Becky Elston won the points standings in the Ladies Division during Wacky Wednesday at Hermon’s Speedway 95 last season.
But when she heard that there might not be a Ladies Division this season, she decided to try the well-populated Sport Four Class on Saturday night at Speedway 95.
So far, so good.
Carmel’s Elston entered Thursday night’s race card in second place in the points behind Ellsworth’s Bradley Norris.
Elston has accrued 805 points thanks to consistent top three finishes including a win on July 9.
“It has been an awesome experience,” said the 22-year-old Elston. “I love it.
“I like running with the guys. They’re aggressive but they know how to hold their line and stuff like that,” said Elston. “They’re respectful. They seem to enjoy having me race.”
Milo’s Steve Heath, who is in his seventh year in the division, said Elston has been a welcome addition.
“She has fit right in,” said Heath. “She has run very well. Her car has been very fast.”
He also added that, for the most part, she hasn’t involved in many wrecks.
He noted that the Sport Four class is one that is based on clean racing and mutual respect and she has fit into that mold.
“Everyone helps each other out,” he explained.
She admitted that her success has come as a surprise.
“I didn’t expect to do well. I had no intention of running for points. But now that I’m up in the points, I might as well run for them,” said Elston.
She said she is “very happy” with her season to date.
There are a lot more cars in the Sport Fours than in the Ladies Division and that has made her success that much more rewarding.
“With more cars, whatever you’ve accomplished you know you earned it,” said Elston.
If the name Elston sounds familiar, it should.
Her father, Barry, spent 13 years racing in the Sport Four division at Speedway 95 according to Becky.
He ended up selling his Sport Four car to by a go-kart so his daughter could launch her career when she was 14.
Her father filled in for her on Thursday night after she became dehydrated and had to be taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center. Her father finished third in her car.
One of her uncles, Wayne, owns Wayne Elston Speed Shop in Carmel.
Another uncle, Scott Bonney, also races at Speedway 95.
In fact, Bonney is driving her old Honda Prelude.
She swapped her Prelude for a Honda Acura Integra this season.
“We just lowered it, put headers on the motor, a cold air intake and offset wheels,” explained Elston.
She also races in the Ladies Division for fun “and to get more seat time.”
When she’s not racing, Elston is busy working or going to school.
She works full time at an assisted living facility in Brewer and she attends Beal College with the hopes of becoming a medical assistant.
Will she eventually move up the ladder in racing?
“Right now, I’m happy where I am. I like the four-cylinder cars. But, sometime, I may try the Late Models or something,” she said.
Phippens appreciative of race
The Phippen family was touched by the crowd that turned out for the first John Phippen Memorial Late Model 100 on Thursday night.
The race honored the popular and highly-successful Phippen, who died of a massive heart attack following a 100-lap race at Speedway 95 last September 11.
Phippen won seven points championships at three tracks during his impressive 31-year career. He won the Late Model division at Speedway 95 in 2009.
Ruth Tracey, John’s sister, sang the national anthem; his daughter, Monica, gave the command to the drivers to start their engines and his widow, Debbie, wished each of the 13 drivers well before the race and addressed the large crowd.
“It was a great turnout. John would have been extremely proud but totally embarrassed over this,” said Debbie Phippen. “John didn’t think of himself as anything special. He was just one of the guys as far as he was concerned. He was a gentleman. He didn’t come to fight. He liked to have a good time. If he could help someone, he would.”
One of the primary sponsors was John Linnehan from the Good News Center. He sang and gave a pre-race sermon.
Nobody injured by runaway tire
Noody was hurt by a loose tire that came off the car of Emma Libby during the Bomber Class race.
Libby’s car locked up as her right front tire came off on lap six.
She was towed to the pits and re-entered the race with another tire.
But, on lap 18, the new right front tire came off on turn four and glanced off the tire wall before careening over the 20-foot safety fence in front of the grandstands.
It landed in the grandstands but didn’t hit anybody and bounced off and over it before hitting the fence surrounding the track and settling.
A fan picked up the tire and returned it to her.