–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – It was home sweet home for Brad Babb on Saturday night at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

The driver from nearby Windham, Maine took the lead from Eddie MacDonald on lap 60 while battling lapped traffic and drove away to claim his third career ACT Late Model Tour win and his second at Beech Ridge.

“It’s unbelievable,” Babb said. “I thought after Seekonk that we finally had the car straightened out. I was hoping that, being able to come home, we would really be good since I know this place better than anywhere else. I probably have more laps here than anyone else on the Tour.

“I was confident coming in, but I really didn’t know until probably 30 laps into the feature if we were going to have anything for Eddie. Once I could run with him for a while and got by him, I was pretty sure that, as long as there were no more cautions, we were going to win it.”

Babb started in the second spot and rode in close quarters to polesitter MacDonald for the first
20 laps of the event. Babb would then use a lap 20 restart to work past MacDonald for the top spot only to lose it following a lap 25 restart back to MacDonald.

Brad Babb celebrates his ACT Late Model Tour win at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with his girlfriend, Jackie (left), and parents, Bobby and Carla (right). (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)The 2012 Beech Ridge Pro Series champion would stay glued to MacDonald’s rear bumper and jumped at the opportunity when a lapped car moved up ahead of MacDonald, which allowed Babb to power to the inside and into the lead.

“After that first time I got the lead, when we had that caution, I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to hold him off,” Babb said. “I didn’t, but once I could hang with him, I really thought that I was going to be able to get back around him.

“With the way the traffic worked out, it was just perfect. It worked out for me and too bad for him.”

As the two battled briefly side-by-side in the early stage of the race – including following the lap 20 restart where Babb first secured the lead, they would lean on each other multiple times and trade paint.

“We beat fenders a little bit, but it was really, just, tight racing,” Babb said of his battle with MacDonald. “That’s the way this place races. It was nothing that anyone was trying to do to each other.

“I really need to thank him for racing me clean. I appreciate it.”

The win for Babb was his second straight at Beech Ridge, which allowed him to become the first driver in ACT Late Model Tour competition to score two wins at the track in ten races.

“That’s pretty cool,” Babb said. “That’s definitely really cool. I didn’t even think about that.

It’s always special to win at home. It means a lot to me.”

MacDonald, of Rowley, Mass., settled for second after he led the most laps in the event.

“It was just racing hard,” MacDonald said of his battle for the lead with Babb. “That’s what we do every week. It’s just try to go as hard as you can and make it to the end.”

Scott Payea of Milton, Vt. drove from an 11th place starting spot to finish third while point leader Nick Sweet of Barre, Vt. settled for fourth at the conclusion of the 100-lap event. Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, N.H. returned to his familiar orange No. 27 car and completed the top-five.

Dillon Moltz settled for sixth after he had a lengthy battle with Helliwell near the end of the event while the other number 5 car, Bobby Therrien, moved from a 15th place starting spot to finish seventh. Rich Dubeau raced inside the top-ten for the entire race to finish eighth while Dave Farrington Jr. grabbed the hard charger award after he moved from dead last on the field to finish eighth after the team failed a pre-race weight check. Maine driver Rowland Robinson Jr. completed the top-ten.

Despite finishing one spot behind Payea in the event, Sweet will unofficially extend his point lead by two points after his heat race win. Sweet will sit 16 points ahead of Payea with three races remaining while MacDonald unofficially cut 13 points off his deficit and now sits 20 points back of Sweet. Moltz and Helliwell will now sit tied for the fourth spot, 74 points shy of Sweet.

The ACT Late Model Tour travels to Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, August 27 for a 100-lap event during the H.P. Hood Oxford 250 weekend. The winner of the event will earn a guaranteed starting spot in the next night’s big $25,000-to-win event.

ACT Late Model Tour
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, Maine
Saturday, August 6, 2016

(# — denotes rookie)

1. (2) Brad Babb, Windham, Maine
2. (1) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
3. (11) Scott Payea, Milton, Vt.
4. (3) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
5. (4) Wayne Helliwell Jr., Dover, N.H.
6. (6) Dillon Moltz, Waterford, Conn.
7. (15) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, Vt.
8. (7) Rich Dubeau, Lebanon, N.H.
9. (18) Dave Farrington Jr., Jay, Maine
10. (12) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, Maine
11. (5) Travis Stearns, Auburn, Maine
12. (8) Mike Ziter, Williamstown, Vt.
13. (19) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, N.H.
14. (14) # Devin O’Connell, Madison, Conn.
15. (10) # Ryan Olsen, North Haverhill, N.H.
16. (16) Kyle Welch, Newport, N.H.
17. (17) Brandon Atkins, AuSable Forks, N.Y.
18. (20) Bryan Mason, Stark, N.H.
19. (13) Cody Blake, Barre, Vt.
20. (25) Mark Hudson, Norton, Mass.
21. (26) # Mark Jenison, Warwick, R.I.
22. (22) Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, Mass.
23. (9) Miles Chipman, Nottingham, N.H.
24. (23) Jeremy Welch, Lebanon, Maine
25. (24) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Mass.
26. (21) A.J. Panessiti, Barnstead, N.H.

1 – Brad Babb celebrates his second straight Beech Ridge ACT Late Model Tour win on Saturday night. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – Brad Babb celebrates his ACT Late Model Tour win at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with his girlfriend, Jackie (left), and parents, Bobby and Carla (right). (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)