BARRE — It felt like Milk Bowl weather on Quarry Hill Thursday night as four divisions of racing took off on Vermont Tire & Service Night at Barre’s Thunder Road. One hundred cars took battle on a rare cool August evening as the 2022 season begins its dreaded downhill slope. In the end, four first-time winners on the season took home the final Double Purse winner’s checks and stood tall among their fellow competitors.
Following last week’s Road Warrior Challenge, 18 drivers and teams burned the midnight oil all week long to return for the Double Purse. After taking their respective qualifying heat race wins, Neal Foster and Jason Kirby led the field to green, but not for long. On the first lap, Foster got bunched up with Tyler Wheatley on turn one to end his hopeful run. Just four laps later, Kirby had one of the most graceful rollovers in Thunder Road history as his Bobby Dragon-themed machine ended up on its roof in the turn-one grass.
On the restart Neal’s brother Ryan Foster took charge at the front of the pack as Josh “The Mayor” Vilbrin followed closely behind. As Ryan extended his lead, a gaggle of the who’s-who in the Warrior ranks grew into a cluster around the Barre high banks. Vilbrin and “Barbie Boy” Frank Putney were attempting to fend off “Flyin’” Fred Fleury, Taylor Sayers and Nate “Tater” Brien, allowing Foster to grow his lead with every lap. Under the twin checkers Neal Foster claimed his first win of the season followed by Josh Vilbrin and Fred Fleury.
Following the Warriors came 29 Flying Tigers, all in search of the $600 top prize. The first 25 laps went caution free as the field slipped and slid in true Tiger fashion all across the Speedbowl until Tanner Woodard went a little too hard into turn three and spun his 68NH around. After late contact with Travis Patnoe, Woodard ended his night early. On the restart it was all about Tyler Austin and Mike Billado up front while Colin Cornell and pole-sitter Adam Maynard waited in the wings. Maynard had trouble early following the restart leaving Cornell to stalk the leaders.
Lap 32 brought big trouble for the 8NH of Rich Lowrey as a mix-up at the start-finish line sent Lowrey hard into the Widowmaker front-stretch wall, nearly overturning his Chevy Malibu. Following the clean-up, a restart scuffle between Mike MacAskill and “The Hammer” Mark Barnier sent Barnier around in turn one, bringing out the third and final caution.
On the final restart, the battle began between Billado and Cornell as Cameron Ouellette and defending champion Mike Martin were glued to their back bumpers. Four cars battled side-by-side for the final laps until Billado finally got a full car length lead with Ouellette closing as the checkered flag flew. Mike Billado took down his first win of the season followed by Cameron Ouellette and Colin Cornell.
Twenty-two Oil Late Models jumped onto the track for their 50-lap trophy dash, worth $1,400-to-win. Tyler Cahoon grabbed the lead early and never looked back as Brandon Lanphear followed the outside groove around Andy Hill. As Lanphear and Hill battled side-by-side, rookie Stephen Martin and veteran Eric Chase followed close behind, looking for any bobble to pounce on. As the majority of the field stuck close to the white line on the inside of the track, Lanphear, Marcel Gravel and Derrick O’Donnell used the high side to their advantage.
By lap 13, Lanphear had taken second with Gravel and O’Donnell coming from the back. Cahoon led a half-track lead as the rest of the field continued to sort themselves out. As the laps began to wind down, Gravel used the outside lane around Lanphear for second at lap 36. Less than four minutes later, Tyler Cahoon took down his first win in a long, difficult year for the Danville driver followed by Marcel Gravel and Brandon Lanphear in the green-to-checkered feature.
Rounding out the program was the Street Stocks as the field received introductions for the crowd on hand. Under the green, heat race winner Scott Weston took off from the pack followed closely by rookie Cameron Powers. Fellow rookie Zach Audet used the bumper of his Mustang to take over third place from Patrick Tibbetts by lap-five as Powers continued to gain on Weston. At the halfway point in their 25-lap feature, Audet took the high line around Weston to take the lead.
Luke Peters would bring out the first caution on lap 18 as his Cavalier spun in turn one and landed on the apron. It was a rookie restart between Audet and Powers at the front while Kyler Davis sat in the catbird seat in third. The second caution flag would wave as the field came around for early leader Scott Weston slamming into the Widowmaker and ending his day. On the short restart, Davis found his way around the two leaders until Bert Duffy spun in turn two for the caution. On the restart, Powers powered down the outside lane but it was too little too late. Kyler Davis nabbed his first win of the season followed by Zach Audet and Kyle MacAskill.
Late Models – 50 Laps
8. 01VT, Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
Flying Tigers – 40 Laps
4. 01VT, Michael Martin, Craftsbury Common
5. 5VT, Tyler Austin, East Calais
17. 58VT, Brendan Moodie, Wolcott
25. 22VT, Travis Patnoe, Wolcott
26. 36VT, Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury Common
Street Stocks – 25 Laps
16. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield