Monday, 24 August 2020


Winner Seth Carlson (Stafford, Connecticut) Winner Seth Carlson (Stafford, Connecticut) John DaDalt Photo


By: John DaDalt

Bradford, Vermont (August 22, 2020)………It’s a recurring scene. Will Hull wins one race and Seth Carlson the next. The trend continued at Bear Ridge Speedway Saturday night as point leader Carlson drove to his third USAC DMA feature win of the 2020 season.

Scott Holcomb and Floyd Billington brought the field around to the green flag to start the feature with Holcomb quickly getting into the lead. The Skip Matczak owned #2 has had some mechanical issues this season but things were looking much better this evening. Holcomb looked strong in winning his heat race and leading the opening laps of the feature.

Justin Sheridan and Carlson moved up into second and third place by lap two when Jeff Champagne brought out the red flag for a rollover in turn four. When the race went green, Carlson and Manny Dias shuffled Sheridan back to fourth. Carlson closed the gap on Holcomb and the two began a five-lap duel for first.  Meanwhile, there were good battles for position behind the lead duo. Hull and Melvin Pierson were looking fast coming from the fifth row to challenge the top five.

On lap seven, an incident in turn one put Hull out for the night, a tough break for the three-time winner.  Then, as the cars were getting into position to restart the race, leader Holcomb pulled off the track with an overheating engine. This put Carlson on point when the race resumed.

While Carlson pulled away Dias, Sheridan and Pierson settled into position behind him. Pierson dropped out on lap fourteen while in fourth place. Justin Phillips moved up from a sixth row starting spot into fourth and began to challenge Sheridan for third.

The Phillips/Sheridan duel highlighted the final laps of the race with Phillips pressuring his Ray Miller Racing teammate for third getting up alongside him a couple of times but never being able to make the pass. Dias was second and Sheridan held on for third spot with Phillips finishing fourth. Adam Whitney came in fifth for his best finish of 2020 after battling engine woes all year.

The Matczak #4 driven by Carlson was on cruise control for most of the feature and came across the finish line 2.6 seconds ahead of second place finisher Dias. Six races into the season and Carlson has three wins, one second and two third place finishes to lead the point race. “The car has been strong all year and I am really comfortable in our new Spike chassis” Carlson understated after the race.

The second-place finish for Dias was his best of 2020. “After a pretty good run last time at the Ridge we may have something. I made some minor adjustments to the car this week and we had a really good run tonight. I’m hoping to carry that through the next few races. Bear Ridge did an awesome job on track prep tonight.”

It was Sheridan’s second finish in the top three positions this year. “The track was fun tonight; the top groove came in nice and I tried to stay up there most of the feature. I was getting better restarts tonight and was able to put myself in a good spot for a podium. I had a lot of pressure from Phillips the last five laps and he showed me a wheel a few times. He’s had a lot of speed all year, so I was lucky to still be ahead when the checkered flag came out.”

Champagne had a trying night. The Westfield, Mass. charger had engine trouble last week at Albany-Saratoga Speedway and he and his father didn’t finish putting the engine back together until 12:30 Saturday afternoon. They arrived at Bear Ridge in time for hot laps and finished fifth in his heat race. On lap two of the feature, however, Champagne got upside down in turn four. He was able to re-fire the car and tag the tail of the field. The engine developed a misfire, but he still brought the car home in ninth.

Champagne competed with the USAC National Midgets in their recent Eastern swing and performed well. He said of the experience “It was an absolute blast and I learned so much. At Kutztown Wednesday I didn’t have any crew and made the A-main. Then we missed hot laps at Lanco and timed 12th quick. We were looking really good in our heat until I had a flat left rear tire. I raced well in the feature. I plan on doing more national (midget races) in the future; I’m just taking note of how hard those guys drive and race. I bet I learned more in those two nights than I did in 2019 total.”

Brandon Piastka and Scott Holcomb won the Seymour Performance Products heat races. After a week off, the USAC DMA midgets will be back at Bear Ridge Speedway on Saturday September 8.


USAC DIRT MIDGET ASSOCIATION RACE RESULTS:  August 22, 2020 – Bear Ridge Speedway – Bradford, Vermont

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Scott Holcomb (#2 Matczak), 2. Jeff Horn (#A1 Mossmann), 3. Seth Carlson (#4 Matczak), 4. Justin Sheridan (#17 Miller), 5. Will Hull (#3 Matczak), 6. Floyd Billington (#44 Billington), 7. Mike Chaffee (#18c Miller).

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Brandon Piastka (#7 Miller), 2. Manny Dias (#42 Dias), 3. Adam Whitney (#12 Whitney), 4. Tim West (#5 Matczak), 5. Jeff Champagne (#77 Champagne), 6. Justin Phillips (#16 Miller), 7. Melvin Pierson (#33 Foster).

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Seth Carlson, 2. Manny Dias, 3. Justin Sheridan, 4. Justin Phillips, 5. Adam Whitney, 6. Jeff Horn, 7. Brandon Piastka, 8. Floyd Billington, 9. Jeff Champagne, 10. Tim West, 11. Melvin Pierson, 12. Mike Chaffee, 13. Scott Holcomb, 14. Will Hull.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Scott Holcomb, 8-25 Seth Carlson.

USAC DIRT MIDGET ASSOCIATION POINTS: 1-Seth Carlson-445, 2-Justin Phillips-382, 3-Brandon Piastka-378, 4-Manny Dias-374, 5-Will Hull-353, 6-Justin Sheridan-351, 7-Melvin Pierson-299, 8-Jeff Horn-296, 9-Floyd Billington-270, 10-Tim West-268.

NEXT USAC DIRT MIDGET ASSOCIATION MIDGET RACE:  September 8, 2020 – Bear Ridge Speedway – Bradford, Vermont