BARRE — Local racer Cody Blake combined a little speed with a lot of luck to score the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model victory at Barre’s Thunder Road on Thursday.
Blake took the lead for the first time from Graniteville’s Christopher Pelkey on a restart following a massive crash with 10 laps to go and pulled away to win the 50-lap feature on WDEV Radio/Calkins Portable Toilets Night.
The second-generation racer spent much of the race in the back half of the top-10 while rookie Matthew Smith tried to pull the upset. Essex Jct.’s Smith grabbed the point from polesitter Kyle Pembroke at the drop of the green and eventually pulled out to a straightaway lead.
Just when it seemed Smith had the race in hand, Matt White and Chris Roberts spun on the front chute to bring out the first caution on lap-30. Although Smith easily held off Barre’s Jim Morris on the restart, recent Midseason Champion Scott Dragon went for a front stretch spin eight laps later to trigger another yellow.
This time on the restart, it was Morris who got the upper hand, leading laps 39 and 40. Going into turn one on the 41st circuit, the duo made contact and Morris went around in front of the field.
With nowhere to go, many of the top-10 drivers piled in, drawing a red flag. Tyler Cahoon, Stephen Donahue, Nick Sweet,and Tom Sheehan were all unable to continue following the wreck while Morris, point leader Marcel J. Gravel, Bobby Therrien, Trampas Demers, and Brendan Moodie were among those who sustained damage.
When the dust finally settled, it was Pelkey and Blake who found themselves on the new front row. Blake, who got off to a late start this season, made up for lost time by leaping out in front of Pelkey and cruising into the night for his seventh career win.
Pelkey earned his best result of the year with a second-place finish. Defending “King of the Road” Jason Corliss of Barre made it an all–Central Vermont podium by dodging the big accident and making a late charge for third. Pembroke, Dragon, Therrien, Smith, Gravel, Darrell Morin, and Chris Roberts rounded out the top-10.
Third-generation racer Bryan P. Wall of East Kingston, NH became a first-time winner in the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger 40-lap feature. The 17-year-old rookie was running second to Hardwick’s Bunker Hodgdon when the race’s second caution came out on lap 23 for an incident involving Jason Pelkey and Brett Wood.
Hinesburg’s Cooper Bouchard, Barre’s Cameron Ouellette, and Waterbury Center’s Jason Woodard eventually broke through the logjam at the front. While Bouchard and Ouellette reeled in Wall as the laps wound down, the veterans ran out of time and the teenager carried the checkered flag.
Bouchard took second with Ouellette third. Point leader and defending champion Woodard came in fourth.
An even younger racer stood in Allen Lumber Street Stock Victory Lane as 13-year-old Kaiden Fisher grabbed his first Thunder Road win.
Fisher, the son of 2003 track champion Jamie Fisher, followed in the footsteps of his dad by storming up the outside lane for the victory.
Graniteville’s J.T. Blanchard held off Wolcott’s Jamie Davis and point leader Brandon Gray of East Thetford for second.
The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors doubled up with a pair of 25-lap features. In the make-up of their Vermont Governor’s Cup feature, Milton’s Trevor Jaques joined the first-time winner’s club.
Brookfield’s Nate Brien got to his back bumper on multiple occasions, but Jaques found a little extra each time to win the caution-free event.
Brien finished second with Tyler Whittemore third.
In a rough-and-tumble second feature, Boston, MA’s Luke Marcheski made the trek to central Vermont worth it by becoming the fourth first-time winner of the night.
Marcheski started on the pole after mechanical problems in the first feature and was dominant for the first 24 laps through a series of crashes and spills behind him.
Williston’s Justin Prescott ended up second with Northfield’s Josh Vilbrin third.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers are back in the spotlight next Thursday at 7 p.m. as part of Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night.
Round two of the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series means a 75-lap main event for Thunder Road’s oldest and most storied division.
There will also be a full card of championship stock car racing for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Allen Lumber Street Stocks.