BeaveRun Motorsports Complex plays host to the Bully Clutches Gold Cup Series and the GT Machine Grand Nationals over the October 2-4 weekend. The track in Wampum, PA is a curve ball for competitors because it is the only counter-clockwise circuit the series has raced on in the last number of years. It is an event that some competitors dread, due to the mysteriously high tendency towards precipitation the facility has shown time and again. But to those who conquer the course, the elements, and their competitors go the spoils: for this race, golden eagle trophies are awarded to the winners in each class. And for many, a win here would make up for an otherwise forgettable 2009 season.
The now standard Friday-evening Money Race will go off for the final time this season at the conclusion of practice for the day. Brett Farmer was able to take the win for the second straight event in New Castle, on the strength of unmatched speed in the early portion of the race. But AJ Roderick and Zachary Linsell ran down Farmer on the final lap, which lead to contact and frayed tempers at the last corner before the flag. Brett will try to make it a three-peat in Pennsylvania, but Gary Lawson will be looking to make up for misfortune in the form of flat tires in New Castle and lost victories at Rock Island Grand Prix. Past performance suggests half the field should have a realistic chance to win this one, so expect great racing for cash and prizes on Friday night.
Michigan's Brett Farmer is going for his third straight Money Race win at BeaveRun
The Briggs Sportsman 1 classes have been a mixed bag this season. No one driver has dominated, leading to a very tight point race in both classes. Ohio’s Johnny Smith leads the way in Lite, with Maryland’s Trent Barnes and Skyler Locklear not far behind. Sunday’s Heavy class is ripe for the taking; Maryland’s Steven Brewer Jr. and Barnes are tied for the lead, while Smith and Wisconsin’s Jacob Zellner are only five points behind. Trent Barnes took advantage of a first-turn melee on Sunday in New Castle event to take the win, but if the weather intervenes, look for Skyler Locklear after his Saturday win in the wet. With a race to go and divisional results a true consideration in these classes, anything is possible for season championships in Briggs Sportsman 1.
Whenever there is a Heavlow on the grid, it’s hard to look much further in selecting a likely victor. Jimmy was a regular threat before moving to Legends, and now brother Jacob is having his way in the Briggs Sportsman 2 division. In either class, the Maryland driver holds a considerable lead over Wisconsin’s Parker Williams, New York’s Josh Stiefel, and Virginia’s Connor Brown. Heavlow’s Baker-powered Bandit barely took the win over Connecticut’s Chase Dowling on Saturday in the wet at New Castle, but he pulled out a 4.6 second margin at the flag come Sunday’s feature race. The blue and yellow #3 is hard to beat, but there is a pack of competitors ready and able to do just that in Pennsylvania this weekend.
While in past seasons the junior classes have been the home of ridiculously competitive racing, Ohio’s Dakota Bell has been nearly untouchable across the three classes he is eligible for. Although he faced considerable threats in New Castle from Ohio’s Sam Beasley, Maryland’s Zachary Deshaies, and New York’s Kaytlyn Fauci, Dakota was able to take victory three times on the weekend of racing in Indiana. Kudos to Deshaies, who leads the Briggs Restricted Jr. class heading to BeaveRun and also to Fauci for the class victory in New Castle. But it’s hard to overlook Bell, who with the sweep of his classes again this year would become a back-to-back Triple Crown champion.
Gary Lawson is looking for his second straight year in the WKA Triple Crown club with a possible three class championships
Briggs Masters promises to be a close battle for the title, with four drivers within one hundred points of the top spot. Ohio’s Steven Smith leads the table, but is coming back from a nasty flip and injuries incurred at a street race prior to the New Castle event. His pursuers include New York’s Tim Stiefel, Ohio’s Jerry Vaughn, and Florida’s Bradley Farmer. Matt Schmidt came out of nowhere to take the victory in the class at New Castle in the rain over Jerry Vaughn, who should be the one to watch out for at BeaveRun given his past performances in 2009.
Brett Farmer, Gary Lawson, and Eric Stowe have had it their own way in classes that have been woefully under-subscribed in 2009. Michigan’s Farmer ran unchallenged in both Briggs Super Stock classes on his Margay at New Castle. Ohio’s Lawson lost out to Ryan Phillips on Saturday in Briggs World Formula, but came back on Sunday and continues to lead the class for both days of racing. Maryland’s Stowe took the top spot in Briggs Raptor over Russ Marinucci. Russ recently was quite badly injured when he dozed off while driving his truck and crashed. Everyone in the Gold Cup series wishes Russ a speedy and complete recovery, and hopefully a return to the driver’s seat in 2010.
Lawson looks a likely champion in Briggs Super Heavy. Aboard his Turner-powered Arrow kart, the Ohio driver took another win in Super Heavy at New Castle over the Ohio’s Jason Karr and his similar mount. These two are probable to finish the season this way, but don’t count out Ohio’s Justin Gearhart either. If Lawson takes the title here and in World Formula, it would mean a second-straight Triple Crown for him.
Like Lawson, Dakota Bell has a chance for a second straight season in the WKA Triple Crown club in the Junior division
Gary may have the points lead in Briggs Heavy as well, but don’t tell Ryan Phillips that. After an ambitious passing attempt and resulting spin in the New Castle heat race, Phillips came back to win the rainy feature in convincing fashion. As a result, he is only 25 points adrift of Lawson heading to BeaveRun. This win, together with soggy victories in World Formula and Briggs Lite aboard the Baker-powered Bandit, netted the Ohio driver three wins on that Saturday. With another victory a week later in the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series event, Phillips was named the EKN Driver of the Month for August. Expect more wheel-to-wheel action between the Ohio drivers in Pennsylvania.
Although the competition will be deep in the Briggs Lite and Medium divisions, Farmer has to be considered the favorite heading into the Grand National. The Michigan driver leads the points table by 80 points from Phillips in Lite, and ran away to a 7-second margin victory in the Medium class at New Castle. Dan Koehler looks a likely champion in Medium, with two wins earlier in 2009. Farmer will have his choice of Margay or Coyote chassis to go with his Baker engines in Pennsylvania. Plus he has the added incentive of having never won a Grand National before. A case could be made for any of a dozen drivers to win Medium this weekend, but it’s hard to argue with the consistent speed Farmer has shown, especially when it has all looked so easy.
On the strength of eleven wins in New Castle, Bandit karts lead for wins on the season over Arrow - 25 to 14. Bandits have historically run well with a Briggs or a Yamaha at BeaveRun, but the other chassis manufacturers have been out testing at the track and Margays ran strong the last time out in 2006. Thus, it is hard to say who will likely have the edge when the checkers wave in Pennsylvania. It should be an exciting weekend of 4-cycle racing at the GT Machine Grand Nationals at BeaveRun.