August 25, 2013

Stone, Heywood clinch Airborne titles in style


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Todd Stone of Middlebury, Vt. dominated the Ernie’s Tools DIRTcar Modified 30-lap main event Saturday at Airborne with a championship performance that earned him his 6th win of the season and his second straight track title.

Stone was on a tear from the start in the G Stone Motors 1x. He gained six positions in the first seven laps, passed Roger Labreche for the lead on a lap-10 restart and checked out until a late caution put runner-up Patrick Dupree back into contention.

“I could get into the corners with him, but he’d pull me off the turns,” Dupree said.

Leon Gonyo held 3rd for the second half of the race with Jessey Mueller 4th and George Foley 5th. Mueller passed Foley with seven laps to go.

“It’s been a long season, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” Stone said. “This is my third track championship. I started racing when I was 20 years old and I’m 45 now so I don’t take any of it for granted. I’m very proud of my team and my family.”

Positions 6-10 went to Kris Vernold, Craig Reyell, Max Viens, Labreche and Chris Cayea.

Nick Heywood of Plattsburgh, driving the Warren Tire/Budweiser No. 29, followed Stone’s example and captured his second Sportsman Modified title in a row by winning for the 3rd time in 2013.

The Sportsman Modified field was shuffled on the opening lap when Jake Branham lost a wheel and helicoptered off the backstretch taking Keith Pelkey and Codie Aubin with him. Heywood took evasive action and by lap 7 took the lead for keeps.

Lonnie Rivers was a strong second. Chris Sousie finished 3rd for his 6th top-5 finish. Mark Lamberton of Mooers Forks, in his 1st start of the season, started 18th and finished 4th, one spot ahead of Rick Doner.

Bucko Branham came out on top in the Limited Late Model feature after a spirited duel with Robin Wood. Branham spent 15 laps dicing with Danny Sullivan to take the lead and then had to survive a restart with two laps to go and Wood alongside. It was Branham’s 5th win — best in the division.

Wood maintained the top spot in the standings heading into next Sunday’s season finale. He expressed frustration about the racing room he felt he had in the closing laps. “I don’t know what the problem is,” he said. “I’ve been raced like that a lot. I’ll come back next week and give it another shot.”

Jamy Begor, Wood’s closest rival for the Limited Late Model title, finished a close 3rd. Danny Sullivan and Dave Rabtoy completed the top five.

Jason McClatchie reeled in Josh Terry on lap 17 of the 25-lap Renegade feature and went to his 5th win in the C&N Hobbies/High Voltage Design No. 70. Richie Turner closed late for the runner-up spot ahead of point leader Lance Rabtoy, Terry and Ryan Boutin.

Rob Clark of Keeseville held off Dale O’Neil to win the make-up of last week’s postponed Mini Modified feature. Kaine Favro of Saranac Lake was 3rd.

In the Mini Modified nightcap, O’Neil made it to the top for his 7th win with point leader Jayson Cris and Favro next in line.