story by Amy Harrop
Written By: Amy Harrop
Coming out of a successful 2016 racing season where he earned “Rookie of the Year” honors at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in the Wildcats division, Zach Nicholson still had many goals in mind as he entered his sophomore season in 2017. Although 2016 was a good year for the young driver, he still wanted more. What was the top goal on his list? A feature victory in 2017. After an entire season full of ups and downs, Zach Nicholson finally captured his first feature victory in an accident-ridden 30-lap feature on Saturday night at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine.
Coming into the night, Zach had clearly made his mark at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, earning himself 9 top-5 finishes in 13 weeks of competition. The orange and blue #21 was a consistent figure at the front of the pack each and every week, fighting for position. Like all drivers do, Zach did have some tough weeks, including being caught up in a frightening wreck in turn 3 on July 22nd, a wreck that led to him being transported to Maine Medical Center with a sprained ankle. No matter what happens to him out on the track, Zach never gives up. After his wreck, he brushed himself off and returned to competition the very next week; only to take home yet another top-5 finish in his division. Due to his many qualifying heat race victories over the course of the season, people started to deem Zach as the “Heat Race Hero”. This motivated him to work harder to finally secure that first career victory he had been longing for for two years.
Written By: Amy Harrop
August 22, 2017
Sunday, July 30th wasn’t the average race day for Westbrook’s John Peters, driver of the #51 Runtal Radiators Pro Stock car. The John Peters Motorsports team loaded up their car and headed to Wiscasset Speedway for the Boss Hogg 150, an 150-lap Pro Stock race at the 3/8 mile oval located 1 hour North of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Peters’ usual stomping grounds on the weekend. Being a past victor at Wiscasset, Peters was excited to make another appearance at the racetrack. By the end of the day, excitement turned into frustration for Peters and the entire #51 team as the day took a highly unexpected turn for the worse.
It wasn’t long into the race before the #51 team suffered from a twisted form of fate. From his point of view, John says that he was having a good race, making his way up to third early and trying to track down the leaders. He calls what happened next “a racing deal”, recounting the events that took place. “I came out of turn 2, which is a full throttle spot at Wiscasset. The second place car had just spun going into turn 3. It looked like I had room to avoid him high, so I backed off and committed to the top. Not a split second later, his car rolled up the track, so I hit the brakes and cut the wheels left. I got the car pointed towards the bottom but it started to slide and I just couldn’t get low enough. My right side door caught his left front, which ripped everything out of the right rear, spun me around and launched me into the wall. It happened really fast,” he recounts. Peters’ said that he immediately knew the wreck was major, saying that he saw his rear end tube, wheel, tire and brakes go flying down the track. John’s Dad Greg Peters also knew that it was a vicious wreck, saying, “Our first thoughts were “Is he okay?”. He told us on the radio that he was okay, so then the frustration kicked in.” From just looking at the aftermath of the wreck, he also knew that the car was totalled.
Photo Credit to: Gerry Motorsports
Written By: Amy Harrop
It’s almost hard to believe that Curtis Gerry’s first Pro Series win at Beech Ridge came just a few short weeks ago. The 2016 Pro Series champion is living proof that wins don’t necessarily win you championships, consistency does. Consistency on the track is something that Curtis Gerry and his team have nailed down, seeing that the #7 is a constant figure at the front of the pack week in & week out at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Gerry, a seasoned veteran that’s been racing since the late 80’s, isn’t slowing down anytime soon. He’s fresh off the 2016 championship season and is already looking for another one, hoping to see more checkered flags in his near future.
After accomplishing a victory on the biggest stage at Beech Ridge, Gerry would like to take his success one step further, on the PASS level. His main goal this season is to win back-to-back championships of course, but he wants to show that his #7 car can succeed in a class with touring drivers. “We got disqualified from our last PASS race…for redemption, that’s one of my next goals, to win a PASS race.” he says. The redemption song is something that Gerry seems to know well, seeing that his win earlier this year was redemption for the Pro Series 125 the week prior, where he dominated the race only to have his night end early due to a part failure. When he describes the feeling of winning a race, Gerry says that he feels more relieved than anything. “It’s just a relief, you know, finally it just came to us…we’ve been right there so many times…last week we would have had it hands-down, and something freakish like that happens; we’ve just been so close so many times.” he says, talking about how he’s come so close to victory in the past without securing it. The relief is in knowing that the hard work of he and his crew has finally paid off in a big way. Gerry may be a wheelman himself, but he still draws inspiration from other drivers.
photo credit Evan Beaulieu
By: Amy Harrop
24-year-old Evan Beaulieu of Durham, Maine is no stranger to the trials and triumphs that come with racing competitively. As many drivers do, Evan made his start in go-kart racing at a young age. From 2004-2007, he competitively raced go-karts. He then moved up to the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour in 2008, where he raced in the Legends division at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, securing the Thursday Night Thunder Legends Championship in 2011. 2013 was Evan’s first year in the Pro Series at Beech Ridge, which is the division that he still competes in today. 2013 was also Evan’s most successful year in the series, where he scored his first career Pro Series victory. After a near 2-season hiatus from racing NASCAR Nite weekly at Beech Ridge, Evan is back this year with vengeance. With a growing career off-track and a wedding on the horizon to his fiance Lindsey, Evan has a lot on his plate. But, he handles all of the pressure with grace and dignity; showing more strength each and every week of competition. Luckily, Evan has an entire support system there with him weekly, cheering him on and helping him get the #56 machine back to a competitive state.
photo By: Amy Harrop
At the young age of 15, Zach Nicholson of Ossipee, New Hampshire is continuing to surprise everyone as he rises to the top of the Wildcat division at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine. As a lot of drivers do, Zach made his start at Beech Ridge in the “Whiz Kids” division at the speedway, a division where kids between the ages of 8-15 race expedition races before the NASCAR Nite competition begins on Saturday nights. This non-points division allows kids to get a feel of the racetrack and their cars before stepping into a competitive division at the speedway. Although he’s new to the Wildcat division and fresh out of the Whiz Kids, Zach Nicholson is wise beyond his years.
Zach continues to impress fans and fellow competitors each and every week, continuously being a top-5 contender every Saturday night of competition. Earlier this season, he even received his first checkered flag on NASCAR Nite; his prize for winning a qualifying heat race. Although he’s the youngest contender in his series, he continues to compete with Beech Ridge greats like Lewis Anderson; of who he personally idolizes and looks to for advice. Zach jokes that it’s a family atmosphere in the pits, but “All bets are off when we put on our helmets.” In terms of NASCAR drivers that he looks up to, Zach likes watching Ryan Blaney, another young gun, continuously prove himself among veterans of the sport. He also says that’s part of the reason why his number is 21 on his car, but it’s “…more or less because I couldn’t get my number.” His previous car number is 22, so 21 is the closest that he could get. In addition to looking up to other drivers from all levels of the sport, Zach draws influence from his family and friends.
Photo Credit to: Ali Pennell (AP Photography)
Written By: Amy Harrop
Ryan Villacci of Falmouth, Maine may only be in his second Sport Series season at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, but he’s continuously impressing everyone at the track as he runs up front every week. Before trying his hand in a Sport Series car, Villacci was a weekly contender in the #10 Wildcat on Saturday nights. Last year, he made the big step up into the #08 car, and he hasn’t looked back since. After struggling with a string of bad luck all season, Villacci got his first Sport Series win of the ’17 season just two weeks ago. This was his second career win in the Sport Series, and a follow-up to his fifth place finish in the points standings last season. This win, to Villacci, felt like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. “It felt amazing, not just to get the win, but to finally be running better. It was getting to a point where I felt like just giving up. We had tried everything we could think of and nothing seemed to make us any faster. I had started to think that maybe I forgot how to drive a race car. But, over the past few weeks, we had some people lending a helping hand and it made all the difference.” he says, expressing gratitude toward all those that have helped him achieve his goals. Villacci has a very small team, but never falls short of expressing how extremely thankful he is for them.