BARRE, Vt. – The spotlight was on NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Clint Bowyer at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl on Thursday, but when the night ended it was Barre’s Cody Blake who was hoisting the Vermont Lottery Commission Governor’s Cup in victory lane.
Twenty-one-year-old Blake, in his North Country Federal Credit Union No. 99, spent the final laps with a mirror full of Nick Sweet, who was weaving at his bumper looking for a chance to pounce. “I told him on the radio – stay on the bottom, he can’t get you,” father Greg Blake said. “There wasn’t any emotion from him until the last two laps.”
“He drove a phenomenal race,” Sweet said. “My car was really good and I was all over him. I hope we gave the fans a good show.”
“It’s a dream come true,” Blake said in victory lane where he was presented the trophy by Gov. Peter Shumlin. “It’s just amazing.”
Blake started fourth behind Jean-Paul Cyr, who grabbed the lead from the outside pole and led the first 69 laps through three restarts. The third caution flew for Bowyer, who went around after contact with Blair Bessett. Bowyer had risen to 11th, but pitted for adjustments under the second yellow on lap 54.
The race was red-flagged on lap 79 when Joey M. Laquerre slid down the front stretch on his roof and came to stop in turn one. The East Montpelier teenager was not injured and returned to action 45 laps later.