Matt Grant Victorious Again, Claims Checkers at Thursday Thunder Round 9 (August 6, 2015)
Scarborough, ME – After being rained out last week, Thursday Thunder legends competitors made their way to the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on a sunny afternoon, all hoping to post a good result at round 9 of the 10 race series. Points battles have really taken shape for some of the higher positions, as well as for those looking to crack the top 10. Kevin Girard Jr. came in with a 52 point lead over Bob Weymouth, who holds 30 points over Alan Smith. Smith leads a tie for 4th place, between Tylar Braunschweig and Joe Pastore, by just a single point, and 6th place driver Steve Benincasa sits 42 points behind the final trophy position.
On the front row for the 25 lap feature was the 8 of Hooligan Motorsports pilot Matt Chagnot, alongside the Racin’ Realtor, Ed Getty in the 10. Chagnot, who has run very strong in the past few weeks particularly, proved his ability once again by taking hold of the race lead early on. Some good battles took place in the midst of the field while Chagnot showed the way, in what was one of the most evenly matched group of cars seen all year.
Tylar Braunschweig in the 70 looked to back up his runner up finish at Wiscasset last Saturday night, as he set to the outside of Chagnot, prevailing with the top spot on lap 10. The next 9 laps ran clean and green, as Braunschweig started to open up a bit of a gap over Chagnot and Getty, while some of the perennial front runners inched their way towards the top 5.
The race’s first caution came out on lap 19, when the Puzzled Racing 96 of Richard Humphrey spun, after incidental contact with the 92 of Colby Meserve. Braunschweig led the field back to the green, as the drivers on the inside line began to roll, which saw a stout lineup of cars, including the 59 of Reid Lanpher and the 19 of Kevin Girard Jr., who found themselves with an opportunity to win the race. Matt Grant in the 84 restarted in 6th place, but quickly dropped to the inside line to overtake Getty and Chagnot. He would not stop there though, as he jumped back to the outside and made the passes on Girard, Lanpher, and finally Braunschweig, to take over the race lead. Grant led lap 22, just before the caution came out again when the engine on the 72 of Mike Humphrey expired in turn 3, ensuing in a lengthy cleanup.
Due to time constraints, the field would get one more shot at a green flag finish. Grant took off on the restart as Braunschweig tried his best to navigate off of turn 4, which was now covered in speedy dry. Unfortunately the fans would not see a green flag finish, as the 80 of Dylan Varney went for a spin right off the get-go, ending up backwards in the frontstretch wall, ultimately ending the race. Varney walked away unhurt, and will repair the G&K Motors coupe to race again next week.
Matt Grant earned his second consecutive feature win, his third of the year, in what has been a breakout season for the 21 year old Windham driver, Reid Lanpher battled to a solid 2nd place effort after starting 11th in his Team EJP coupe, Bob Weymouth in the 399 ran in the middle of the pack nearly the entire race, but made some swift moves in the end to grab a 3rd place finish, Tylar Braunschweig was oh so close to tasting victory once again in the Jim’s Auto/Ring’s Auto Body coupe, but will still walk away with a strong 4th place result, and Kevin Girard Jr. posted another top 5, as he will likely only need to start next week’s race in order to be crowned the 2015 Thursday Thunder Champion.
On Saturday, the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour will make their first appearance of the season to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a combination race with the Granite State Legends Cars. After this race, next Thursday will be Championship night for Thursday Thunder, as the 25 lap feature event will be followed by Autograph Hour and the final points awards presentation!