Sportsman Coupes set for extra distance; Growler winners events on tap

BRADFORD — Bear Ridge Speedway will close the 2016 with a bang on Saturday night.

The King of Dirt Sportsman Modified Series will close their season with a 100-lap event dubbed the “Green Mountain State Clash”. Drivers from throughout New England and New York are expected to tackle the quarter-mile clay over in the series first visit to the track.

Two Bear Ridge stars sit inside the top-ten in the overall King of Dirt standings.

Kevin Chaffee sits in the eighth spot in the season-long standings entering the King of Dirt season finale, 52 points back off the point leader. The Bradford driver has competed in all six King of Dirt races this season, which include two races each at Utica-Rome Speedway, Albany-Saratoga Speedway, and Lebanon Valley Speedway. He has been a model of consistency against the tough New York competition and has posted four finishes between 14th and 17th.

Right behind Chaffee sits multi-time Bear Ridge champion Adam Pierson, who is 25 markers back from Chaffee. Pierson has posted two-top five finishes during the King of Dirt season, including one during the Northeast Crate Nationals three weeks ago at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Pierson, however, failed to qualify for the open event and posted two ‘DNFs’, along with missing the last Utica-Rome event two weeks ago to seal his Bear Ridge championship.

Former Bear Ridge front runner Jason Gray is expected to compete in the 100-lap season finale for the King of Dirt after running Albany-Saratoga Speedway all season long. The East Thetford driver posted his first win at Albany-Saratoga one week ago and made a thrilling back-to-front run two weeks ago at Bear Ridge.

Former Bear Ridge regulars Adam Gage and Jim Morgan sit inside the top-25 in the series standings and are expected to compete at Bear Ridge.

Albany-Saratoga regular Connor Cleveland will lead the King of Dirt Sportsman Modified series into the final event with a slim 11-point advantage over David Schilling. Cody Bleau sits third, but is expected to sit out the race after a hard crash one week ago at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Rookie Cody Hunt and Connecticut driver Michael Sabia complete the top-five point driver.

Scott Duell, Andrew Buff, Chaffee, Pierson, and Jon Miller sit sixth through tenth.

The Sportsman Modified drivers will also compete in a special $500-to-win “Bear Ridge Growler” event for feature winners in 2016. Those drivers include nine-time feature winner Adam Pierson, two-time winner Ryan Christian, Kevin Chaffee, Josh Currier, Steven Flint, Todd Buckwold, and recent winner Chris Donnelly. Josh Sunn was also a two-time victor during the season, but is out of competition due to neck surgery following a vicious USAC Dirt Midget crash less than a month ago.

Bear Ridge’s Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupes will also take part in the event as they will run extra laps in a non-point counting event for the feature. Officials will award show points as well as points during time trials.

The Coupes will also partake in a “Growler” event for winners in 2016. The Coupes had 12 feature winners during the season, which included Melvin Pierson, Tim Hodge, Jason Colbeth, Josh Harrington, Mitchell Frost, Matt Ellsworth, Bob Shepard, Michael Danforth, Brian Chaffee, Chris LaForest, Stan Otterman, and Thomas Placey.

The USAC Dirt Midget Association will also run a 30-lap feature event for their final point counting race of the season. Adam Pierson has a mammoth 200-point lead and just needs to start to capture his third straight championship in the division.

Bear Ridge will have an earlier start time this week with a 4:30pm post with time trial qualifying. A 4- & 6-cylinder enduro will close competition for the evening.

PHOTO: Both Kevin Chaffee (73) and Adam Pierson (15) sit inside the top-ten in the King of Dirt Sportsman Modified series, which will close their season on Saturday night at Bear Ridge Speedway in the Green Mountain State Clash 100. (Alan Ward photo)