After a tough season, Winooski's Jerry Lesage vindicated himself in style with a convincing victory in the 50-lap Late Model main event at Barre's Thunder Road on Sunday, August 19. Lesage had to fend off rising star Cody Blake, as well as three-time "King of the Road" Phil Scott to take his first checkered flag in over seven years.
Pole-sitter Ricky Roberts ran with the lead early, but by lap 23 the familiar #74 of Lesage had pulled to his rear bumper. Lesage flew high to the outside and snatched the lead from Roberts by the halfway mark, and ran from the pack. Roberts was then swarmed by Blake, who took over the second position, as well as Scott, and point-leader Nick Sweet who stacked up two wide behind him. Blake distanced himself from the battle, while Scott methodically worked by Roberts with Sweet taking away fourth in the closing laps. Scott Payea, defending Champion Dave Pembroke, Jamie Aube, last week's winner Cris Michaud, and Brett Wheeler completed the top ten finishers.
The victory was Lesage's first in 7 years and 1 day at Thunder Road. "We work so hard on this thing," said Lesage in victory lane. "We had a rough year, and this is really a wish come true."
Phil Scott's third-place finish also allowed for Race to Read Raffle winner Aleah Page, of Barre Town, to come celebrate with him in victory lane. Page had read all 15 required books, and has already signed the hood of program founder Troy Kingsbury's hood, and had chosen Phil Scott as her Race to Read Driver of the Week.
The Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen saw yet another first-time winner in Washington, VT's Chris Roberts, who fended off late-race attacks from Barre's own Scott Coburn, as well as Williamstown's Mike Ziter. Point-leader Brendan Moodie, Jr. and two-time Champion Shawn Fleury rounded out the top five in a side by side battle on Ziter's bumper.
Roberts grabbed the lead early from pole sitter Randy Gonyaw, and ran out to a sizeable lead until Barre's Scott Coburn was able to give chase. By the halfway point, Coburn had caught Roberts but couldn't find a way around him for the lead. Ziter had his hands full trying to fend off top point drivers Moodie, Fleury, Bobby Therrien, and Jason Allen, all who finished side by side at the line. Kyle Pembroke, rookie Jason Woodard, and John Lambert completed the top ten.
Williamstown's Tommy "Thunder" Smith added to his all-time high win count in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks with win #25 on Sunday evening. He was followed by Hardwick's Bunker Hodgdon, and point-leader Nick Pilotte.
The early lead was up for grabs until a lap 18 caution, which left high point driver Garry Bashaw's tire bouncing down the front stretch, setting up a battle for the lead between Hodgdon and Smith. Hodgdon took the first restart and looked poised to pick up his first win of 2012, but sudden problems slowed the #83, allowing the #50 of "Thunder" to get by him. Hodgdon held on for second place, while Pilotte clawed through the field to extend his point lead over rookie Dean Switser, Jr. unofficially with his third place finish. Morrisville's Jamie Davis, and Troy Kingsbury rounded out the top five finishers.
For Smith, this win was extra special. "Man, this one feels like the best one," said Smith in victory lane. "What a year we have had, this is just awesome."
In the annual Run-What-U-Brung event, where fans raced their registered and inspected cars on the Barre high banks, Essex Junction's Nate Crete dominated his class on route to taking the 4-cylinder victory. Scott Corey, of Waterford, VT, beat the competition for the 8-cylinder victory, and Barre's own Edgar Magoon claimed the 6-cylinder championship. In the Tough Truck Tug O' War, Essex driver Sean Jacob dominated the competition to earn the win.
--Thunder Road Press Release--
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