LEE, N.H. — Maine driver Brandon Barker held off runner-up Gabe Brown on Sunday to claim top honors during an American-Canadian Tour thriller at Lee USA Seedway.
Barre racer Jason Corliss rounded out the podium during one of the most exciting events so far in the young 2023 season. Twenty-four competitors entered the expansive pit area, with many competing for the third event in 15 days during a busy stretch of May. After a late driver change, Barker took the wheel of the Sullivan Construction 0NH car to the pole position with current top ACT rookie Andrew Molleur to his outside.
From the drop of the green, the track’s rough surface showcased some of the best racing of the year. While Barker took off with the lead, he had top contenders Dillon Moltz, Gabe Brown and Joey Polewarczyk all near his rear bumper. A race-defining caution flag flew on lap 37 as Moltz, attempted to take over the second spot. Moltz spun while coming out of turn two, so his strong run at the front of the pack was spoiled.
Brown took over the lead just after lap 25, but then Barker and a hard-charging Jimmy Renfrew Jr. kept him in their sights. Renfrew had taken an early smack to the front-stretch wall while gathering up a sliding exit from turn four on lap 5, but it didn’t slow him down Just after the 50-lap mark, Renfrew stole the lead from Brown and remained in front until the lap 95 caution for a spinning Tanner Woodard.
Renfrew and Barker proceeded to trade lanes, paint and position at the head of the pack after Barker grabbed the lead once again. Everything shifted on lap 136 as lapped traffic brought Renfrew and Barker back side-by-side. The drivers swapped the lead over and over again until Renfrew got a little too greedy in turn three on lap 145 and went spinning to end a strong and entertaining run. With five laps to go, Barker outlasted Brown to earn his first ACT victory during his first and only start on the Tour.
Barker joins an elite list of ACT winners to prevail during their only start. That list includes Dale Earnhardt, who recorded a one-and-done first-place finish at Cayuga Motor Speedway in Ontario in 1983. Longtime NASCAR Pinty’s Canadian Series standout D.J. Kennington also accomplished the feat at Lee in 2004.
Brown was able to wrap up his second-place finish despite battling complications from some rear-end suspension problems. Corliss played the smooth-and-steady card to lock up another podium finish. Former ACT champions D.J. Shaw and Joey Polewarczyk rounded out the top five. The were followed by former Lee weekly standout Cam Huntress, Dylan Payea, Tom Carey III, Moltz and Erick Sands.
The ACT drivers will get a much-needed weekend off before making the trip to Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts on, June 3. For the first time the Spring Green 123 will be hosted in the Bay State, with the iconic event also set as round two for the Southern New England Triple Crown.
Lee USA Speedway – Lee, NH
New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150
Sunday, May 21, 2023
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