Eric Chase, the Milton, VT helicopter pilot, got a chance to beam in victory lane after 14 years of trying by wiring the Late Model field from the outside pole on WDEV/Calkins Night at Thunder Road on Thursday, August 8.
Chase was put to the test over the second half of the 50-lap feature by veteran Dave Whitcomb who spent many a lap alongside his Gary Clay Builders No. 40. Whitcomb tucked inside to play a few laps of defense when teenager Emily Packard arrived to contest the top positions. Whitcomb made a final bid on the outside in the final three laps and Packard nosed underneath him to finish 2nd on the final circuit.
Jason Corliss was a close 4th, followed by fast-closing Scott Payea. Positions 6-10 went to Jamie Fisher, Trampas Demers, Joey M Laquerre, Mike Bailey and Derrick O'Donnell.
"It's been a long time coming, Chase said. "It looks easy to do, but it's not – it's pretty hard. It's a big monkey off my back."
"I didn't have quite enough to get him," Whitcomb said. "I went back outside to give it one more try. I'm glad to see Eric do it."
The Late Models entered WDEV Night action having produced nine different winners in 10 events. Two of the three qualifying heat winners – Kyle Pembroke and Eric Chase – were both poised to join the new winners list. The other heat was won handily by Monday night's victor, Brett Wheeler of Waterbury Center.
The top four drivers in the point standings - Derrick O'Donnell, Dave Pembroke, Brooks Clark and Nick Sweet found themselves in the consolation round fighting for handicapped positions in the main event. Clark won the race with O'Donnell 3rd.
Packard caught Whitcomb in the final turn to post her best-ever finish at Thunder Road in the Northstar Fireworks No. 9.
Payea came from 12th on the grid and was shuffled back in the early going. When he got rolling in the outside lane he climbed into 5th behind Corliss, who started 8th and ran in the top-5 much of the way.
Tucker Williams of Hyde Park jumped out to an early lead and was never challenged in the Tiger Sportsman 35-lap feature. The 10 car-length victory was Williams' 2nd of the season and the 6th of his career.
Eric Badore of Milton kept the race exciting by tearing up the outside lane to advance from 18th to finish 2nd and unofficially take over the Tiger point lead. Badore wheeled the Milton Rental & Sales No. 04 into 8th place at the halfway mark. He was 5th on lap 26, 4th on lap 28, and swept around 3rd-place Doug Crowningshield for runner-up honors on the white flag lap.
Jeff Bousquet, Randy Gonyaw, Scott Coburn, Brendan Moodie and Mike Ziter finished nose-to-tail in positions 4-8. Mike Martin and Jason Woodard completed the top ten.
The Allen Lumber Street Stock feature – postponed by rain – will be made up next Thursday, August 15 as a part of the Make-A-Wish night featuring the annual Run-What-U-Brung.
Paul Dudley of Waitsfield claimed another win in the Rough Riders. He edged Chris LaForest and Dennis Perry in the three-segment event.
Late Model competitor Derrick O'Donnell took home the Golden Toilet seat top honors for his win in the annual Porta-Potty Grand Prix. Tiger competitor Shawn Fleury's ride took home the Golden Plunger best in show.
Thunder Road will be back in action this Sunday, August 11 with the 29th Annual M&M Beverage Enduro. The "People's Race" will see over 100 nearly street legal cars take on the Barre highbanks for 200 laps of non-stop action. There will also be a Street Stock special 50-lap event. Post time is 6:00pm.
Courtesy: Thunder Road Speedbowl
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