BARRE – Both racers and fans were greeted to another beautiful day high atop Quarry Hill on Sunday evening for the rain-date make-up Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night. In this game, winning races doesn’t always equate to winning championships and Sunday at Thunder Road proved it. Consistency is, and always will be, key and drivers in every division proved that as the 2023 championship season begins its descent.
The Road Warriors started off the evening’s activities with Brayden Murphy and Nick Copping leading the field to green. Murphy took from the veteran Copping with Karsen Murphy in tow as longtime veteran Frank Putney sliced through the top 10 to steal third by lap-three. With 13 laps remaining Karsen pulled up alongside Brayden to begin a forward charge on the outside groove as Putney grew ever closer to the young-guns. With desperation setting in and a rear-view full of Putney’s “Unofficial Thunder Road Pacecar,” Brayden came down on Karsen’s front fender and went careening into the infield leaving the drive open for Karsen Murphy to take down his first career win after starting out on Thunder Road’s infield go-kart track with Putney and Tyler Wheatley rounding out the podium.
After earning the pole position, Scott Weston brought out the first caution during the first lap of the Street Stock feature with a leaking fuel cell to reshuffle the starting grid. Back under green, Jamie Davis made quick use of the outside groove to round Juan “Paco” Marshall and steal the lead. With smoke rising from the rear-end of Patrick Tibbet’s machine, he slowly began to lose position on the inside lane to top rookie Ryan Foster, Jesse Laquerre, Kyle MacAskill and others. Jamie Davis kept the foot in the throttle all the way to victory lane, dedicating the win to longtime crew member Ellis after suffering devastating damage during July’s historic flooding in Johnson. Fan-favorite Juan “Paco” Marshall took home second with Jesse Laquerre coming home third.
Cooper Bouchard and Tyler Cahoon brought the Late Model field to green with Bouchard getting the inside-row advantage. With Cahoon jumping to the bottom to chase Bouchard, former top rookie candidate Keegan Lamson took the high road to steal second in a side-by-side battle. Dead-even in their battle for second, the rest of the field ran two abreast behind them as Bouchard only increased his lead out front. Cahoon finally got away to firmly take hold of second with Justin Prescott, Nick Sweet and Scott Dragon following as Lamson fell back. Prescott with a strong mount pulled out alongside Cahoon to take second away at lap 31 with Sweet and Dragon opting to follow the rookie.
Side-by-side again, Cahoon and Prescott have the top point chasers plugged up behind their hot and heavy battle for second as Sweet, Dragon, Fisher and Blake began to lose patience. Sweet pulled up alongside Prescott but a quick show out of turn four shot Sweet sideways across the front stretch allowing Dragon to jump under Prescott with three-to-go. With laps winding down, drivers flew in and out of the lanes in close combat. A wild green-to-checkers Late Model showdown would be decided in post-race technical inspection where apparent winner Cooper Bouchard was disqualified for a tread width infraction.
After qualifying for the Flying Tiger Championship 100 on the originally scheduled date, the Flying Tigers returned to finish unfinished business. By virtue of his plus-5 earned, Colchester’s Sam Caron led the field to green but it was South Hero’s Rich Lowrey who quickly set the pace. With Lowrey growing his lead out front, Brandon Gray set out on the hunt and began to chase down his goal of a three-peat week after claiming Thursday’s normal 40-lap main event and Saturday’s Triple Crown win at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
Gray pulled up alongside Lowrey on lap 18 with Gray leading by a bumper on lap 19 as the two battled side-by-side. The first caution would fly on lap 22 as Phil Potvin and Trevor Jaques got together and blocked turn four. After two no-starts, both Lowrey and Gray finally pulled off an even restart with Gray leading on the outside back at the start-finish line. Lowrey certainly didn’t let Gray out of his sights, staying right on his rear bumper and making moves both high and low to remind the 00VT he wasn’t off Scott-free quite yet.
The caution on lap 57 for a blown-right-front-hub on the Jason Woodard machine re-racked the stretched out field to give Rich Lowrey, Kyle Streeter and Sam Caron another chance on Gray. Once again under full power, Gray took off with the lead as both Kyle and Kevin Streeter charged in before disaster struck for Triple Crown point leader Joel Hodgdon after his right front failed, sending him into the turn-four wall and ending his championship run.
Kyle Streeter would pull away with the restart lead before Gray throttled back the outside groove to steal it back on lap 65. Not making it easy on him, Streeter kept his 37VT Chevy Camaro at Gray’s inside door lap in and lap out before the red flag came out for a hard hit on the backstretch with fire under the hood of Mike MacAskill’s machine. An even restart between Streeter and Gray saw Streeter lead lap 74 at the line as Lowrey kept pace in third. The spectacular duel continued to the very end as championship implications sat just behind the leaders in fourth. Brandon Gray would pick up his third consecutive win in four days over Kyle Streeter by 0.020-seconds with apparent third-place finisher Rich Lowrey disqualified for a tread width infraction in post-race technical inspection.
By virtue of his third-place finish, two spots ahead of Sam Caron, Middlesex’s Logan Powers took down the 2023 Triple Crown championship. Without winning a single Triple Crown extra-distance event, Powers has unofficially become the seventh different champion at The Road.
Flying Tigers – (100 Laps)
20. 36VT, Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury Common
DNS – 22VT, Travis Patnoe, Wolcott
Late Models – (50 Laps)
7. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott
15. 01VT, Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
Street Stocks – (25 Laps)
16. 5, Kyle Gravel, Wolcott
Road Warriors – (20 Laps)
17. 27, Kyle Chapin, Marshfield