BARRE — The season came down to one final showdown for the Late Models, Flying Tigers and Street Stocks to crown their champions. The drama was high throughout the night as season highs and lows came in the blink of an eye. By the time the smoke cleared from the fireworks display, three first-time champions carved their names into the history books at Thunder Road.
Polesitter Thomas Peck couldn’t come up to speed on the initial start to the Street Stock feature event, leaving Todd Raymo to pace the field as Haidyn Pearce’s machine blew up on turn-three to spill oil across the racetrack. After a lengthy clean-up, Raymo and rookie Logan Farrell brought the field back to the restart green. Repeat championship hopeful Dean Switser Jr. launched into second with 20-laps remaining as point leader James Dopp worked to make headway in the back of the pack. With just 10 laps remaining, Dopp still had to make up at least five positions with time running after Switser nabbed the lead with seven-to-go.
A miracle caution for Dopp came out on lap 28 as Cam Powers and Ryan Foster got together on the backstretch in their battle for seventh. With just two to go, Dopp had to pass three more competitors with Switser’s lead. Dopp made his way around the slowed traffic to his inside, after Patrick Tibbets failed to get up to speed, and it was just enough to claim the Street Stock championship by one single point over the night’s winner, and defending champion, Dean Switser Jr. Logan Farrell and Todd Raymo finished second and third in the night’s 30-lap feature event.
Luke Peters and Matt Ballard brought the Flying Tigers to green for their 50-lap championship feature. Keeping it side-by-side throughout the first fifth of the event, point leader Brandon Gray was left mired with the other championship hopefuls throughout the field. Ballard finally broke the stalemate on lap 14 with the outside line following him from behind. Gray’s closest adversary Kyle Streeter stayed just ahead of him on the outside groove with only repeat winner Cooper French acting as a buffer between them before the Northfield teen broke and exited the race on lap 21.
Tied as they ran in the top-10, Streeter and Gray white-knuckled their machines around the raceway before catastrophe struck as Gray’s radiator hose let loose, flooding turn four and terrifyingly collecting fellow championship hopeful Sam Caron along with Kevin Streeter and Ty Delphia. Under the return to green Robert Gordon stole away the lead from Ballard before Logan Powers overtook him on the outside to lead lap 34. Another slowdown came on lap 37 for the sliding Colin Cornell machine in turn one. With a rear-view mirror full of point leader Kyle Streeter, Powers held on over the final circuits to claim the win with Kyle Streeter taking the championship over Jason Pelkey by nine points with Robert Gordon rounding out the podium.
Under the command of Cooper Bouchard and Tyler Cahoon, the Late Model field took the green in their 64-lap season finale. While Cahoon got the early lead it was rookie Cody Schoolcraft who stole the show on lap-five with Brandon Lanphear and Kaiden Fisher hot on his tail. Mid-pack, point leader Stephen Donahue made use of the outside in his hunt to join the top dogs with Christopher Pelkey and Marcel Gravel also looking to the outside lane for support. With Schoolcraft growing his lead out front, second through tenth ran side-by-side behind him.
At the halfway point, Donahue continued to look for an opening between Lanphear and Cahoon with Fisher and Gravel in tow on the outside lane. Trouble for championship hopeful Marcel Gravel brought out the caution on lap 47 while the cautions persisted on lap 49 with a huge pile-up in turn one between Donahue and Schoolcraft that collected half the field. With Pelkey and Fisher at the helm, third-place Scott Dragon drove up the inside on the restart to battle Fisher. By running in fourth Donahue held the championship in his grasp but Nick Sweet looked poised to ruin that hope lap after lap. As Kaiden Fisher edged out Scott Dragon to claim his second win of the season and Darrell Morin rounding out the podium, Stephen Donahue’s fourth place finish was enough to claim the King of the Road track championship by four points over Fisher.
Kevin Wheatley started the evening by winning the rained-out extra-money feature for the Road Warriors but failed to return to the second feature. Keegan Tabor and Karsen Murphy would lead the second feature to end championship night. As the two youngsters battled at the front, Brodie Frazier and Mike Slingerland reeled them in. In the lone green to checkered event of the championship evening, Karsen Murphy claimed his second win of the season over Keegan Tabor and Mike Slingerland, who claimed back-to-back podiums on their double feature night!
Late Models – (64 Laps)
12. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott
Flying Tigers – (50 Laps)
9. 56VT, Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury Common
Street Stocks – (30 Laps)
20. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield
Road Warriors – (20 Laps)
11. 32, Kylee Potter, Plainfield
Rained Out Feature from Sept. 8 – (20 Laps)
12. 32, Kylee Potter, Plainfield