Captures First Career Beech Ridge, State NASCAR Titles
By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR
Original Article – Lanpher Doubles Up In Maine
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In a sport where it is common for one team to help out another in need, Reid Lanpher went the extra mile in the finale at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
In the closest race for a state championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series during the 2015 season, Lanpher entered the finale at the Scarborough, Maine, oval with a 10-point lead on Garrett Hall. The challenger wrecked his car in practice, but in an act of exceptional sportsmanship, Lanpher offered his backup car to Hall to be able to compete in that night’s feature.
“Garrett is a great competitor. He always runs me clean and he was a very talented driver as a rookie this year,” said Lanpher, a 17-year-old racer from Manchester, Maine.
“As soon as he wrecked we went right down and offered it to him. We were more than happy to do it.”
As it turned out, Lanpher’s generosity nearly cost him the crown.
“We were eight positions apart at the end of the race, so nobody really knew (who won the state title),” Lanpher said. “Come Monday morning we were calling NASCAR to figure out who the champion was. It was pretty cool how close it was.”
In fact, it couldn’t have been any closer. Lanpher and Hall ended up tied in NASCAR state points at 378. NASCAR U.S. state and Canadian province championships are determined by the best 18 finishes at tracks within the respective state or province. Lanpher was awarded the Maine championship on a tiebreaker by virtue of his four wins on the season to zero for Hall.
The good karma didn’t hurt either.
In addition to his first career state championship, Lanpher also outdistanced Hall for Beech Ridge’s Division I title by final score of 763-737. A high school senior, Lanpher posted seven top fives and 12 top 10s in 15 starts in addition to his four checkered flags.
It was a midseason streak of success that positioned Lanpher for the titles. His first win didn’t come until the ninth feature of the season on July 25, but it began a run of victories in four of six races during the second half behind the wheel of his No. 59 Mission Trailers/Team EJP Racing Chevrolet.
Lanpher took some satisfaction in his accomplishments due to the level of competition that is featured weekly at the .333-mile asphalt oval. In 2015 Lanpher was one of eight different winners in the track’s headlining pro series late model division.
“Beech Ridge is probably one of the toughest weekly divisions out there,” Lanpher said. “It’s crazy how competitive it is. There so little separation. The handicap system definitely also makes it a challenge every week.”
Lanpher’s achievements have not been limited to the racetrack either. He was a member of the Maranacook High School boys soccer team that captured two state titles and recorded a 50-game winning streak. He is a member of National Honor Society and is simultaneously working to complete an associate’s degree at Thomas College in addition to his high school diploma. Lanpher intends to continue his higher education upon graduation next spring.
As for racing in 2016, the plan is still coming together. He is leaning towards returning to defend the Beech Ridge championship and hopes to branch out even more than he did this past season for some of the bigger late model and touring series events.
The support for Lanpher’s 2015 titles came from Scott’s Recreation and Docks.com in addition to his primary sponsors Mission Trailers and Team EJP Racing. Jason Ricker was the team’s crew chief while Lanpher’s father, Scott, was his spotter. The rest of the support staff and crew members included Lanpher’s mother Holly, sister Emily, girlfriend Alexa Perkins, Tommy Ricker, Erin Collomy, Jason Collomy, Larry Collomy, Wayne Ladd, Mike DiBaise and John Jacques.
Lanpher will now be honored for his Beech Ridge and Maine crowns along with other track and state/province champions from across North America as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Dec. 11 at the Charlotte Convention Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Beech Ridge held its own 2015 Awards Banquet on Nov. 14 and recognized Lanpher’s accomplishments as well as that of its other four Whelen All-American Series weekly divisions.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participated in 2015.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars are among the many showcases for Whelen products.