Johnson Appears to be Headed to the Playoffs - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : features : strap in October 13, 2015

5/29/2014 10:00:00 PM
Johnson Appears to be Headed to the Playoffs
Photo by Reed Garfield
Leaders Nick Sweet (88VT) and Jason Corliss (66VT) look for racing room with the white flag in the air at Thunder Road, May 24. Lance Allen (17VT) and Jamie Fisher (18VT) are the last two cars on the lead lap and just behind Corliss is Cody Blake (99VT). After some banging fenders, Corliss would go on to win the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic.
+ click to enlarge

Photo by Reed Garfield

Leaders Nick Sweet (88VT) and Jason Corliss (66VT) look for racing room with the white flag in the air at Thunder Road, May 24. Lance Allen (17VT) and Jamie Fisher (18VT) are the last two cars on the lead lap and just behind Corliss is Cody Blake (99VT). After some banging fenders, Corliss would go on to win the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic.

Photo by Leif Tillotson
How many inches is .008 seconds? Jason Corliss (66VT) beats Nick Sweet (88VT) by inches to win the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 at Thunder Road, May 24.
+ click to enlarge

Photo by Leif Tillotson

How many inches is .008 seconds? Jason Corliss (66VT) beats Nick Sweet (88VT) by inches to win the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 at Thunder Road, May 24.

Biggy can be reached at
R. Bigelow, 294 Hillside Dr., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

If the Cup playoffs started today, the 16 drivers in would be: Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick each with two wins; eight guys with a win would also be invited: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch. That leaves six spots open, going to the highest six point getters without a win. Those are Matt Kenseth (2nd), Brian Vickers (8th), Ryan Newman (10th), Greg Biffle (11th), Kyle Larson (13th) and Austin Dillon (15th).

That’s now four races in a row with no changes in the 16. Close in points this week are Paul Menard, six points behind Dillon and four points ahead of Kasey Kahne.

There are 14 races before the cutoff. The question remains, do they end up with more than 16 different winners?

Short Track Thoughts and Facts

Jason Corliss, winner of the Memorial Day Classic, May 25, is (by my unofficial tally) the 10th driver to win a main event in each of Thunder Road’s three divisions. Corliss, the 2008 Street Stock Champion, has three wins in both the Street Stocks and Tigers and now one win in a Late Model.

• Again, by my unofficial tally, Corliss becomes the 84th different driver with a Late Model win at The Road. I also now count 41 different drivers at The Road with a win in both the Tigers and the Late Models.

• Seeing flagman Mikey Wilder watching the line in the photo of the close finish of the Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road has me wondering just how many races has he flagged over the years at how many tracks?

His Dad is Francis “Bubby” Wilder, who helped with the railroad ties that today are still behind the front stretch wall. So I’m guessing Mikey has spent a big part of his life at the speedway.

• If I’m being shown the passing flag, is it a “rule” that I have to get out of the way or is it a tool to tell me the leader’s coming and if I chose too I’ll get out of his way? By getting out of his way, does that mean I get to the bottom of the track or do I simply have to give him a lane? Is there a difference if I’m a lap down or the last car on the lead lap?

At Thunder Road last Sunday, 31 cars started the main event and all but one of them were still on the track when the checkers flew. There were no cautions.

Afterwards I took an informal poll. I asked some ACT officials, some former drivers, some former drivers who are now officials and some veteran fans – “Is the passing flag a rule or can I chose not to get out of the way?”

The answers were, “what track,” “who was the race director,” also, “Who was leading and who was about to go a lap down.” I was amazed at how very few people agreed.

At Thunder Road, when you get the passing flag I thought you were supposed to stay low, hug the inside, and allow the leader to drive around. I have heard Tom Curley say a couple hundred times at a pit meeting, “If the leader catches you he’s faster than you. There’s no shame in that. Get the hell out of the way and let him by. Maybe next week it will be your day and you’d wish he’d give you some room.”

Bear Ridge Speedway

RESULTS, May 24: Sportsman Modifieds – 1. Chris Donnelly, 2. TC Forward, 3. Jason Gray, 4. Adam Pierson, 5. Jordan Fornwalt, 6. Mike Gendron, 7. Richie Simmons, 8. Kevin Chaffee, 9. Josh Sunn, 10. Tim Tucker, 11. Derek Graham, 12. Bryan King, 13. Tim Hodge, 14. Derek Barker, 15. Adam Gage, 16. Ed Patterson, 17. DJ Robinson, 18. Mike Dunn, 19. Josh Currier, 20. Bob Shepard, 21. Gary Siemons, 22. Danny Eastman, 23. Troy Comeau, 24. Ryan Christian, 25. Tyler Austin.

Sportsman Coupes – 1. Josh Harrington, 2. Louie Cadwell, 3. Jason Colbeth, 4. Melvin Pierson, 5. Logan Oliver, 6. Billy Simmons, 7. Michael Danforth, 8. Jason Horniac, 9. Teddy Salomaa, 10. Jeremy Beckley, 11. Martin Mastic, 12. Earl Maxham, 13. Jerry Catterall, 14. Mitchell Frost, 15. Matt Ellsworth, 16. Jeff Robbins, 17. Thomas Placey, 18. Brian Chaffee.

Limited Late Models – 1. Brandon Gray, 2. Jason Giguere, 3. Rob Williams, 4. James Fadden, 5. Derrick Stearns, 6. Mike Greene III, 7. Cary Moulton, 8. Kevin Harran.

Hornets – 1. Mike Ryan, 2. Sean Perron, 3. Rob Gioia, 4. Karl Sheldon, 5. Cody Stearns, 6. Don Reynolds, 7. Kelly Miller, 8. Taylor Morse, 9. Casey Durphey, 10. Deven Stearns, 11. Hunter Garduno, 12. Derrick Counter, 13. Charlie Lakin, 14. Jacob Roy, 15. Chris LaForest, 16. David Stearns, 17. Bobby Bell.

• May 31 – The card will include the Sportsman Modifieds, Sportsman Coupes, USAC Dirt Midgets, Limited Late Model, Fast Fours and the Hornets.

Thunder Road

RESULTS, Memorial Day Classic, May 25: Late Models (start) – 1. (7) Jason Corliss, 2. (1) Nick Sweet, 3. (6) Cody Blake, 4. (5) Dave Pembroke, 5. (2) Jimmy Hebert, 6. (4) Chip Grenier, 7. (11) Derrick O’Donnell, 8. (8) Phil Scott, 9. (12) Brooks Clark, 10. (10) Shawn Fleury, 11. (9) Eric Chase, 12. (20) Trampas Demers, 13. (19) Eric Badore, 14. (21) Jamie Fisher, 15. (3) Lance Allen, 16. (24) Tyler Cahoon, 17. (15) Jason Allen, 18. (14) Emily Packard, 19. (29) John Donahue, 20. (18) Joey Becker, 21. (17) David Whitcomb, 22. (13) Brett Gervais, 23. (25) Joey M. Laquerre, 24. (22) #Brandon Atkins, 25. (23) Boomer Morris, 26. (26) #Josh Demers, 27. (28) Kyle Pembroke, 28. (27) Jerry Lesage, 29. (31) Scott Coburn, 30. (30) Ricky Roberts, 31. (16) Joey Laquerre (#=Rookie).

• Lap Leaders: Sweet, 1-99; Corliss, 100. Time of Race: 23:50. Margin of Victory: .008 seconds. Cautions: none.

Tiger Sportsmen – 1. Brendan Moodie, 2. Jason Woodard, 3. Mike Martin, 4. Joe Steffen, 5. George May, 6. Tucker Williams, 7. Scott Coburn, 8. Doug Crowningshield, 9. Mike Billado, 10. Jeff Bousquet, 11. Mark Barnier, 12. Darrell Morin, 13. Cameron Ouellette, 14. Christopher Pelkey, 15. Joel Hodgdon, 16. Dylan Payea, 17. Nick Gilcris, 18. Shawn Powell, 19. Jeremy Stygles, 20. Eric Johnson, 21. Caleb Nelson, 22. Shawn Franklin, 23. Lucas Wheeler.

Street Stocks – 1. Marcel J. Gravel, 2. Dave Whitcomb, 3. Alan Maynard, 4. Jaden Perry, 5. Gary Mullen, 6. Kevin Dodge, 7. Garry Bashaw, 8. Bunker Hodgdon, 9. Tommy Smith, 10. Tyler Austin, 11. Donny Yates, 12. Jennifer Getty, 13. Tommy Elwood, 14. Thomas Merchant, 15. Keith Fortier, 16. Jeremy Colson, 17. Paul Grant, 18. Steve Bennett, 19. Jamon Perry, 20. Will Hennequin, 21. Kyle Streeter, 22. Scott Maynard, 23. Mike Gay, 24. Jamie Davis.

Modified Challenge Series – 1. Jessey Mueller, 2. Jason Durgan, 3. Vince Quenneville Jr., 4. Jamie Lafountain, 5. Todd Stone, 6. Ron Proctor, 7. Leon Gonyo, 8. Hunter Bates, 9. Dave Snow.

• Up next is June 5, when The Road begins their Thursday night races. If you’re new to area or Thunder Road you need to know they race Thursday nights all summer long. Post time the 5th is 6 p.m.


The race at White Mountain Motorsports Park, May 24, was postponed due to the weather forecast. The race will be run May 31. Post time is 5 p.m.

POINTS after four of 15: 1. DJ Shaw 883, 2. Johnny Clark 870, 3. Mike Rowe 867, 4. Travis Benjamin 833, 5. Joey Doiron 830, 6. Cassius Clark 788, 7. Curtis Gerry 775, 8. Glen Luce 769, 9. Ben Rowe 765, 10. Richie Dearborn 619.

ACT Late Model Tour

The Tour was not scheduledto race last weekend.Fact is, they have this weekend off also before going Riverside Speedway in Groveton, NH, June 7.

POINTS with three of nine events complete: 1. Joey Polewarczyk Jr. 269, 2. Jimmy Hebert 261, 3. Ray Parent 255, 4. Emily Packard 231, 5. Bobby Therrien 226, 6. Stephane Descoste 222, 7. Roland Robinson Jr.201, 8. Wayne Helliwell Jr. 195, 9. Brian Hoar 191, 10. Luke Hinkley and Ben Ashline 190.

Riverside Speedway

The NAPA Spectacular car show took place May 24. Winners of the car show were Luke Shannon (Late Model), Bill Stebbins Jr. (Limited Late Model), Trever Roy (Street Stock), James Record (Pure Stock) and Dylan Laleme (Daredevil).

• On May 25 The Flood Bowl 250 was preceded by some match races. Jon Savage won the match races and also finished second in the Flood Bowl. Josh Barney took home the checkers for the Flood Bowl, after some hard battles while Chris Ouellette who came in third.

• The 50th season sponsored by A&P Landscaping of Whitefield kicks off May 31 with all divisions on the card. Racing starts at 6 p.m.

White Mountain

Canceled May 24. PASS will be in town May 31 for the Littleton Chevrolet 150. They’ll be joined by all six WMMP divisions. Post time is 5 p.m.

Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway

RESULTS, May 26: Pro Late Models – 1. Trevor Sanborn, 2. TJ Brackett, 3. Tim Brackett, 4. Jeremy Davis, 5. Brad Babb, 6. Kyle Treadwell, 7. Vanna Brackett, 8. Dale Shaw, 9. Kyle Desouza, 10. Shane Green, 11. Don Wentworth, 12. Shawn Martin, 13. Tom Ricker, 14. Billy Childs Jr., 15. Scott Moore, 16. Scott Farrington, 17. Scott Robbins, 18. Mark Lundblad Jr., 19. Adam Polvinen, 20. Quinney Welch, 21. Gunnar Rowe, 22. Chris Coolidge, 23. Dustin Bisson, 24. Gary Norris, 25. John Rideout, 26. Gary Chaisson, 27. Kurt Hewins, 28. Scott McDaniel, 29. Jeff Burgess, 30. Corey Morgan, 31. Justin Drake. DNS: Dustin Gibbons.

• May 30 – Included on the card will be the PASS Sportsman, PASS Mods, Pro Late Models, Street Stocks, Outlaw Sportsman and the debut of the new Bandit four-cylinder division. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

ACT International 300 Returns to Airborne Speedway

The ACT Late Models will a run 200-lap event while the Pro-Cam Trucks from Quebec and the Sportsman Modifieds from Airborne and Devil’s Bowl Speedway will each race a 50-lap feature. The Airborne Renegades will also be part of the show.

This will be a one-day show, July 20, with the winner of the 200 pocketing $25,000. The 200 will be run “Milk Bowl” style with three segments. The first segment will be 50 laps and both the second and third segments will be 75.

“We have taken what we learned a year ago (last year it was three 100-lap segments) and plan to change some formatting,” said Promoter Tom Curley. “Sometimes less is more, and in this case, fewer laps have proven to be better for the teams and fans, especially in segment racing where there is only one strategy – go as fast as you can from green to checkers in each segment.”

The Oxford 250

The 41st Oxford 250 will be run July 20. “It appears this year’s edition of the Oxford 250 has really caught the attention of race fans from as far away as North Carolina to Canada, and throughout the Northeastern part of the United States,” expressed OPS General Manager, Dick Therrien.

“Reserved general admission ticket sales are at an all-time high right now, and we are processing new ticket orders on a daily basis. 2013 winner Travis Benjamin states he is working extremely hard to get his equipment ready for a run at back-to-back wins and, of course, who can count out the 2013 PASS North champ Cassius Clark as he tries to get his luck turned around by winning this event. Over 40 teams have pre-registered.”

Until Next Week
Support your local race track while you still can. But remember:
“If you’re not having fun stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”

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