Dragon Seizes Points Lead

BARRE, Vt. Milton’s Scott Dragon took a big step in his drive for a second “King of the Road” crown by taking the Times Argus Mid-Season Championships on Thursday, July 26. Dragon took full advantage of a caution in the late stages of the event to grab the lead with 16 laps remaining in the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model feature and cruise to his second straight win on the Barre high banks.

Starting 10th after his Vermont Governor’s Cup win the week before, Dragon patiently worked his way through the field along with his fellow title contenders. He eventually found his way around the outside of defending champion Bobby Therrien on lap 50. But by that time he was more than a straightaway behind leader Marcel J. Gravel of Wolcott, who had set a torrid pace since taking the point on lap 12.

However, fortune smiled on Dragon four laps later when Eric Chase spun in turn one while fighting with Trampas Demers for the sixth spot. After getting underneath Kyle Pembroke for second on the restart, Dragon swung to the outside of Gravel, taking the lead on lap 59.

Jason Corliss and Demers followed Dragon around as Gravel’s car suddenly faded badly down the stretch. Corliss and Demers eventually locked horns in a lengthy battle for second, allowing Dragon to pull away for the win.

Barre’s Corliss fended off the challenge to take second while Demers had to hold off a late bid from Therrien for third. Pembroke, Cody Blake, Christopher Pelkey, Eric Chase, Darrell Morin, and Evan Hallstrom completed the top-10. Dragon unofficially will take the point lead by three over Demers, with Corliss and Blake both within 17 points.

In the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, it was the “Double O Show”, as Grand Isle’s Joe Steffen carried the checkered flag for the 18th time in his career. Steffen started on the outside pole of the 50-lap feature after a tough month of July prior to the event and immediately jumped out in front of Georgia’s Brett Wood.

The veteran gradually built up a comfortable lead, but the event’s only caution on lap 40 for Jeff Murray’s stalled automobile allowed Milton’s Robert Gordon to draw alongside. Steffen was able to best Gordon on the restart and hold him off over the final 10 laps to move into a tie with Brendan Moodie atop the division’s all-time wins list.

Gordon finished second, marking his best career Thunder Road finish. Craftsbury Common’s Mike Martin made a pair of bold moves on the final restart to pick up third. Wood, Chris Chambers, Kyle Streeter, Joel Hodgdon, Jason Woodard, Kevin Streeter, and Brandon Lanphear rounded out the top-10. Hodgdon will unofficially maintain a sizeable point lead while Steffen unofficially jumps all the way up to the second spot overall.

Barre’s Jeffrey Martin inherited his second win of the season in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks. Martin charged up from the 15th starting spot to spend much of the 35-lap feature in a four-way battle for the lead with Berlin’s Scott Weston, E. Thetford’s Brandon Gray, and Craftsbury’s Stephen Martin.

Gray eventually found his way to the top spot on the track, getting around the outside of Weston on the event’s final restart on lap 30. Martin would then did the same, beating Weston to the line by half a car length for the runner-up spot. That second would become a win in the tech line when Gray was disqualified for using offset wheels.

Weston moved up to second for his best run of the season. Point leader Matthew Smith advanced to the third and unofficially padded his lead. Tim Hunt, Stephen Martin, Bryan P. Wall, Tyler Pepin, Will Hennequin, Jamie Davis, and Logan Powers finished fourth through 10th.

Graniteville’s Frank Putney capped the evening with his second career win in the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. Putney came from 16th on the starting grid in the 25-lap feature, eventually getting to the outside of Northfield’s James Dopp on lap-19. With lapped traffic dead ahead, Putney set a perfect pick on Dopp and motored off to the victory.

Williamstown’s Sean McCarthy followed Putney around for second while Dopp ended up third. Todd Raymo, Michael Stearns, Eric Chase, Mike Mitchell, Brodie Frazier, Luke Belitsos, and Haidyn Pearce also earned top-10 finishes.

Thunder Road opens the month of August with WDEV Radio/Calkins Portable Toilets Night on Thursday, August 2 at 7:00pm. All four regular divisions will be in action plus the annual “Port-a-Potty Grand Prix”. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).

Courtesy: Thunder Road