Hodgdon Returns in Triple Crown Round No. 1

photo by Alan Ward
Late Model Victory Lane featured (left to right) Tyler Cahoon (3rd), winner Darrell Morin and Cody Blake (2nd).

BARRE – Although practice was plagued by raindrops that also pushed back the start time of Friday’s festivities, drivers and officials pushed and completed the Vermont Career Technical Centers and Vermont Agency of Education Night with flying colors at Thunder Road. The annual Friday Night Special was filled with plenty of spills and thrills and the sights and sounds of the ultra-fast New England Supermodified Series.

Starting off the evening’s program, the New England Supermodified Series made their return to Thunder Road to kick-start the season for the open-wheeled rockets. Led to green by Dan Bowles, the field jumped into single file, setting a lightning pace with Bowles himself taking a fast-time of 9.971-seconds during the event. Just two cautions slowed the pace with Bowles leading the field each time out. The real battle would be for second as it swapped between heavy-hitters Jon McKennedy, Anthony Nocella and Matt Swanson time and time again. It would be Dan Bowles triumphant in victory lane after a wreck on Milk Bowl weekend in October followed by McKennedy and Swanson to round out the podium.

Barre’s-own Ryan Sayers would lead the Road Warriors to point with Brodie Frazier and Tyler Wheatley all over his tail. By the halfway point front-runners Neal Foster and Taylor Sayers had joined a gaggle at the front with Foster taking over with the first lead change on lap 13. Soon it would be a dogfight at the front with Taylor Sayers and Foster side-by-side, duking it out as they swapped the lead over and over in the final laps. Taylor Sayers would take the win over Neal Foster by just 0.020-seconds with Brookfield’s Tyler Wheatley rounding out the top-three.

photo by Alan Ward
In Victory Lane for Flying Tigers were (left to right) Derrick Calkins (3rd), winner Joel Hodgdon and Kevin Streeter (2nd).

The Street Stocks were up next led to point by Paige Whittemore and Tommy “Thunder” Smith. Thunder would nab the lead immediately off turn two with young Jesse Laquerre in tow before the first caution on lap-seven. Smith would again take off with Laquerre once again before tempers started to flair mid-pack as drivers dipped and dove around each other. Jeffrey Martin and Patrick Tibbetts would set off the powder keg on the front-stretch to end their Friday night. On the restart, Josh Lovely would blow a right front tire in turn one, collecting several top runners and starting a lengthy clean-up effort. With the final restart in his grasp, Smith grew his record to 36 wins in the four-cylinder division with defending champion Dean Switser Jr. and Jesse Laquerre rounding out the podium.

The Late Models joined the show with Vermont Governor Phil Scott securely in the lead with Chris Roberts to his outside at the onset. While Chip Grenier would be in contention early, his falling off would allow Tyler Cahoon, Darrell Morin and Stephen Martin to follow the Governor. The first caution would fly for Kaiden Fisher as he looped the S.D. Ireland machine in turn-four leaving Cahoon to take the edge over Scott on the restart. The final yellow would fly on lap 47 as the throttle hung on Keegan Lamson’s Chevy sending him hard into the Widowmaker to end his night. The final shootout would come down to Morin and Cahoon with a dogfight till the end that saw Darrell Morin take down just his second Late Model win followed by Cody Blake and Tyler Cahoon.

photo by Alan Ward
In Victory Lane for Street Stocks were (left to right) Jesse Laquerre (3rd), winner Tommy Smith and Dean Switser, Jr. (2nd).

The Flying Tigers went out as the final event of the evening to kick-off the Triple Crown Series. Kyle Streeter and Cameron Ouellette paced the field by virtue of their plus-five handicap earned through the Plus/Minus gained in their respective heat races. After two spin-induced yellows, Streeter found himself facing Triple Crown champion Joel Hodgdon as the two battled for over 20 laps side-by-side before Chris LaForest brought out the lap 36 caution.

The conveniently marked caution lap proved perfect for Hodgdon as he cruised to a full lead by lap 40 with Kyle having to fend off father Kevin Streeter as the elder took third-place from his son. The final caution on lap 63 would set up a final face-off between Hodgdon and hot-shoe Logan Powers. The defending Mini Milk Bowl champion would fall back as Kevin Streeter and Derrick Calkins pushed through to chase Hodgdon. In the end, Joel Hodgdon would take the first of three checkered flags for the season followed by Kevin Streeter and Derrick Calkins to round out victory lane.

photo by Alan Ward
In New England Supermodified Series Victory Lane were (left to right) Matt Swanson (3rd), winner Dan Bowles, and Jon McKennedy (2nd).

photo by Alan Ward
Road Warriors Victory Lane featured (left to right) Tyler Wheatley (3rd), winner Taylor Sayers and Neal Foster (2nd).


(local competitors)

Flying Tigers – Triple Crown Round No. 1 (75 Laps)

1. 36VT, Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury Common

25. 22VT, Travis Patnoe, Wolcott

29. 23VT, Matthew Potter, Marshfield

30. 5VT, Tyler Austin, East Calais

Late Models – (50 Laps)

5. 01VT, Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common

17. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott

Street Stocks – (25 Laps)

5. 5, Kyle Gravel, Wolcott

21. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield

Comments are closed.