This weekend, a pair of Mulkern Racing entries will try and win the most prestigious regular-season PASS North Series race on the schedule, when Lonnie Sommerville of Saint John, New Brunswick, and Scott Mulkern of Falmouth, Maine, head to the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine. Sommerville won the last time the series visited Beech Ridge, back in July, taking the No. 48 A.E. McKay Builders/Community Pharmacies Chevrolet to Victory Lane for the first time this season. Mulkern, who has a both a track champion and a PASS Outlaw Late Model win at the track on his resume, competes in a PASS event for the fourth time this season.
WHO: Lonnie Sommerville, Saint John, New Brunswick
TEAM: Mulkern Racing No. 48 A.E. McKay Builders/Community Pharmacies Chevrolet
CREW CHIEF: Seth Holbrook, Turner, Maine
TEAM MANAGER: Gary Crooks, Mooresville, N.C.
WHO: Scott Mulkern, Falmouth, Maine
TEAM: Mulkern Racing No. 84 Southern Maine Motors.com Chevrolet
CREW CHIEF: Tony Ricci, Westbrook, Maine
TEAM MANAGER: Gary Crooks, Mooresville, N.C.
LONNIE SOMMERVILLE'S BEST CAREER BEECH RIDGE MOTOR SPEEDWAY FINISH: 1st (July 2011)
LONNIE SOMMERVILLE'S LAST RACE AT BEECH RIDGE MOTOR SPEEDWAY: 1st (July 2011)
SCOTT MULKERN'S BEST CAREER BEECH RIDGE MOTOR SPEEDWAY FINISH: 3rd (multiple times)
SCOTT MULKERN'S LAST RACE AT BEECH RIDGE MOTOR SPEEDWAY: 27th (July 2011)
WHAT: PASS North Series PASS 300
WHERE: Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, Maine (.333-mile oval)
WHEN: Qualifying – 12:10 p.m., Saturday, September 17; Race – Approx. 3 p.m., Sunday, September 18
PASS North Series
LAST RACE: September 11, PASS 150, White Mountain Motorsports Park, N. Woodstock, N.H. (5th)
NEXT RACE: September 24, PASS 150, White Mountain Motorsports Park, N. Woodstock, N.H. (.25-mile oval)
CURRENT POINTS POSITION: 3rd (Sommerville)
DID YOU KNOW?
- Lonnie Sommerville has eight Top-5 finishes in 11 starts this season, including three straight Top-5 runs entering the weekend, in his first full season in the PASS North Series.
- Lonnie Sommerville led 49 laps in the PASS 300 in 2010 while racing for his own team before finishing 17th.
- Scott Mulkern won a track championship at Beech Ridge in 1985 – the last year the track operated as a dirt track.
- Mulkern Racing crew chief Seth Holbrook has won the PASS 300 with driver Mike Rowe.
- Scott Mulkern won a PASS Outlaw Late Model event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2007.
- Lonnie Sommerville is in a logjam near the top of the PASS North standings, just 11 points out of third place.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
LONNIE SOMMERVILLE, Driver of the No. 48 A.E. McKay Builders/Community Pharmacies Chevrolet, On how the PASS 300 differs from other races at Beech Ridge: “It's different mentally, and that's the biggest thing. Beech Ridge is hard on your body. It's demanding physically and mentally.
“I love the longer races. It gives you more time to strategize, more time to plan things out. I guess the best way to say it is, I'm not a heat race kind of guy. I used to be a Saturday night racer – 25-lap, 40-lap races -- but I haven't been like that in four or five years. I'm just not that driver anymore.”
On what teams have to worry about over the course of 300 laps: “This year, the big thing for us is keep up with the leaders. We know we have a good enough car that we can beat them without (weird) strategy, beat them tire for tire. We don't have to try and pit early for track position or try to stay out or anything like that. When they come in, we can come in and know that we'll be right there with them.”
SCOTT MULKERN, Owner of Mulkern Racing and Driver of the No. 84 Southern Maine Motors/Community Pharmacies Chevrolet, On racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway: “You need to be smooth and keep the tires under you there. It's kind of my style. I kind of like that. I don't seem to be right there at the end like I want to be, but it's all about saving everything that you can for the end.
“The thing about the place is that whenever you go there, the minute you drop the green for the feature, you've got something different than you had in practice. You could be fighting a loose problem all day in practice, and then they start the feature and all of a sudden you're pushing. After five times of that, you realize that's kind of the way the place is. You just really have to work to have a neutral (handling) car. If you get tight, chances are it's the same for a lot of guys.”
GARY CROOKS, Team Manager For Mulkern Racing, On the changes Beech Ridge seems to undergo over the course of a race weekend: ““What's bitten us at Beech Ridge in the past is when we just don't trust what we had for the heat race. We were really good in practice for a couple of races there, but we over-adjusted for the heat race and we just didn't go forward.
“The biggest thing I've learned there is when you have a good car during the day, just to leave it alone.”
The PASS North Series heads back to White Mountain Motorsports for the second time in two weeks for the PASS 150 on Saturday, September 24... Lonnie Sommerville finished fifth at White Mountain last weekend in his debut at the track.
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