Thursday, August 23rd
BARRE, VT - Milton's Scott Dragon was crowned the "King of the Road" for the second time in his career on Thursday, August 23 at Jet Service Envelope/Accura Printing Night. Dragon sliced through the field in the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model feature to cross the finish line second behind Barre's Cody Blake, earning him the 2018 track championship.
The "Dragon Wagon" entered the 65-lap main event just seven points ahead of Barre's Jason Corliss and 11 ahead of South Burlington's Trampas Demers in a 3-man dance for the title. But after starting 13th on the grid, Dragon left little doubt about who was the man to beat. Following the event's only caution on lap 5 for a 3-car tangle on the frontstretch, the 2nd-generation racer quickly got around his closest challengers and went to work on the high line, motoring into the top-5 by lap 25.
Demers was able to catch back up momentarily and mount a challenge inside Dragon. But the longer the run went, the stronger Dragon got. He eventually found his way to third on the rear bumper of Blake, and both went to work chasing down early leader Jim "Boomer" Morris of Barre.
As the field approached both lapped traffic and the 5-to-go signal, Blake went to the outside of Morris. The two went door-to-door for several laps, and as Dragon waited for the right lane, Corliss re-entered the mix in a final desperate bid.
Blake was finally able to get around Morris on the backstretch with two laps remaining. Dragon quickly followed him around for second, ending Corliss's title chances. Blake would take his third Late Model win of the year while Dragon secured the championship by 11 points over Corliss.
Morris ended up third just ahead of Corliss. Kyle Pembroke, Marcel J. Gravel, Brooks Clark, Demers, Mike Bailey, and Christopher Pelkey also earned top-10 finishes.
Essex's Mike Billado salvaged a bright spot in a tough season by taking his first win of the year in the Lenny's Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers. Billado shot to the lead over polesitter Adam Maynard at the start of the 40-lap feature and built up a sizeable advantage in the early and middle stages. But a series of late cautions - first for Sid Sweet's spin on lap 28 and then again a lap later for Jason Woodard's spin - allowed the field into the mix.
Waitsfield's Kevin Streeter got the jump over Billado after the lap-29 restart and had the top spot when Maynard pounded the turn-1 wall a lap later to bring out the fourth and final caution. But Billado made the outside lane work for himself on the ensuing restart as the handling suddenly faded on Streeter's machine. Billado then held off rookie Kelsea Woodard of Waterbury Center in the final laps for the win.
Woodard earned a career-best second-place finish while fellow rookie Brandon Lanphear of Morrisville took third. Kyle Streeter, Tyler Austin, Joe Steffen, Joel Hodgdon, Kevin Streeter, Cooper Bouchard, and Jason Pelkey completed the top-10. With the result, Hodgdon has unofficially clinched the 2018 Flying Tiger championship.
Williamstown's Tommy "Thunder" Smith needed everything he had to earn his 32nd career Allen Lumber Street Stock victory. Smith started on the outside pole of the 25-lap feature and quickly grabbed the lead from Washington's Trevor Rossi, but he just as quickly found Derby's Tim Hunt hot on his tail.
After the second and final caution on lap 10, caused when Jacob Roy spun in turn 3 and was nailed by Justin Blakely, Smith and Hunt ran side-by-side for seven thrilling laps. But Smith was finally able to get clear, and while Hunt remained glued to Smith's bumper for the remainder of the event, he could not prevent the all-time winningest Street Stock driver from adding to his total.
St. Johnsbury's Kasey Beattie finished a fast-closing third followed by Logan Powers and Jeffrey Martin. Rossi, Matthew Smith, Gary Mullen, point leader Stephen Martin, and Dean Switser Jr. rounded out the top-10. Stephen Martin will unofficially have a 41-point lead over Jeffrey Martin going into the regular season finale.
Thunder Road celebrates the Labor Day holiday with the 40th Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 on Sunday, September 2 at 1:00pm. The American-Canadian Tour takes on the stars of the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models with $5,000 going to the winner of the Summer Showdown Series finale. The Lenny's Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and Allen Lumber Street Stocks will crown their 2018 champions and the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will round out the card.
-- Courtesy: Thunder Road