The Hardwick Gazette

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Pelkey Takes Second Midseason Championship

photo by Alan Ward
Street Stock Victory Lane (included (left to right) Taylor Hoar (third), winner Josh Lovely, Dean Switser Jr. (second).

BARRE – Graniteville’s Christopher Pelkey used the outside groove at Thunder Road on Thursday to take down his second consecutive Midseason Championship. In all, Pelkey doubled down on the iconic race win along with double the points and double the cash. Rookie Kaiden Fisher and veteran four-cylinder aces Josh Lovely and Frank Putney also doubled down on Midseason Championships night.

The Street Stocks led the way in feature action as Todd Raymo and Haidyn Pearce took the green, Pearce immediately took the top spot and was off like a rocket in his purple Cavalier. With Taylor Hoar and Thomas Peck on his tail, Pearce was in the hot seat, especially with the first caution on lap 15 for the spinning Peck on the backstretch. On the restart a pileup catastrophe occurred on the front stretch, ending the day of Kyle MacAskill and Justin “El Chopo” Blakely. The big story of the night, after injury sat Jeffrey Martin out for the night, former track champion Nick Pilotte sat in the driver seat. After coming from 20th to 6th, the Martin car powered down and didn’t come back to life.

photo by Alan Ward
Late Model Victory Lane included (left to right) Stephen Donahue (third), winner Christopher Pelkey, Chip Grenier (second).

Following the restart, Dean Switser Jr. got around Taylor Hoar to take the lead while both would soon succumb to Josh Lovely’s No. 54 machine as he rim-rode the outside line to take the lead. Lovely would win his third race of the season followed by a solid point night for the leader Dean Switser Jr. and Taylor Hoar earned another podium finish in her solid sophomore season.

The Flying Tigers took off for their 50-Lap main event next. Led to point by Chris Laforest and Logan Powers, a tropical storm moved in and quickly overtook them. Rookie leader Kaiden Fisher took the lead and never looked back. Following the lap 23 caution for the spinning Tyler Austin, Fisher’s outside had a whole lot of Cameron Ouellette. While Fisher powered away, Ouellette didn’t give in, staying within a car length from the S.D. Ireland machine of Fisher.

photo by Alan Ward
Flying Tiger Victory Lane included (left to right) Cameron Ouellette (third), winner Kaiden Fisher, Sam Caron (second).

By lap 40, a new character arrived on the scene as Sam Caron charged hard on the outside to overtake Ouellette for second. As the final laps clicked away, Caron gained inches in each corner, but Fisher held his own. Getting to within one foot of Fisher’s rear bumper in the trip around the high banks, it still wasn’t enough for Caron. Shelburne’s Kaiden Fisher took down his second win of his rookie season in the Flying Tigers followed by Milton’s Sam Caron and Barre’s Cameron Ouellette.

It was rookie versus the all time winner starting the front row of the Midseason Championship event for the Late Models. While multi-time track champion Phil Scott held his own against rookie Keegan Lamson at the beginning, he would eventually fade to the youth movement. Lamson would lead the early portions of the 75-lap main event followed by Chris Roberts and fellow rookie Stephen Martin. As this three-way battle for the podium commenced, Chip Grenier, Christopher Pelkey and Brandon Lanphear all gained real estate behind them, inching ever closer.

Following a lap 40 caution for the spinning Eric Chase, the two rookies were side by side, each splitting the lead on the next five laps until Lamson was back leading the race. Taking advantage of the slowing Martin, Pelkey made a daring move to the outside lane. As the field slowed for Lanphear’s spin in turn three, the restart allowed Pelkey to take advantage of the outside and power by the rookie with Grenier and Stephen Donahue in tow. With 15-to-go it was Pelkey leading Grenier, Donahue, Cooper Bouchard, Lamson and Scott Dragon moving into position.

photo by Alan Ward
Christopher Pelkey (64VT) charges on the outside of first-half of the race leader Keegan Lamson (55VT) and continued to use Thunder Road’s outside groove to take his second consecutive Midseason Championship.

Up front, Donahue began edging Grenier for second on the outside but the veteran didn’t give in, the constant two wide battle for second only allowing Pelkey to run farther away. Under the checkered flags Christopher Pelkey became the Midseason Champion for the second consecutive season followed by Chip Grenier and Stephen Donahue. Dragon and Bouchard would round out the top five.

Rounding out the Midseason Championships came the always entertaining Road Warriors. From the get-go it was a hard nosed battle between veterans Frank Putney and Josh Vilbrin. The side-by-side battle allowed Ryan Foster to swoop in for third before taking second away from Vilbrin while half a track away Taylor Sayers nearly went for the spin cycle with an ill-handling car. With Putney having a straightaway lead, the first caution came out on Lap 15 with the Race-2-Read car getting mixed up with Rodney Campbell and Jason Kirby coming out of turn four. On the restart it was nothing but pink. Frank Putney took down the double purse win followed by Ryan Foster and the returning Jamie York.

On Thursday, July 28, Toilets Night returns to Thunder Road. The Late Models, Flying Tigers and Street Stocks and Road Warriors will all be in attendance along with the annual Port-a-Potty Grand Prix. Post Time is set for 7 p.m.

Midseason Championships

Local Competitors


Late Models – 75 Laps

10. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott

11. 01VT, #Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common

Flying Tigers – 50 Laps

9. 01VT, Michael Martin, Craftsbury Common

20. 22VT, Travis Patnoe, Wolcott

21. 5VT, Tyler Austin, East Calais

Street Stocks – 35 Laps

24. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield

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