Thursday, August 9th
BARRE, Vt. -- Craftsbury Common's Joel Hodgdon took home all the marbles at Cody Chevrolet Cadillac Night on Thursday, August 9. The Lenny's Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger point leader stood tall against every challenger to capture the Myers Container Service Triple Crown finale, securing the championship in the 3-race series to go with it.
Hodgdon, who entered the event as the Triple Crown point leader as well as the weekly division leader, started on the pole for the 75-lap main event after earning a +6 in qualifying under the "plus-minus" system. Fellow Craftsbury Common racer Mike Martin poked his bumper out front on the opening circuit and would do so again following the first caution on lap 14. Each time, Hodgdon quickly reasserted his hold on the top spot.
A total of eight more cautions would follow throughout the event, giving the field multiple chances to close up. Morrisville's Brandon Lanphear, who entered the event second in the Triple Crown standings, had taken advantage to move up to fourth by the lap 42. But on the restart following the fifth caution, Lanphear dropped off the pace with a deflating right front tire, sending Hodgdon's closest championship challenger by the wayside.
Defending Flying Tiger champion Jason Woodard of Waterbury Center worked his way up to second following Lanphear's misfortune. He would eventually get four chances to restart alongside Hodgdon in the final 16 laps. Hodgdon was up to the task each time, including on the final restart with four laps remaining, to claim his third win of the season and the Triple Crown championship.
Woodard finished second followed by Cameron Ouellette, who had made an impressive 3-wide move around Martin and Joe Stefffen to get as high as second earlier in the event. Steffen and Martin rounded out the top-5. Robert Gordon, Cooper Bouchard, Kelsea Woodard, Kyle Streeter, and Dwayne Lanphear finished 6th through 10th.
In the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Wolcott's Marcel J. Gravel exorcised a season's worth of demons by capturing his first career victory in Thunder Road's top division. Gravel started on the pole after a miserable year to date and quickly jumped out in front of outside polesitter Tyler Cahoon of Danville.
Cahoon would keep the pressure on throughout the caution-free 50-lap event, as Gravel's rear-view mirror was constantly full. Graniteville's Stephen Donahue joined the battle at the lap-14 mark, and Barre's Jason Corliss entered the picture with seven laps remaining.
But even as the handle apparently began to go away on Gravel's machine in the final circuits, the 2nd-generation racer refused to give up the top spot. He finally reached the finish line first to erase the memories of several close calls through his career.
The 2nd-place effort for Cahoon marked his best run of the season, while Donahue barely held off Corliss for third. Eric Chase, Scott Dragon, Trampas Demers, Cody Blake, Christopher Pelkey, and Matt White completed the top-10. Demers unofficially will maintain a 13-point edge on Dragon and 18 points on Corliss with two point-counting events remaining.
Craftsbury Common's Stephen Martin proved he's the new man to beat in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks by taking his second win of the season. Martin, who entered the 25-lap event as the point leader for the first time all year, was up to the second spot when the fourth and final caution flew on lap 21 after Matthew Smith lost his right rear wheel on the backstretch.
On the restart, Martin got a great jump to power around rookie Juan "Paco" Marshall of Pittsfield, who had snagged the lead on the previous caution when Will Hennequin encountered mechanical problems. Martin then pulled away to take the victory and extend his point lead.
Marshall held off Barre's Jeffrey Martin to finish a career-best second. Jamie Davis, Gary Mullen, Dean Switser Jr., Jacob Roy, Trevor Rossi, Logan Powers, and Kyle Campbell also earned top-10 finishes.
Thunder Road returns to action for the next-to-last Thursday night event of the year on August 16 at 7:00pm.