MATT SWANSON ONE OF EARLY FAVORITES FOR RUMBLE AT THE RIDGE 200 TROPHY
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
Photo Tom Morris/Myracenews
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour return to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway is just over one month away, and Maine race fans are getting ready for some of the top open-wheel stars to visit their local track for the first time since 2005.
The third-mile flat oval, located just about 10 miles south of Portland, Maine, produces some of the top racing in the entire northeast region as part of the weekly racing series program. The track’s top division — the Super Late Models — highlights a full night of NASCAR racing each Saturday night throughout the summer. Open modifieds have been sporadically appearing at Beech Ridge over the years, but the track is looking forward to having the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour back in town.
The Rumble at the Ridge 200 is set for Saturday, August 21, and will air to a live, national, audience on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass.
Many of the Whelen Modified Tour stars don’t have many laps around the track, but one of them that does is Acton, Massachusetts, native Matt Swanson. Looking for his first career tour win, driving the famed Boehler Racing No. 3, Swanson will look to carry some early-season momentum into Beech Ridge. Although as of July 7 he has not been to Victory Lane, the team has shown plenty of speed under the hood.
“I’ve been to Beech Ridge a lot to watch races, probably close to 100, but recently was the first time I raced the track,” Swanson said. “I liked the track. It has a surface similar to Myrtle Beach Speedway, another track we have been to before that has an abrasive surface that likes to chew up tires. The track is very wide, and very flat. You’re not going overly fast, and you can maintain some speed all the way around. I found that not going full speed down the straightaway, but having a smooth pace, was important. It takes some rubber and provides some good racing.”
He participated in a Modified Racing Series event at Beech Ridge in June to use as a tune-up for the upcoming Rumble at the Ridge 200, which he is hoping will give him a bit of an advantage. He has been focusing on Tour-Type Open Modified racing this year, not the Whelen Modified Tour. But he feels like the amount he’s already raced will be a bonus, and his return to the tour could end in glory.
“The purpose of us going there in June was to try and improve and get a good baseline with a notebook for when we go back, and I think we did that,” Swanson said. “The way we went to the track that day was actually totally different than when we ended up racing the car. We’re still racing a lot this year. Our Tour program was good in our first race of the year at Stafford Motor Speedway, and we’re hoping it will move to Beech Ridge. I’m just really looking forward to getting the first win out of the way. Everyone keeps telling me once I get one they will come a lot easier. I want to get rid of the massive weight off my shoulders and keep plugging along.”
The championship battle for the Whelen Modified Tour will be heating up by the time they roll into Beech Ridge, as the race is the 10th of 14 on the schedule for the season.
Prior to Beech Ridge, the tour will visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 17, Lancaster Speedway (New York International) on July 31, and Stafford Motor Speedway on August 6. Heading into New Hampshire’s race, Patrick Emerling leads the charge in the standings by a mere three points over two-time champion Justin Bonsignore. Only Doug Coby, a six-time series champion, has been to Victory Lane more than once in the first six races.
General admission tickets for the Rumble at the Ridge 200 are already on sale by visiting JDVProductions.com. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased anytime. Pit passes will only be sold at the track, and will be available to the general public, with no capacity restrictions in place in the grandstands, or the pit area. Additional information about the race, including a full race day schedule, will be available soon.
For more information on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, visit nascar.com. For more information on Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, visit beechridge.com. For more information on JDV Productions, visit JDVProductions.com and follow on Facebook.