Maxham claims Coupe victory; Christian wins Late Model Madness
–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BRADFORD — Josh Sunn wasn’t sure he’d ever drive a race car again.
But less than a year after a Midget wreck at Bear Ridge Speedway nearly changed his life and ended his racing career, the White River Junction driver returned to form and earned the win in the 40-lap Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature on Saturday night.
“I don’t know whether to cry or be happy,” Sunn said. “I never thought I’d ever be in a race car in my life again.
“I never thought I would win again. I never thought I would be competitive again.”
Sunn was airlifted to a hospital from Bear Ridge on August 27, 2016 after a wreck in a preliminary event. He returned to driving on July 2 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and back to Bear Ridge the following week. Saturday’s win was his fourth race back.
“I was (back in the car) two weeks ago and tried it out,” Sunn said. “I was feeling good about it and I just kept going.
“It’s just so tragic what happened last year. But you kind of have to put that in the past.”
Sunn started in the 12th position and quickly ran to be inside the top-five by the fifth lap. From there, Sunn made quick work and had moved into second by lap 13 and began to quickly reel in leader Mike Dunn.
A lap 15 restart would see Sunn jump to the outside of Dunn and take the lead on lap 17. Sunn would quickly run away and claim the win.
The win for Sunn comes nearly one year to the day of his last Sportsman Modified win.
“This (car) was amazing,” Sunn said. “I tried a couple of different thing; I have a new shcok guy and we’ve been trying a few things out.
“This (car) was just on a rail. I could pretty much drive it one handed wherever it went and through lapped traffic. It was amazing to drive.”
For Sunn, Saturday’s win was the culmination of a near year-long return with the support of family and friends.
“I just want to thank all the supporters who helped me” Sunn said. “It’s been a long year. From my mother and my sister to my whole family.
“My boss (Gary Corsi), he owns this car. He’s been behind with me through this whole thing and not rushing me. We’ve been together 13 years and it’s crazy to be competitive in this type of car. It’s amazing.”
Ryan Christian finished second while Robert Tucker moved from a ninth place starting spot to finish third. Derek Graham unofficially regained the point lead with a fourth place finish while Matt Lashua finished fifth.
Jordan Fornwalt, Dunn, Terry Williams, Chris Clark, and D.J. Robinson completed the top-ten finishers.
Earl Maxham led all 30 laps en route to the win in the Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupe feature.
The Enfield, N.H. driver started on the pole position and ran through a few early race restarts to claim the win. Maxham was also forced to hold off hard advances from former division champion Jason Colbeth during the run to the checkered flag.
Colbeth finished second while second place point driver Brian Chaffee took a big step toward wrangling the championship with a third place finish. Multi-time champion Josh Harrington and Gene Pierson Jr. completed the top-five finishers.
Defending champion Jason Horniak, Chris LaForest, Danny Doyle, Todd Hayward, and Tyler Stygles finished sixth through tenth, respectively.
Ryan Christian of Canaan, N.H. used a segment two victory to propel himself to the overall win in the C.A. Miller Limited Late Model “Madness” event.
Christian had tied with segment one winner Wayland Childs, but Christian was awarded the overall win by his better segment two finish. It was his third straight win in the Limited Late Model division.
Childs finished second with John Neddo third with five points. Kevin Dickinson finished fourth with Corey Kennison fifth overall.
Buddy Welch of East Corinth earned his fourth Weglarz Property Service Four Cylinder win of the season in their 20-lap feature.
Welch held off Bobby Bell after a late race restart. Jason Porter finished third.
Kevin Chaffee won the 30-lap Sprint Cars of New England event. More on the Sprint Car event can be found later on VtMotorMag.com.
Matt Calley of Sanbornton, N.H. went wire-to-wire in the 20-lap 500cc Granite State Mini Sprint feature to earn the win. Calley was forced to hold off hard advances by Eric Relation, but Relation was forced to settle for second. Willy Pinkham Jr., Owen Carbee, and Ken Stridsberg completed the top-five finishers.
Ben Bachand of St. Albans ran away with the win in the 600cc Granite State Mini Sprint feature over Kyle Belliveau and Dick Lamotte.
Bear Ridge Speedway continues its 50th season on Saturday, July 29 with R&M Property Care night. Post time is set for 6:00pm.
VtMotorMag.com will have more from Bear Ridge Speedway soon.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — VP Fuels/Hoosier Tire East Night
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
(# — denotes rookie)
Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds (40 laps)
1. Josh Sunn, White River Junction
2. Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H.
3. Robert Tucker, Topsham
4. Derek Graham, Woodsville, N.H.
5. Matt Lashua, Canaan, N.H.
6. Jordan Fornwalt, Bradford
7. Mike Dunn, North Haverhill, N.H.
8. Terry Williams, Wells River
9. Chris Clark, Vershire
10. D.J. Robinson, Sharon
Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupes (30 laps)
1. Earl Maxham, Enfield, N.H.
2. Jason Colbeth, Newbury
3. Brian Chaffee, Bradford
4. Josh Harrington, Topsham
5. Gene Pierson, East Corinth
6. Jason Horniak, Bradford
7. Chris LaForest, Barre
8. Danny Doyle, Rochester
9. Todd Hayward, Bradford
10. # Tyler Stygles, Bradford
C.A. Miller Limited Late Models (2 x 15 laps)
1. Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H. — 3 pts.
2. Wayland Childs, Chelsea — 3 pts.
3. John Neddo, Barre — 5 pts.
4. Kevin Dickinson, Canaan, N.H. — 5 pts.
5. Corey Kennison, Hartford — 10 pts.
Weglarz Property Service Four Cylinders (20 laps)
1. Buddy Welch, East Corinth
2. Bobby Bell, St. Johnsbury
3. Jason Porter, Freeport, Maine
4. Kelly Miller Jr., Johnson
500cc Granite State Mini Sprints (20 laps)
1. Matt Calley, Sanbornton, N.H.
2. # Eric Relation, Orange
3. # William Pinkham Jr., Temple, N.H.
4. Owen Carbee, Groton
5. Ken Stridsberg, Montpelier
600cc Granite State Mini Sprints (20 laps)
1. Ben Bachand, St. Albans
2. Kyle Belliveau, Hopkinton, N.H.
3. Dick Lamotte, Hartland
1 – Josh Sunn stands in victory lane following his Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature win on Saturday night at Bear Ridge Speedway. (Alan Ward photo)
2 – Josh Sunn stands on the roof of his race winning Sportsman Modified following his triumphant victory on Saturday night at Bear Ridge Speedway. (Alan Ward photo)