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NELCAR 2014 Season in Review
NELCAR 2014 Season in Review
Story by Matt Grant
After a thoroughly dominating season, Mathew Bourgoine etched his name in the books as the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour Champion once again! After his championships the previous two years came down to the wire in the final race of the season, with the Newport native getting the better of Evan Beaulieu in 2012, and Ryan Hammar in 2013, it was more of a relaxed finish to 2014, as he clinched the title with one race to go, despite having weekly challenges from Wyatt Alexander and several others. Bourgoine racked up an astounding 19 wins on the year, and was the only driver to complete every feature event. Mathew announced on Facebook that he will not return to defend his crown in 2015, but may very well be back again in the near future. We wish Mathew and the Bourgoine Family best wishes.
Alan Smith had by far his most successful season with the Tour since joining in 2008. Not only did the Lincoln driver land his #33 Fastco car on the podium a career high three times, he led many laps and competed inside the top 5 most of the time, earning himself the runner up position on points. A checkered flag could very well be in the near future for the 2013 Golden Masters National Champion. After being elected as a new member on the Board of Directors, we will see Alan back behind the wheel in 2015 for his eighth season with the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour.
After proving to be a threat for top 3's late in the 2013 season, Wyatt Alexander entered 2014 hoping to contend for a championship. The 14 year old Ellsworth driver did just that, securing third place honors in the standings, but also gave Mathew Bourgoine a run for his money at nearly every event on the Tour. Alexander won many of the heat races, and broke through for his first Feature win at Star Speedway in August, after a dominating run. Wyatt will be moving on from legends cars in 2015, and will compete full time in his family owned Super Late Model. We'd like to wish the K&B Auto 96 Team the best of luck in their next racing endeavor!
Although 4-time tour champ Bob Weymouth is used to a top-3 result in the standings, he had a great finish to the season, and should certainly be one of the title favorites again in 2015. Weymouth snapped a winless streak at the season finale at Oxford, a drought that dated back to May of 2013, with a good old-fashioned waxing of the field. The Topsham driver added a handful of trophies to his large collection, and reminded people again why he's one of the best in New England, year after year. A very impressive National Points run brought Bob out to Las Vegas to break a tie between himself and Texas driver Sean Glennon. When the dust settled, he came a just half a car length short of winning the Masters Championship, but was still able to earn the Golden Masters Championship. We will likely see Bob wheel his #399 sedan with NELCAR for another season in 2015.
For the first time in his four year legends career, Matt Chagnot cracked the top 5 in final points. The Derry, NH driver had his best season yet, recording a pair of heat wins, coming at Speedway 95 and Oxford, posting several top-5's, leading laps, and contending for the ever-elusive podium spots. The man we call "Shaggy", had his fair share of bad luck along the way, but rebounded every time, coming back stronger than before, as he only missed one event, forgoing the 8 hour trek to Spud Speedway. We plan on seeing the familiar black and gold #8 Hooligan Motorsports sedan in the pits for another year with NELCAR.
Tylar Braunschweig competed full time with the Tour for the first time in his career, after several seasons of focusing mainly on Thursday Thunder at Beech Ridge. Towards the end of 2013, Braunschweig earned himself a couple podium finishes, and proved to be a threat for more in 2014. He maintained a spot in the top 5 for much of the season, despite missing a few races, and a poor finish after a scary wreck at Beech Ridge in May. Tylar also maintained a spot in the top 10 in National points nearly all season, and officially ended up 12th in the Pro Asphalt division. We will see Tylar, who is another newly elected Director, and the Wedgewood Motorsports 70 team around again in 2015, contending for top 5's and wins.
Darren Johnson stepped behind the wheel of the #2 car in 2014, after finding ample success as crew chief for stepson Ryan Hammar the past three years, in which many wins and nearly the 2013 championship, were brought home to Pembroke, NH. Johnson had quite a learning curve in the first half of the season, but figured things out later in the second half, after making the switch from a sedan to a coupe. He led laps in several feature races, before breaking through for a heat race win at Wiscasset Speedway in early September. Johnson took home Rookie of the Year honors, an award he won in 2011 as crew chief. We expect to see Darren back again for the 2015 season.
The past two seasons, Ed Getty has run on his self proclaimed "Mark Martin Tour", by picking and choosing his race schedule. Last season, he was outside the top 10 for the first time in quite a number of years, but in 2014, he found himself bringing home an 8th place result with his yellow and white 10 machine. The highlight of Ed's season was a strong 2nd place finish at the PASS Tour event at Beech Ridge in May. After that, he steadily racked up the top 10's, and kept himself out of trouble all year. We can count on the Racin' Realtor to be back for another season in 2015.
Matt Grant had a very solid run in the Amsoil NELCAR Tour, although it was somewhat snake bitten early in 2014, as late cautions led to misfortune on numerous occasions, resulting in less than desireable finishes. Despite the negatives, the Windham driver was able to finally have the chips fall his way towards the latter half of the season, as he posted three podium finishes and several more top-5's while only racing in 11 Tour events. Matt and team will have a much different paint scheme on the #84 for 2015, and hope to compete for the championship.
Last but certainly not least, your 10th place points finisher was Terry Kirk. After starting the year strong, posting numerous top-10's and contending for top-5's, Terry took some time off from racing in the early summer months. When the Durham native returned, he elected to start in the rear for nearly all of the remaining races, but was still able to muster some solid top-10 runs. If not for an engine issue at the penultimate event at Wiscasset, Kirk would have easily nailed down the 9th spot in points, as Matt Grant decided to forgoe the race. We hope to see Terry back for another season in his familiar white and blue 17!
The 21st season of the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour is in the books, and we can't wait for the next one! We'll see you again at the 27th annual Northeast Motorsports Expo at the Augusta Civic Center, January 9th, 10th and 11th, to unveil some new paint schemes, release the 2015 schedule, and get YOU involved with NELCAR. For all your updates throughout the offseason, check out www.NELCAR.net, Like NELCAR on Facebook and Follow @NelcarLegends on Twitter.