BARRE, Vt. — Brandon Lanphear kicked his Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl season into high gear with a victory in the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series opener for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers on Thursday.
Lanphear staved off a flurry of challenges from point leader Jaden Perry of Hardwick and rookie Kasey Beattie of St. Johnsbury for his first win of the year in the 75-lap main event on the Barre high banks.
While Lanphear started on the outside pole and grabbed the lead from Eric Messier right at the start, the triumph was anything but easy for the former Rookie of the Year. For much of the event, Lanphear led a four-car breakaway with Perry, Beattie, and Logan Powers in some order.
However, their battle at the front was frequently interrupted by a series of cautions as their fellow Tigers got feisty on a hot night at Thunder Road. Among others, top runners Jason Woodard, Jason Pelkey, Colin Cornell, and Cooper Bouchard were all felled by accidents or mechanical failures. Multiple top-10 point drivers from 2019 failed to even qualify for the main event as 35 drivers showed up for 28 available starting spots.
Following the sixth and final caution on lap 53 when Brian Delphia and Bryan Wall Jr. found the turn two wall, the fight for the win got serious. After hanging with Lanphear for several laps on the outside, Perry slipped back and was overtaken by Beattie. The rookie then made multiple attempts to dive inside Lanphear, but the leader was ready every time, forcing Beattie to back out of it.
With seven laps to go, Beattie then swung to the outside of Lanphear. But before Beattie could begin his latest challenge in earnest, Perry filled the newfound hole on the inside. The top-three ran under a blanket the rest of the race, pushing each other to the limit inches apart with Powers not far behind. Lanphear used everything he had left to hang on for the win with both Perry and Beattie all over him at the finish.
Perry nipped Beattie by a bumper for second. Powers took fourth with veteran Robert Gordon of Milton running a solid race to earn fifth. Michael Martin finished sixth after needing the B-Feature to get into the main event. Dwayne Lanphear, Mike Billado, Trevor Lyman, and Sam Caron rounded out the top-10.
For the second straight week, a former King of the Road, took advantage of the opportunity given to turn their season around, as Barre’s Jason Corliss grabbed the win in the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model feature. Corliss, who came into the night a distant 12th in the point standings, started on the outside pole alongside Eric Chase.
From there, the defending champion dusted the field, pulling out to leads as large as a third-track at times. Two caution flags, including one at lap 30 for Tyler Cahoon’s spin, allowed the field to close out. But Corliss was on cruise control as he rolled to the easy win.
Behind him, the action was hot and heavy for the second spot. Following the final restart, Matt White steadily worked his way up the outside, getting around Christopher Pelkey with three laps to go for a hard-fought runner-up finish. Pelkey took third with Brendan Moodie a season-best fourth. Trampas Demers, Bobby Therrien, Marcel J. Gravel, Scott Dragon, Kyle Pembroke, and rookie Matthew Smith completed the top-10.
Cooper French captured his second career Allen Lumber Street Stock win on a night where youth was served in the four-cylinder class. The 15-year-old was running second to rookie Luke Peters when the lone caution came out on lap seven of the 25-lap feature for Juan Marshall’s turn-two spin.
On the restart, French got the jump on the outside. Peters keep his foot in the door, but as the duo completed the next lap, they made slight contact at the start/finish line and Peters slowed just enough for French to complete the pass. French steadily pulled away down the stretch for the win.
Behind him, a quartet of fellow youngsters duked it out. Peters held on for second with Berlin’s Kyler Davis in third. Kyle MacAskill and Kaiden Fisher came in fourth and fifth, meaning the top-five finishers were all in their first or second year of Street Stock racing. Justin Blakely, J.T. Blanchard, Jeffrey Martin, point leader Brandon Gray, and James Dopp filled the back half of the top-10.
Justin Prescott earned his first career win in the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warrior feature. Prescott started seventh in the 20-lap feature and drove around the outside of Nate Brien on the eighth circuit. Frank Putney followed Prescott up the top for second and chased him the rest of the way, but Prescott held strong to pick up the win in his retro Brian Hoar look-alike machine.
Frank Putney finished second while his cousin Brian Putney made a late move to grab third. Sean McCarthy finished fourth for the fourth straight week. Trevor Jaques, Josh Vilbrin, Fred Fleury, Jamie York, Raymo, and Josh Erwin also grabbed top-10 finishes.