Turtle Soup: Brian Caswell Dominates Strictly Stock 75 At Beech Ridge

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FullSizeRender (5)SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Brian Caswell defended his home turf with ease on Saturday.

After struggling through most of the 2015 season in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Caswell led every lap to claim the 75-lap Strictly Stock open event as part of Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep PASS 400 weekend.

Caswell was briefly challenged by Oxford Plains Speedway regular Josh Childs, but the Waterboro, Maine, driver held him off on a restart with four laps remaining for his first win of 2015.

“The car was going away. Toward the end, it started getting looser and looser — but the restarts helped,” Caswell said. “After restarts, the car would come back to me for two or three laps.”

Childs finished second, while David Whittier was third. Lewis Anderson recovered from an early incident and a trip to the back of the pack to rally his way to fourth. Chaz Briggs rounded out the top five.

The afternoon, though, belonged entirely to Caswell.

Caswell kept a steady pace at the front of the pack through the first 60 laps. It was then that Childs pulled underneath the No. 47 of the driver nicknamed “Turtle,” but that’s as close as he would get. After a lap or two of driving to Caswell’s inside, Childs was forced to drop back in line in second.

“I know he liked the outside a little better,” Childs said. “My car definitely likes the bottom, and — yes — I thought I had him. But he liked the outside, and he held it just enough.”

“I knew once I got back by him he wasn’t going to be able to do anything. The outside, typically, is where you want to be here.”

After being a perennial Wildcat division championship contender, Caswell showed up with a new car to start the season. But instead of driving his way to the front of the field every week, it took Caswell until Aug. 29 to record his first — and only — 30-lap feature win in weekly competition at the .333-mile track.

He followed that victory with a runner-up finish Labor Day weekend, backing up those strong performances with a dominant effort over Saturday’s 75 laps.

“We just found something on the car that was missing,” said Caswell, who was winless until Aug. 29 but has now won two of his last three starts at Beech Ridge. “We found it. We’re still missing a little something, but it’s getting better.”

In Southern Maine Chrysler Dodge Jeep 300 qualifying for the PASS North Super Late Models, Robbie Harrison of Pownal, Maine, earned his first career PASS pole position by winning the first of four qualifying heats.

2013 series champion Cassius Clark of Farmington, Maine, will start on the outside pole. Glen Luce and Brent Dragon won the two other first-round qualifiers, and Dennis Spencer Jr. and Alan Tardiff won the two consolation races. A last-chance qualifier is slated to begin the racing activity on Sunday.

A total of 38 cars attempted to qualify for the 300, though two didn’t make it to the starting grid in their respective heat races. Both Derek Ramstrom of West Boylston, Mass. — who won this race a year ago — and Granite State Pro Stock Series point leader Derek Griffith of Hudson, N.H., suffered mechanical failures in Saturday morning practice and couldn’t make it to the grid.

Dan Wade of New Gloucester, Maine, won the 25-lap Bandit feature event.

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