Story by Evan Beaulieu

The 2011 Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour season got an exciting start to the season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Half the field had already ran at the tight quarter mile when the series opened for the Nascar Sprint Cup Series last September, but the other half were a mix of veteran drivers and rookies who had never driven on this type of track. Many drivers describe this as the “most intense” Legends racing they had ever done and rightfully so, the race saw plenty of action and had a great finish. First up though was practice. Each team had a transponder hooked up to electronically get the lap times from the practice session, these times set the heat race field which would determine the feature race.

For the first heat race, it was the 23 of Shawn Buffington and the 61 of Chad Windsor on the front row. At the start, Buffington was able to get away leaving Windsor to battle with the 18 of Tom Gray and the 56 of Evan Beaulieu for second spot. Beaulieu eventually would be able to get around Gray and as Gray tried to hold off the 17 of Terry Kirk for fourth, the two made contact, resulting in Gray spinning out. On the final restart, Buffington was able to pull away once again, leaving Windsor and Beaulieu in a race for second. At the finish to the first heat, Buffington was able to take the win while after switching the second spot a few times, Windsor barely beat Beaulieu to the line for second.

The remaining 12 cars were set to race in their heat race next. The 3 car of Nick Ladyga started from the pole with defending Nelcar champion Bob Weymouth to his outside in the 399. The heat ran pretty clean for the most part as Ladyga was able to show that he was going to be tough to beat in the feature by taking the win. Weymouth held on for second while the 13 of Carl Blandina rounded out the top three.

The field was set for the first race of the 2011 Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour season. Buffington lead the field down to the green flag and took off right where he left off in the heat. He was able to get an advantage on Ladyga and Windsor while Weymouth and Beaulieu battled behind. The first yellow flew on lap five as the 49 of Pete Cannell went for a spin in turn one, ultimately ending his day. Buffington was able to get away on the next restart and hold off new second place driver, Windsor. On lap 15, Ladyga lost control of his car running in third going into turn one and spun. This would begin a long period of restarts, with the field only getting one or two laps in at a time, and collecting contenders Beaulieu and the 27 of Kevin Hutchens in the process. The field calmed down for a run to the finish until Hutchens and the 33 of Alan Smith got together going in turn one and brought the yellow flag out, setting up a green white checkered finish. On the final restart it was the two veteran legends drivers Buffington and Weymouth on the front row. The two battled hard through the final two laps, but at the finish, it was Buffington holding on to take the win in the first race of 2011. Weymouth was second while Windsor made a three wide pass to take third. Beaulieu and the 31 of Bobby Timmons rounded out the top five.

With the win, Buffington writes his name in the Nelcar and NHMS record books as the only driver to win a Legends race on both the oval and road course at the famous New England Speedway. After the first of 26 scheduled points races, Buffington leads by just five points over Weymouth in both the Nelcar and NHMS point standings. The next race for the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour will be April 30th at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, in conjunction with the popular Pro All Stars Series. For more information, news and how you can get into one of the most fun and affordable divisions of racing, visit Nelcar.net.

1 23 SHAWN BUFFINGTON
2 399 BOB WEYMOUTH
3 61 CHAD WINDSOR
4 56 EVAN BEAULIEU
5 31 BOBBY TIMMONS
6 1 AARON LEWIS
7 10 ED GETTY
8 3 NICK LADYGA
9 88 STEVE FOX
10 2 RYAN HAMMAR®
11 27 KEVIN “Kman” HUTCHENS
12 38 MATHEW BOURGOINE
13 17 TERRY KIRK
14 81 DAN WINTER®
15 20 TAYLOR MARTIN
16 33 ALAN SMITH
17 6 JOEY PARKER
18 18 THOMAS A GRAY
19 13 CARL BLANDINA
20 59 REID LANPHER®
21 8 MATT CHAGNOT®
22 49 PETE CANNELL

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