SCARBOROUGH — For those who came to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway for the track’s first race of the season Saturday, the throaty roar of powerful engines and the adrenaline rush of competitive auto racing is a powerful lure.

“It’s just that you love it. It’s a bad addiction,” said 2015 Oxford 250 winner Glen Luce, 49, of Turner. “I just love the competition. I always said that I’d hang it up if we ever won a 250. Two years later, here I am.”

The Pro All-Star Series Beech Ridge 300 drew plenty of older veterans to the one-third mile asphalt oval, but it was 18-year-old Reid Lanpher who had the final say.

Lanpher, of Manchester, won his second straight PASS race, a week after winning his first, to take the $7,500 winner’s share of a $42,000 purse.

“To open up the season with two wins on the PASS series, and one of them being the 300, it feels pretty darn good,” Lanpher said. “It’s not easy winning one of these PASS races. We’ve tried for years. It takes a lot and from a lot of people, too. It’s a team effort.”

Though just a year out of high school (and already with an associate’s degree from Thomas College), Lanpher is a veteran in his own right. He led 65 laps of this race when he was 13.

Beech Ridge’s reigning track champion, Curtis Gerry, 46, of Waterboro, one of the few Ridge regulars in the race, was second, followed by Derek Ramstrom of West Boylston, Massachusetts, and Travis Benjamin of Morrill. Luce was fifth. Eight drivers finished on the lead lap.

The race didn’t have its expected car count. After the 150-lap race that Lanpher won at Oxford Plains Speedway got a 42-car starting field, only 27 cars showed up at Beech Ridge.

The 300-lap race, a September staple at Beech Ridge since 2005, was moved to late April in the hope that more drivers would attend, since their racing budgets would not be depleted. PASS is a regional touring series for Super Late Model cars, the most expensive and powerful cars racing short tracks in Maine.

“We tried to go in the spring to draw more drivers. For some reason, it’s not even close,” said PASS President Tom Mayberry at the prerace drivers’ meeting.

Without a title sponsor, Mayberry expressed doubt there would be another 300-lap PASS race at Beech Ridge.

“Whoever wins today will probably be the last,” he said.

The race did draw some well-known drivers who are returning to the sport after a lengthy hiatus.

Tracy Gordon, 51, was a regular on the old NASCAR Busch North series from 1997-2002, winning 12 times. He stopped racing for nine years until returning last season. Gordon finished sixth.

“It’s a midlife crisis if you want to know the truth,” said Gordon, who is in the lumber business. “The reason I got out was I was spending every dollar I had racing and it hurt my business. Now, my business is a little better and I’m back.”

The 2001 Oxford 250 winner, Gary Drew, formerly of Windham and now living in Casco, made his first competitive appearance in seven years. Like Gordon, he stepped away from racing to focus on his family excavating business.

“It’s just the love of the sport that brought me back,” Drew said. “I’d like to race as much as I can, 10 to 12 times, I’m hoping.”

Drew was on the lead lap for the first 70-plus laps before being done in by mechanical trouble.

Garrett Hall, 22, of Scarborough is in the early stages of his racing life. He led the first 110 laps and finished 10th.

“It’s just a lot of great people that you meet at the track and it’s fun,” Hall said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413

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