Dragon’s Third King of the Road Title Grows Nearer

photo by Alan Ward
Winners in Late Model victory lane were (left to right) Justin Prescott (3rd), winner Scott Dragon and Stephen Donahue (2nd).

BARRE – Setting the stage for Sunday’s 45th Labor Day Classic 200, the rain-delayed program went off with a bang on Friday. Tight, competitive racing throughout the divisions wowed the crowd, as did the annual Run-What-U-Brung spectator drags which brought the rabid fan base to their feet on more than one occasion.

Leading off the evening to give them as much time as possible to prepare for Sunday’s American-Canadian Tour invasion, Keegan Lamson and Stephen Martin lead the Late Model field to green. Lamson got the early bite on the inside groove as Martin shuffled back giving Darrell Morin free-range of the outside lane. The lone caution flag flew early as rookie Cody Schoolcraft got the shove from Chip Grenier in turn-three to spin around in turn-four. Lamson and Morin remained side-by-side following the restart until Morin poked out to lead lap-eight.

photo by Alan Ward
In Street Stock victory lane were (left to right) Jeffrey Martin (3rd), winner Tyler Whittemore and Trevor Jaques (2nd).

Behind the leaders, top point chasers Stephen Donahue, Scott Dragon and Kaiden Fisher remained nose-to-tail blazing through traffic and bouncing off one another in their pursuit of a top-five run. Rookie Justin Prescott powered up the outside of Morin to lead lap 21 as Donahue jumped to the bottom before battling hard with Dragon among the top three. Dragon overtook the lead on lap 26 before powering away from Donahue and Prescott as fellow championship chasers Marcel Gravel, Nick Sweet, Cody Blake and Fisher remained mired in traffic out back. Scott Dragon took down his fourth win of the season with Stephen Donahue and Justin Prescott completing the podium.

The Street Stocks got rowdy early as a loose Juan “Paco” Marshall over-corrected up into Cam Powers who along with Dean Switser spun around in turn-two. The “Crunch Bunch” continued to stir under the restart as top rookie Ryan Foster flew sideways in turn-four, collecting multiple machines in the melee and calling out the yellow once again. One final caution saw Derek Farnham pushed off the outside pole by Todd Raymo at the start-finish line on lap-two.

photo by Alan Ward
Featured winners in Flying Tiger victory lane were (left to right) Jason Pelkey (3rd), winner Kevin Streeter and Adam Maynard (2nd).

Under the return to green flag racing, Patrick Tibbetts powered off the bottom over Taylor Hoar to lead the field as Tyler Whittemore, Jamie Davis and Trevor Jaques followed on the outside. At the halfway point Whittemore made a beeline to the outside of Tibbetts and led lap 15 with Jaques and Jeffrey Martin in hot pursuit. As the three ran in a pack at the end, the final run around lap-car Travis Gay saw Jaques try for one last jump to the inside of Whittemore but it was too late. Tyler Whittemore took down his first win of the season followed by Jaques in second and Jeffrey Martin sub-driving for Kyle Gravel in third.

The Flying Tigers kept the show rolling with Matt Ballard and Kevin Streeter leading the pack with Streeter taking off like a rocket from the field in the outside lane. Adam Maynard broke out of the side-by-side pack to take second and set his sights on Streeter’s straightaway lead on lap-nine with Jason Pelkey and Cooper French following on the outside. Maynard methodically worked his way to the rear bumper of Streeter, jumping to his outside with four laps remaining and a rear-view mirror full of Jason Pelkey.  Sideways across the line in a blanket of smoke, Kevin Streeter kept the lead to take the win over Adam Maynard and Jason Pelkey.

photo by Alan Ward
Run-What-U-Brung Champion Jennifer Buker, from Lincoln, was driving a 2008 Subaru Impreza.

The showdown of the night saw 18 road-raging fans take to the Thunder Road highbanks in their daily drivers for the annual Run-What-U-Brung challenge. After whittling away the crowd in one-on-one drags across the asphalt, it came down to two. Richie Turner, the former Enduro 200 winner, piloting a red Ford Focus took on Jennifer Buker in a black Subaru Impreza for the final showdown. Turner seemed to miss the shift at the start and although he made up for it on the backstretch, Buker put the hammer down to claim the Run-What-U-Brung championship!

Kevin Wheatly and Robert Catchapaw tried to one-up the Run-What-U-Brung superstars by bringing the Road Warriors to life under the green flag before a hard-hit for newcomer Derek Tetrault brought out the caution on lap-one. Wheatley and Brodie Frazier restarted the field as Mike Slingerland, Neal Foster and Tyler Wheatley joined the fray. Contact between Jason Kirby and Nate Brien brought the yellow flag back out on lap-seven and ended Brien’s day with a smashed radiator. Neal Foster would take the jump on the restart to win followed by a late-charge by Tyler Wheatley for second and father Kevin Wheatley rounding out the evening’s final podium.

photo by Alan Ward
Road Warriors victory lane included (left to right) Kevin Wheatley (3rd), winner Neal Foster and Tyler Wheatley (2nd).


(local competitors) 

Late Models – (50 Laps)

5. 01VT, Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common

7. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott

18. 7VT, Brendan Moodie, Wolcott

Flying Tigers – (40 Laps)

20. 22VT, Travis Patnoe, Wolcott

Street Stocks – (25 Laps)

4. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield

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