Donahue Claims First Late Model Win

BARRE, Vt. Graniteville’s Stephen Donahue joined the ranks of Maplewood/Irving Late Model winners at Barre’s Thunder Road by charging to the win on Community College of Vermont (CCV) Night on Friday, June 29. The third-generation racer took the lead for good from Washington’s Ricky Roberts on lap 38 of the 50-lap feature and sped away for his first Late Model win on the Barre high banks.

Roberts gad grabbed the lead off the outside pole and opened up a big advantage multiple times during the first half of the event. But following the race’s only caution flag on lap 9 for an incident involving Tyler Cahoon and Jim “Boomer” Morris, Donahue began his charge. From eighth on the starting grid, the sophomore competitor flew up the outside. He got around rookie Brendan Moodie for second lap 27 and was at Roberts’ doorstep just five laps later.

Donahue went right to work on Roberts, eventually putting the nose ahead on lap 35. But the two slapped doors entering turn 3 a lap later, and Donahue lost control just enough for Roberts to regain the top spot. Donahue quickly got his bearings back, retaking the lead two laps later and going on to the win.

Milton’s Scott Dragon made a similar charge up the outside, coming from 12th at the start to swipe second from Roberts in the closing laps. Roberts was able to nip Jason Corliss for 3rd in a photo finish at the line. Moodie, Marcel J. Gravel, Darrell Morin, Matt White, Christopher Pelkey, and Cody Blake rounded out the top-10. Both Dragon and Corliss made big gains on point leader Trampas Demers, who spent most of the night mired in traffic en route to a 15th-place finish.

Waitsfield’s Kyle Streeter kicked off the night by going back-to-back in the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers. Streeter started outside pole for their Casella make-up feature, as the line-up had been set prior to his win in last week’s feature. He grabbed the lead from polesitter Brett Wood following the event’s only caution on the opening lap and, after opening up a nice gap in the middle stages, held off his father Kevin Streeter late for a family sweep of the top two spots.

Morrisville’s Brandon Lanphear came out on top of a lengthy battle with Barre’s Cameron Ouellette for third. Joel Hodgdon, Mike Martin, Joe Steffen, Dwayne Lanphear, Trevor Lyman, and Tyler Austin completed the top-10.

In the Flying Tiger nightcap, it was Steffen who stood in Victory Lane for the 17th time in his career. “Double O Joe” quickly worked his way forward from 13th on the grid and swung around early leader Colin Cornell on lap-23 restart. He then held off Brandon Lanphear on a 3-lap sprint after the event’s third and final caution. With the win, Steffen tied Joey Laquerre for second on the all-time Flying Tiger win list, just one back of Brendan Moodie.

Lanphear finished second for his fourth straight podium finish. E. Burke’s Cornell barely edged Oullette for third, marking his first time on the podium at Thunder Road. Matt Potter, Hodgdon, Lyman, Dwayne Lanphear, Martin, and Chris Chambers also earned top-10 finishes.

Barre’s Patrick Tibbets made a special delivery in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks to capture his second career victory. The full-time mail carrier had dogged outside polesitter Scott Weston for much of the 25-lap event when the first caution came out on lap 20 for a hard crash off turn 3 involving Justin Town and Justin Blakely.

Tibbets had his bumper out front one lap later when another caution flew for Stephen Martin’s spin. He then used the inside on the final restart to walk away to the win.

Weston crossed the line in second but was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for a tire infraction. Barre’s Jeffrey Martin inherited the runner-up spot while Tunbridge’s Gary Mullen completed the new podium. Jamie Davis, Tim Hunt, Tommy Smith, Kasey Beattie, Bryan P. Wall, Troy Kingsbury, and Tyler Pepin rounded out the top-10. Point leader Matthew Smith was forced to retire early due to damage sustained in a heat-race crash that also saw Will Hennequin end up on his lid.

The tech line also played a major role in the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors as Graniteville’s Frank Putney inherited his first career win. Putney crossed the finish line second after dogging S. Royalton’s Derek Farnham for much of the 30-lap event. But Farnham failed technical inspection due to tire and camber violations, handing Putney the victory.

E. Montpelier’s Brodie Frazier became the new 2nd-place finisher followed by Williamstown’s Kyle MacAskill. James Dopp, Fred Fleury, Eric Chase, Sean McCarthy, Chris Davis, Haidyn Pearce, and Jayme Lee also earned top-10 finishes.

Hinesburg’s Caden Frost dove to the inside of Warren’s Sean Lawson coming to the white flag to be crowned the winner of the 3rd Annual Vermont Brewer’s Cup. Garin Frost, Eric Spoerl, and Andrew Puchalik completed the field.

Thunder Road kicks off its Independence Day doubleheader this Tuesday, July 3 at 7:00pm with the annual Aubuchon Hardware Holiday Spectacular. A full card of championship action for the Maplewood/Irving Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks will be followed by one of the biggest fireworks shows in the region.

Courtesy: Thunder Road