Wheeler Up To Thunder Road Challenge
BARRE, Vt. – Brett Wheeler met Phil Scott’s challenge on a late race restart and sped off to victory in the Harvest Equipment Night Late Model 50-lap main event on a rare Monday night of stock car racing at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl.
Wheeler started on the pole and left everyone in the dust before a caution for Joey M. Laquerre’s spin on lap 39 brought his Spherion No. 1 back to the field. Scott lined up alongside Wheeler in the Lamberton Electric/Maplewood No. 14, but wasn’t able to hang at Wheeler’s door.
Trampas Demers and Dave Whitcomb spent the final 11 laps in a spirited battle for third that went to Demers. Rookie Jason Corliss finished fifth. Point leader Derrick O’Donnell came from 20th on the grid to claim sixth. O’Donnell was 13th at the halfway mark. Positions seven through ten went to Joey Laquerre, Dave Pembroke, Mike Bailey and Eric Chase.
Bailey and Chase won their Late Model heats with ease. Wheeler also was a heat winner, despite close pursuit from Phil Scott. Derrick O’Donnell used a late opening in traffic to gain a qualified spot. Brooks Clark, the prior feature winner, spent his heat mired in double-wide traffic.
Eric Badore reeled in Chris Pelkey on the white flag lap to complete a stirring charge from fifth in the closing laps of the Tiger Sportsman feature. Pelkey was second, just ahead of Joe Steffen. Point leader Shawn Fleury was fourth. Chris Roberts caught Jason Allen at the wire for fifth. It was Badore’s first win of the year.
Darrell Morin won his heat and the semi-feature, but his bid for a triple crown night came to an abrupt halt on the second lap of 35-lap feature. Morin tangled with Pelkey at the front of the pack and ended up against the wall at the flag stand. He left on the wrecker and did not return.
Pelkey grabbed the lead on the restart with rookie Cameron Ouellette perched at his spoiler. The second yellow was thrown on lap eight when Jason Woodard executed a judge and jury spinout of Mike Martin. The front four cars on the restart were Pelkey, Ouellette, Mike Billado and Joe Steffen.
Pelkey stayed ahead of the double wide fray for a dozen laps before Billado cleared Ouellette for second. A lap later, three-wide action didn’t fit through turn four and Josh Demers did a slow roll over onto his roof after a bout with Tucker Williams and the frontstretch wall. The red flag was thrown, but Demers was not seriously injured.
Bunker Hodgdon of Hardwick inherited his first Allen Lumber Street Stock win after the top three finishers were disqualified for suspension infractions in post race technical inspection. Apparent winner Greg Adams, second place Jamie Davis, third place finisher Dean Switser Jr. and tenth place finisher Joe Fecteau all failed post race tech for rear camber. Young Jamon Perry also of Hardwick took over second and fan favorite Jennifer Getty of Cambridge completed the podium.