RICHMOND, Va. — Despite Austin Beers’ best efforts to sweep Friday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action at Richmond Raceway, rain forced the postponement of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150 to Saturday. This after Beers set the best lap in practice and earned his first Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award.
The only traces of moisture to be found at Richmond on a sunny Saturday evening were the tears flowing in Victory Lane after Beers scored his first Whelen Modified Tour victory.
Beers, a 20-year-old from Northampton, Pennsylvania, joined his father Eric as a Modified Tour winner. And he did so exactly 14 years to the day after the passing of his grandfather Dale.
“My dad just kind of stepped aside from our family car,” Austin Beers said. “That kind of propelled me to get this ride with [car owner] Mike Murphy. Without that — him kind of giving up his career — I would not be here today at all. I would still be racing at my local short track. I can’t thank him enough for that.
“My grandfather; I would not be racing without him. He started this in my family, so to win on this day is pretty special.”
Beers described his Richmond car as “unreal.” That was evident based on the results of the weekend.
On Beers’ 29th lap of Friday’s practice, he set the fastest time of the session. And for the driver who entered the Richmond race with one top-five finish in his Modified Tour career, a third-place run at Langley Speedway last August, this speed wasn’t an anomaly. He proceeded to earn the pole with a 127.137 mph lap.
As for Saturday’s race, Beers found himself leading six-time Modified Tour champion Doug Coby in the waning moments. A late caution could have spelled doom for Beers, but instead, a keen adjustment to tighten up his Modified allowed him to drive away from Coby and the rest of the field over the final stretch of laps.
“I got a little nervous there in the middle of the run; Doug was really good,” Beers said. “But we made that last adjustment, and it was perfect.”
After some shuffling behind Beers in the last few laps Saturday, J.B. Fortin finished second, and new career-best and his second top-five finish in Modified Tour competition.
Max McLaughlin, who entered the Modified Tour race at Richmond driving for Mike Curb, finished third. He and fourth-place finisher Justin Bonsignore, the defending Richmond Modified race winner, exchanged some heated words on pit road after the event over how the finish played out.
Patrick Emerling, who finished 29th in the Xfinity Series race that took place prior to Saturday’s Modified Tour event, rounded out the top five.
NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte finished sixth in his first Modified Tour start at the 0.75-mile oval. Ron Silk, Bryan Narducci, Jon McKennedy and Eric Goodale completed the top 10.
A replay of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150 at Richmond will air on CNBC on Saturday, April 8 starting at 3 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action Saturday, May 6 with the Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire.
That race will be shown live on FloRacing starting at 5 p.m. ET.
Categories: NASCAR Roots, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Race Recap
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