Last Monday, the NEO Racing News Legends League would run the 11th race of their season, a 50 lap event at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, just before the SK Modifieds would go on track for their feature race.
Entering the night, the points battle had been shaping up all season long between points leader Ryan Borges, and Parker Traves who wasn’t too far behind. But with Borges not in attendance, it looked like Traves would be able to capitalize and looked to gain some valuable points in the standings.
After qualifying, Bill Martin picked up the pole for the race, but would miss the grid, which allowed Traves to control the start of the event. Traves would jump out into the lead, and quickly pulled into the lead. However a couple of early cautions would slow the pace of the race, and unfortunately for the race leader, Traves would have some mechanical issues and would drop out of the race just 10 laps into the event.
This handed the lead over to Ryan Beagle on the lap 15 restart where he was able to launch ahead while the battle was on for spots inside the top five. Ken Belanger and Matt Rolfe battle for the 2nd position, with Belanger holding onto the spot from the high groove. Once Rolfe settled in behind him, he would get loose and spun to the inside of the track on lap 18, but the race would stay green.
This would allow Willy Howells to move up to the rear bumper of Belanger to challenge for the 2nd spot, and the two drivers would battle it out for the remainder of the race. As they battled, it allowed Beagle to strengthen his lead at the front of the field, but all eyes were on the battle for 2nd. Howells continued to look to both the low side, and the high side to get by, but Belanger would hold his line in the upper groove, which kept giving him the run off the corner to keep the advantage. Howells ran within a couple of car lengths behind Belanger for the entire second half of the race, but Belanger was able to hold him off to the finish.
Out front, it was no contest for Beagle. He was able to pull his lead out to over 9 seconds over the battle for 2nd, and he would come around after leading the final 40 laps to pick up the win. The victory for Beagle would be his first career SARA win in just his 7th league start. Belanger and Howells would finish 2nd and 3rd respectively, while Patrick Hahe would finish 4th, and Rolfe would recover for 5th.
Despite missing the event, and with Traves’ dropping out of the race early, Ryan Borges continues to hold onto the points lead by 20 points heading into the double header on Monday, at Texas and Lime Rock.