BRADFORD, Vt. — Young Rookie driver Jeff Champagne had a vintage night at Bear Ridge Speedway Saturday, earning his first midget win with a decisive victory against a stout, fast field of USAC Dirt Midget Association competitors.
Starting fourth, directly behind 1971 Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year Denny Zimmerman, the 15-year-old high school student snatched the lead from Dave Hotchkiss on lap five and withstood the event’s only restart on lap 10 for a spin by Dean Christensen.
“I thought Denny would have a good start so I went with him,” the jubilant winner said. “After that I tried to stay patient and pick them off one at a time. I saw Dave drift up a little and that was my shot, so I took it. After the restart, I remembered my Dad’s advice about not being overly aggressive and flooring it right out of the turns. I learned a lot tonight and was able to figure out how to use the throttle instead of the brake to turn the car.”
New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer Ray Miller came from sixth to finish second, while Kevin Chaffee charged from 12th to finish third and extend his point lead. Defending USAC DMA Champion Joe Krawiec was fourth and multi-time DIRTcar Modified feature winner Josh Sunn was fifth in only his second midget start.