East flavor.
But for a while, it seemed like merely getting to the track would be a victory for the engineering student from Ellsworth, a town situated between Bangor and Mount Desert Island.
Alexander was running in the top ten in last Saturday’s weekly Pro Series feature at Beech Ridge when a driveshaft failure tore the car’s drivetrain asunder. Alexander was uninjured, but the damage left his team with a car that was hardly ready for one of the biggest races of the year.
“Got parts [Thursday] afternoon, and finally got to dive into this thing after dinner,” Alexander shared on Twitter on Friday. “8:00pm the motor mounts were free, no bell housing, drive shaft and the spare transmission was torn apart on the bench. Lunch break scale session and it is headed in the box … Gramp put the finishing touches on it while Dad and I worked this morning. Hopefully it pays off.”
With that, Alexander and team were off to Beech Ridge, a track where they had planned a full-scale title assault for 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, under the weight of Maine’s stringent limitations on group gatherings and public events, the track adjusted its schedule to a seven-week series of open-competition, non-points weekly features. The inaugural GSPSS visit, originally scheduled for July, had even been nudged a few weeks later, in hopes that fans might be able to attend by then.
And with Beech Ridge’s weekly Pro Series class running a rules package very similar to the touring GSPSS cars, plenty of Alexander’s regular competitors were in the pits looking to test their mettle against Ray Christian III, Angelo Belsito, and the other touring stars.
Reigning Maine NASCAR state champion David Oliver set fast time in qualifying, going on to win his heat race. Alexander and Pro All Stars Series regular Derek Ramstrom won the other two heats. Weekly veterans Gary Smith and Corey Bubar were awarded the front row after the redraw, with Belsito lining up alongside Alexander in third and fourth.
For the opening stint, though, it was Bubar who had the field covered. The multi-time Beech Ridge feature winner turned in a similar performance in June, dominating the middle stages of a Pro All Stars Series event at nearby Oxford Plains Speedway. With Saturday’s race exceeding the usual GSPSS feature by fifty laps, and considering Bubar’s Beech Ridge prowess, it looked like he was well on pace to take the win for the home team.
But Bubar was held up in lapped traffic with 23 laps remaining, and Alexander saw an opening on the high side, an opening he played to his advantage.
From there, Bubar could only watch Alexander drive off into the sunset.
Alexander’s first-ever touring Late Model win also came in his GSPSS debut, a feat matched by Garrett Hall when he won at Oxford Plains Speedway in 2017 in the series’ previous appearance in Maine. Veteran racer DJ Shaw won the series’ only other race in Maine, a 2016 bout at Wiscasset Speedway.
A frustrated Bubar finished second, matching his series best in his sixth GSPSS start. Derek Ramstrom, winner of the 2014 PASS 300 at Beech Ridge, was third. Fast qualifier David Oliver was fourth, with two-time 2020 Beech Ridge feature winner Trevor Sanborn fifth.
Gary Smith, the winner of the last PASS-sanctioned visit to Beech Ridge in 2018, was sixth, ahead of 2017 PASS winner Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., the highest-finishing GSPSS regular. Ray Christian III was on Polewarczyk’s heels, with reigning GSPSS champion and former Beech Ridge regular Joey Doiron ninth. Kevin Casper rounded out the top ten.
Angelo Belsito’s night came to an early end on lap 80, leaving the early-season surprise 24th in the final running order and costing Belsito crucial ground to Christian in the championship chase. Twenty-seven cars started the feature, with ten finishing on the lead lap.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series will take off two weeks before returning to action on Labor Day weekend, with the annual 150-lap showdown at Claremont (N.H.) Motorsports Park. This year’s Labor Day Classic promises a $10,000 prize to the winner, making it the biggest event in series history.
Unofficial Results, GSPSS 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway:
1. (96) Wyatt Alexander
2. (12) Corey Bubar
3. (35) Derek Ramstrom
4. (21ME) David Oliver
5. (29S) Trevor Sanborn
6. (75) Gary Smith
7. (97) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
8. (93CT) Ray Christian III
9. (73) Joey Doiron
10. (88) Kevin Casper
11. (93G) Ryan Green
12. (56) Evan Beaulieu
13. (18) John Lowinski-Loh
14. (52NH) Jake Matheson
15. (21) Josh King
16. (25) Barry Poulin
17. (44) Rusty Poland
18. (94) Garrett Hall
19. (3) Travis Buzzell
20. (12P) Bobby Pelland III
21. (31NH) Luke Hinkley
22. (N40) Dan McKeage
23. (48) Larry Gelinas
24. (8) Angelo Belsito
25. (90NH) Casey Call
26. (4) Ben Rowe
27. (24) Joe Pastore, Jr.