Hometown sensation Nick Sweet sent a dagger into his competitor's championship hopes, claiming the victory and extending his point lead at The Times Argus Midseason Championships on Thursday, July 19. Sweet was followed to the line by Jeffersonville's Joey Becker and Essex Junction's Dave Whitcomb. Former K&N Pro Series Champion Jamie Aube took home fourth, and 3-time Thunder Road Champion Phil Scott rounded out the top five.
Becker dominated the early part of the 75 lap event, stretching his lead while top three point drivers David Pembroke and Cody Blake were caught in early trouble. After a lap 23 caution, Whitcomb and Becker broke into a tireless duel side by side for the lead, with point leader Nick Sweet waiting in the whims. When Whitcomb finally inched by Becker using the high lane, Sweet took full advantage soaring to the lead with over 30 laps to go in the event, and never looked back. Mad River Valley's Brooks Clark brought home sixth place and South Burlington's Trampas Demers was seventh. Pembroke recovered from early damage to salvage eighth place, and Eric Chase and Scott Payea rounded out the top ten.
Sweet was grateful to be in victory lane for the fourth time this season. "Man, that was just fun to drive," he said grinning. "The car was just so good. This is great for the team," he finished emphatically.
Two-time Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen Champion Shawn Fleury, of Middlesex, endured a 50-lap slugfest to take home his first checkered flag of 2012. Fleury was hounded by Milton's Eric Badore and Wolcott's Brendan Moodie, Jr., who came home second and third respectively. The race, which featured four cautions in the first four laps, treated fans to a budding rivalry when Henniker, NH's Dylan Payea and Barre's own David Finck traded paint towards the midway point. The pair started on the front row of a mid-race caution, and beat and bashed each other for the win, only to be interrupted by Fleury's hard charge to the front. Fleury left the pair to battle behind him. A last lap skirmish relegated Payea to fourth following a penalty for a pump and run. Barre's Jason Corliss finished fifth, and top two point men Josh Demers and Jason Allen recovered from early trouble to come home sixth and seventh respectively. Mike Martin, Bobby Therrien, and John Lambert rounded out the top ten.
Fleury was happy to survive for the win. "We just had to stay patient, we knew it was a 50 lap race, so we just tried to pick ‘em off," said Fleury. "I just kept telling myself to stay smooth and keep my head on."
Former Champion Gary "The Farmer" Mullen, of Tunbridge, grabbed his first checkers of 2012 in the Allen Lumber Street Stock division, fighting off a hard charge from last week's (July 12) winner Dave Whitcomb of Elmore and Morrisville's Jamie Davis.
Hineburg's Keith Fortier led the early part of the race in a tight battle with Roxbury's Amanda Habel. On lap 13 however, the pair slipped up at the front leaving a three wide opportunity for Mullen to slide underneath them and run to the victory with Davis and Whitcomb side by side on his rear bumper. Lincoln's Garry Bashaw came home fourth, and point leader Nick Pilotte protected his point lead rounding out the top five.
--Thunder Road Press Release--
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