JR Motorsports Driver Topples NELCAR Field, Keeps Momentum.
WISCASSET, Maine – Reid Lanpher of Manchester, Maine, capitalized on a late-race restart to take the lead with three laps remaining and win the 25-lap Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour feature at Wiscasset Speedway in Wiscasset, Maine, on Saturday, July 6. The victory was the first Legends win in a part-time schedule this season for the JR Motorsports development driver.
“I can’t remember a race I’ve had to work that hard for,” said the 15-year-old Lanpher. “I was not even close to being the fastest car there. We’d been third for a while there, and then we got shuffled back. I knew I wasn’t fast enough, but I let my tires cool down some and gave it all I had on the last restart. “I got out front, protected the bottom and that was that.”
Lanpher started 10th in his 10-lap qualifying race on the .375-mile oval and raced all the way to fourth to earn the fifth-place spot on the starting grid. He quickly overtook the third spot and rode comfortably there until turning up the pressure on the leaders in the second half of the event. The finish came just two days after he started dead last in a 25-lap NELCAR Legends race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and stormed up through a 21-car field to finish seventh. “The car isn’t really even close to where I want it to be, to be honest,” Lanpher said. “But in a way, I’m happy with that because I know we can be even better. I’ve been working on it more and more myself this year, and everything’s all new to me. People look at me and say, ‘Oh, he’s bringing all that stuff from down South,’ but I wish that was true. We still don’t really know a whole lot with it yet, but we’re working on it.”
Lanpher finished ninth in his most recent run in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, in what turned out to be one of his most impressive performances of the season.
Lanpher was in the Late Model to make his Hickory Motor Speedway debut in the Hendrick Honda Of Hickory 100, and after qualifying 12th, he lost radio communication just 10 laps into the race. He still managed to drive forward on the historic flat track notorious for its passing difficulty, but intermittent drizzle and rain showers made track conditions iffy.
Still, considering the circumstances, it was a solid night for the first-year Late Model driver. “I think the guys were still pleased,”Lanpher said. “That whole radio thing – they didn’t know about it until I came in for the rain delay, and we were talking about it. They couldn’t believe I’d passed the cars I did considering I couldn’t hear anybody. “Overall, it wasn’t too bad, and we came home with a car in one piece.”
Now Lanpher will focus on the next couple of weeks, with another NELCAR Legends Tour race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 11, and preparation for the TD Bank Oxford 250 in his family-owned Team EJP No. 59 Eastern Township Docks/Mission Trailers Chevrolet on July 21. He’s hoping that Saturday’s win Wiscasset will spark the remainder of his summer. “I just thought it was cool to be in the lead and take the race over with three laps to go,” Lanpher said. “The confidence is the biggest thing. It definitely helps with that.”
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