Press-Republican

Sports

May 3, 2013

Three Airborne champions gear up for season opener

PLATTSBURGH — Airborne Speedway begins its 60th anniversary stock car racing season Saturday with a five-division race card that is expected to draw over 100 race cars, including a large DIRTcar Modified field for the Econo Lodge Craig Ormsby Memorial 60-lap main event.

Saturday’s opener, presented by Della Auto Group and Furniture World, launches title defenses for three 2012 champions — Todd Stone of Middlebury, Vt. and Plattsburgh drivers Bucko Branham and Nick Heywood.

Stone’s impressive performance landed him his first title since dirt-tracking his way to the 2008 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Modified crown. His championship run came down to the final race with Canadian Pat McGrail only 10 points behind. He placed third to record his 10th top-five finish and clinch the title.

Stone drove the G Stone Motors No. 1 to four wins in 2012.

Crew chief Jeff Carter, Rob Lowell, Cory Whelan, Wade Provencher, Stone’s wife Stacey, his father Gardiner and son Justin all contributed to the championship season as did advisors Rick Paya and Lou Cicconi, an accomplished Midget, Sprint Car and ISMA Supermodified racer.

“We started out planning to run some asphalt and some dirt races,” Stone said. “After two second-place finishes to start the season, we decided to see if we could keep it going and turn the season into something special. Airborne is a good place to race. Mike (Perrotte) does a good job.”

“My oldest daughter Hillary is a wonderful special-needs kid and my biggest fan,” Stone added. “Years ago when I raced on the American Canadian Tour, she’d go to Thunder Road and make posters and get very excited. She loves the races, but one night when I flipped over at Mohawk, she was pretty concerned. I enjoy having her go and how she pleased she is when we have a good night. Hopefully this year, we can get off to another strong start.”

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