Matt Dow is working his way up the ladder at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

After winning the Roadrunner championship last summer in his second season in the six-cylinder division, the 23-year-old from Buxton is making the move up in the eight-cylinder Sports Series division.

“It wasn’t too much of a jump from what I was driving as far as speed,” Dow said. “We wanted a good challenge and they say the Sports Series is one of the most competitive classes, especially at Beech Ridge.”

Dow began racing when he was 16 on the Thursday night in truck division at Beech Ridge.

“I work a full-time job,” Dow said. “But (racing) is definitely like a full-time job. It is hours and hours each week.”

In making the move to the Sports Series, the track’s second-tier division behind the Pro Series cars, Dow is skipping a division.

At Beech Ridge, the eight-cylinder Wildcats are the next step up from the Roadrunners.

“We tried that last year,” Dow said. “I bought a car and tried it, and we decided to skip it.” Last September, Dow finished fourth in the Wildcat division in a PASS North event at Beech Ridge.

But he didn’t finish later that month in another Wildcat race that was held at Oxford Plains Speedway.

“We didn’t do that well there,” he said. “We wrecked on the first lap.”

Last December, Dow purchased a Sports Series car from Ben Tinker, a New Gloucester driver who intends to race a small-block Super Modified in New Hampshire this summer.

Last summer, Tinker finished fourth among the 38 cars that raced in the Sports Series division at Beech Ridge.

Dow said the car has run well in two practice sessions at Beech Ridge. But he intends to bring it back to the track Saturday for another practice session.

“We are pretty much dialed in,” Dow said. “But with the new division, I want to get as much seat time as I can.”

MORE THAN 60 cars showed up at Beech Ridge last Saturday for the track’s second practice session.

“I was quite surprised,” said the track owner, Andy Cusack. “The second practice is traditionally quite a drop (in car counts) from the first practice. It seemed to be a good mix of everybody.”

Racing in all divisions at Beech Ridge won’t start until May 28, but fans will be able to go to the track Saturday and see how the cars perform in the final practice session before the start of the season.

Admission to the grandstand is free for the four-hour practice session, which will start at noon. 

OXFORD PLAINS Speedway plans to open for the season Saturday night.

Originally the track was scheduled to open last Sunday, but rain washed out the American Canadian Tour’s Big Jab 150 as well as racing in all seven of the speedway’s divisions.

The ACT race has been incorporated into the track’s divisional races scheduled for June 4.

This Saturday night, the speedway will hold its annual 99.9 The Wolf’s Fan Appreciation Night.

Admission is $5 for adults, and children 12 and under get in for free.

Racing will be held in the Mini-Stocks, Strictly Stocks, Late Models and Outlaw divisions, and the Senior Tour Auto Racers.

After the qualifying races, fans will be able go down onto the front stretch to meet the drivers and check out the cars.

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Racing starts at 6. 

UNITY RACEWAY will try to open for the season Sunday after rain washed out the scheduled opener last weekend.

A full card of racing is scheduled, topped by a 111-lap Late Model feature, with $1,111 going to the winner.

Gates open at 12. Racing starts at 1 p.m.

Ashley Underwood of Benton, the recent “Survivor: Redemption Island” contestant and former Miss Maine USA, will visit the track to sign autographs and meet with fans. 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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Twitter: PaulBetitPPH