SCARBOROUGH, Maine – Dan McKeage of Gorham, Maine, rallied from an early spin to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Pro Series 50 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine, on Saturday, June 8.
McKeage, the 2010, track champion, snapped a five-year winless drought in the track’s top division by reeling in the leaders and making the final pass for the lead at the start-finish line with two laps to go.
“When I rode into third, I was stoked that I was going to get two Top-3s (to start the season) if everything held together. Then they started getting bigger and bigger, and I was able to track them down,” McKeage said. “It was awesome.”
On a Lap 2 restart, a spinning car in the middle of the pack sent a half-dozen cars scurrying in every direction. McKeage was collected in the mishap, but his Naughty Racing No. 40 Top Gun Construction Chevrolet crew was able to make quick repairs and get him back out on the track.
He restarted at the back of the pack, but had sailed into the Top-5 by the midway point of the event. From there, McKeage continued picking off cars as the field stretched out single-file over a long green-flag run to the checkered flag.
With the leaders racing side-by-side in front of him, McKeage was able to work the low groove on the .333-mile oval to get underneath both cars. He had just a bumper-length lead at the start-finish line with two laps to go, and he ended up clearing the competition by a car length for the victory.
“Once Billy (Rodgers) and I both got by, I could picture myself losing by half a nose,” McKeage said. “We raced really hard and really clean. Honestly, I probably didn’t think we had a car to win until there were about 10 or 15 laps to go. I knew a lot of guys were having tire issues, and we haven’t had any the first couple of weeks. I just tried to stay smooth and save my stuff.”
Even after the early-race incident, McKeage never thought his night was ruined.
“Definitely not,” McKeage said. “We came in (for repairs) and after we got back out there, we went four or five laps and the (engine’s water temperatures) never went up. I knew then we’d have a shot at getting back to the front. Having 50 laps really helps, because sometimes even with only 40 laps you can run out of time. I had a bunch of guys in here thrashing to get back out there.
“I was yelling and screaming all the way around the track (on the Victory Lap). I was just as happy as when I won my first 100-lapper in 2002. I had Danny and Corey Bubar here to help out, and a whole bunch of the old crew is back together. We’ve just been having a ton of fun this year.”