BARRE, Vt. — Multi-time Thunder Road Champion Cris Michaud returned to the winner’s circle in the Aubuchon Hardware Late Model 100 for the third time in 2012 after a high-flying duel with 2012 King of the Road Nick Sweet.
Sweet closed out his remarkable championship campaign with a second place finish, and Dave Whitcomb rounded out the podium with third.
Joey Becker and Whitcomb set the tone of the race early, which started on lap 17 after a rain delay last Thursday. The pair battled side by side until lap 26 when Becker assumed the point on the inside lane.
Not 10 laps later, Whitcomb was back in the hunt, swinging to the outside lane and reclaiming the lead on lap 40. While the pair was battling, Michaud, Sweet, and three-time track Champion Phil Scott worked their way through the field to catch the leaders. Michaud found himself in a three-car battle for the lead with Becker and Whitcomb on lap 63, before Becker’s fell to a determined Sweet.
Michaud was then pinned in lap traffic by Whitcomb and Sweet on lap 83 and fell back to third, while Sweet swiftly moved to the lead. Michaud gave chase, stealing second back from Whitcomb while tracking Champion Sweet. Michaud caught him using the outside lane with just eight laps to go, and powered by to claim the victory.
“What a race. Got picked in lap traffic there towards the end, but we recovered and it feels so great to be running this well again,” said Michaud. “These guys have busted their butts all year, and it has really paid off in the last few races. Can’t wait for next season.”
Nick Sweet had already locked up the 2012 King of the Road title, but was crowned in front of the crowd after the race.
“This is as good as it gets, and I have my entire team to thank,” said Sweet. “It was great racing with all these guys this year, now we will focus on hanging on to this trophy next year.”
More than 40 of the American Canadian Tour stars are expected to return Barre’s Thunder Road for the 34th Annual Bond Auto Labor Day Classic on Sunday.