WISCASSET — In a sport that’s all about going in circles, Matt Beers has come full circle.

The 37-year-old rookie in Wiscasset Speedway’s Pro Stock division started his career in the sport almost 20 years ago working the pit area for former Pro All Stars Series driver Gary Norris Jr., and now Beers pilots his own ride.

Time has changed things, however. Now, it’s Norris who is turning wrenches on the race car driven by Beers, not the other way around.

“Talk about roles reversed,” Norris said last weekend, prior to a pair of 40-lap feature races for the speedway’s top division. “I’m just trying to help him the way he helped me.”

In the early 2000s, Norris had been racing in weekly competition at Wiscasset and Unity Raceway prior to making a jump to touring with the birth of the now-defunct PASS Outlaw series. From there, Norris graduated to a PASS Modified.

Beers was there almost from the beginning. Related by marriage to Palmyra’s Ajay Picard, a longtime Unity and Wiscasset fixture, Beers started showing up at tracks and offering Norris help wherever he needed it.

He continued to work with Norris, now 47, until Norris gave up driving to help support his son’s own racing career in 2010.

“In 2004, he started helping me full time,” said Norris, who lives in Pittston. “He was always a hard worker, a super-hard worker. He worked harder than any machine. He just never, never stopped working.”

After spending his winters drag racing snowmobiles, Beers discovered a persistent itch to give summer circle tracks a try. In 2020, he started running a Super Street at Wiscasset and posted a pair of top-two points finishes in that division.

By the end of last season, he realized there was still one more thing he wanted to try. He purchased a used Super Late Model and finished putting it together over the winter. In April, he took it out to begin his freshman season in Wiscasset’s Pro Stock division.

“I don’t know what made me decide to do it,” said Beers, who purchased an older Distance Racing chassis from Scott Hall last year. “I was going to build a car, something to putter on. I ended up getting a good deal on this (car), and after our race season last year I started putting this together. Here we are.”

Matty Beers sits in his Pro Stock race car before a 40-lap feature race on July 1 at Wiscasset Speedway. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Not everybody was so sure this was the right move for Beers. Given the time, money and technology that goes into Super Late Model racing across the country, it was a giant leap from a glorified street stock to America’s top full-bodied short track division.

“I was thinking it was a little to soon (to make the jump),” Norris said. “But the more I thought about it and thought about it, I don’t know what I was worried about. He’s going to drive the car.”

Beers, though, knows one thing that people on the outside may not realize. It’s the same thing that kept him from hopping behind the wheel himself for nearly two decades.

If he doesn’t feel prepared to be competitive, Beers wouldn’t be there at all.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, and it worked,” said Beers, of Farmingdale, who turned his attention back to stock cars after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 snowmobile racing season. “But I was never going to do it if I didn’t have the right equipment and feel like I could be competitive. I wanted to do it the right way if I was going to do it.”

Beers is elusive when asked about his goals, opting only to suggest that he won’t set lofty expectations only to be disappointed if they’re not met. On opening weekend at Wiscasset in April, he went into race day just hoping to stay out of the way and maybe finish in the top 10.

He finished sixth that afternoon.

Fans watch as Matty Beers drives his black/orange 11B car during a July 1 Pro Stock feature race at Wiscasset Speedway. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Fast forward two months, and Beers made his first PASS start for a 150-lap race at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, against some of the best Super Late Model teams in the northeast.

Beers finished 13th in a 22-car field. He’s currently seventh in Wiscasset’s Pro Stock standings with only a few races after all of the early summer rain canceled three events.

From a kid prowling pit areas begging to be involved somehow, to now owning his own race car and employing the help of the person who gave him his first real break in the sport, it’s all come full circle for Beers.

“He loves this stuff,” Norris said. “He loves racing. He found the poison, the worst drug you’ll ever do.”

“I don’t want to set a high bar for myself and get discouraged if I don’t finish well. I’m still learning how to drive the car and how it reacts,” Beers added. “Experience is what I’m looking at right now. We’re gaining every week, and we haven’t gone backwards. That’s a good thing.”

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