–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BRADFORD – There was no stopping T.C. Forward on Saturday night at Bear Ridge Speedway.
The Lyme, N.H. driver led all 40 laps in the Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature event on F.M.S Auto Parts NAPA of Bradford opening night to claim the double-point counting win.
Forward started on the outside of sophomore campaigner Todd Fenoff on the front row and quickly navigated into the lead. Forward held off call challengers through five early race restarts, including one following a rollover on the frontstretch by newcomer Stephen Lary. Lary was uninjured and returned to the track for the ensuing restart.
The fiercest challenge for Forward came on the final lap as Derek Graham narrowed the gap and placed himself on Forward’s rear bumper. Forward was able to navigate turn three and for ahead of Graham and take the checkered flag.
Graham was forced to hold off a charging Trevor Rocke through the final turn to finish second while Rocke settled for third. Terry Williams and Robert Tucker finished fourth and fifth while Ryan Christian, Todd Buckwold, Chris Clark, Richie Simmons, and Tom Forward completed the top-ten finishers.
Melvin Pierson earned his second straight opening night win in the Wells River Chevrolet DIRTcar Sportsman Coupes.
The Corinth driver went wire-to-wire in the 30-lap feature.
Defending champion Jason Horniak challenged Pierson multiple times, but was forced to settle for second. Fellow former champion Jason Colbeth finished third with Todd Hayward fourth. Another former champion, the returning Gene Pierson Jr., completed the top-five finishers.
Sixth through tenth went to Thomas Placey, Danny Doyle, Tyler Stygles, Brian Chaffee, and Bob Kilburn, unofficially.
Dean Christensen of Granby, Conn. made a last lap pass on Manny Dias to win the 20-lap Laquerre’s Sport USAC Dirt Midget Association feature event.
Dias was the point man for the majority of the event, but was stalked for much of that by Christensen. The two would make contact as they ran under the white flag which saw Dias’ car shoot to the infield and Christensen continuing on into turn one.
Christensen continued under the checkered flag as the opening night winner as Dias collected his car to finish second. Adam Whitney finished third ahead of Andy Barrows and Jeff Horn.
Wayland Childs of Chelsea won the 15-lap C.A. Miller Limited Late Model feature as he held off multiple challenges from Ryan Christian throughout the event. Bryan Campbell finished third.
Jesse Durkee of South Royalton made a late race pass on Jason Porter to claim the win in the 20-lap Weglarz Property Service Four Cylinder feature event.
Porter held on for second with Bobby Bell third. Charlie Lakin and Buddy Welch completed the top-five finishers.
Bear Ridge Speedway returns to action on Saturday, May 13 for Alarmco Night that will feature the season opening events for the Sprint Cars of New England and Granite State Mini Sprints. Post time is set for 6:00pm.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – F.M.S. Auto Parts/NAPA of Bradford Night
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds
1. T.C. Forward, Lyme, N.H.
2. Derek Graham, Woodsville, N.H.
3. Trevor Rocke, Canaan, N.H.
4. Terry Williams, Wells River
5. Robert Tucker, Bradford
6. Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H.
7. Todd Buckwold, Canaan, N.H.
8. Chris Clark, Vershire
9. Richie Simmons, Bradford
10. Tom Forward, Lyme, N.H.
Wells River Chevrolet DIRTcar Sportsman Coupes
1. Melvin Pierson, Corinth
2. Jason Horniak, Bradford
3. Jason Colbeth, Newbury
4. Todd Hayward, Bradford
5. Gene Pierson Jr., Corinth
6. Thomas Placey, Bradford
7. Danny Doyle, Rochester
8. Tyler Stygles, Bradford
9. Brian Chaffee, Bradford
10. Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven
Laquerre’s Sport USAC Dirt Midget Association (20 laps)
1. Dean Christensen, East Granby, Conn.
2. Manny Dias, Attleboro, Mass.
3. Adam Whitney, Warren
4. Andy Barrows, New Ipswich, N.H.
5. Jeff Horn, Ashland, Mass.
C.A. Miller Limited Late Models
1. Wayland Childs, Chelsea
2. Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H.
3. Bryan Campbell, Barre
Weglarz Property Service Four Cylinders
1. Jesse Durkee, South Royalton
2. Jason Porter, Freeport, Maine
3. Bobby Bell, St. Johnsbury
4. Charlie Lakin, Groton
5. Buddy Welch, East Corinth
PHOTO: T.C. Forward (center) celebrates his season opening DIRTcar Sportsman Modified win at Bear Ridge Speedway with F.M.S. Auto Parts’ Ryan Olsen (left) and Samantha Thurston (right). (Alan Ward photo)