July 28, 2013

Mueller tops Modifieds, Payea gets 1st Late Model win


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Eighteen year-old Jessey Mueller of Olmstedville withstood a late surge from Todd Stone to notch his second DIRTcar Modified win of the season on Choice Furniture/Mold-Rite Plastics Night at Airborne Speedway.

Mueller led every step of the way, but the race’s second caution with four laps left brought Stone and Pierre Berthiaume within striking distance. At the drop of the green, Mueller quickly opened up a two car-length margin and Stone was unable to draw alongside.

Stone (1X) passed Berthiaume (1H) exiting the fourth turn two laps before the yellow which was thrown when Richard Tisseur and Chris Cayea collided and spun out. Kris Vernold and Leon Gonyo finished 4-5.

Mueller had stepped out to a full straightaway advantage over George Foley at the halfway mark with Berthiaume running 3rd. Moments later, Foley was sidelined with mechanical trouble and Patrick Dupree moved into 4th before bending an axle and heading to the pits.

Positions 6-10 went to Andy Lindeman, Max Viens, Mike Wells, Andy Heywood and Mikhail Labreche.

“I saw the 1’s on the scoreboard and I wasn’t sure who was closest, Todd or Pierre, but I knew I couldn’t let up,” Mueller said. “It seems like every time we wreck it up, it comes back better than ever.”

Dylan Payea had to earn his 1st Airborne Limited Late Model win in the Auto Creek/Premier Paving No. 07. The Milton, Vt. driver was swarmed by Danny Sullivan’s Banker Orchards/McSweeney’s No. 3 for the final 12 laps. Sullivan was third on a restart at the halfway mark and shot underneath Bucko Branham to stay with Payea.

“I knew that restart was my one chance to get ahead of Bucko,” Payea said. “The car stuck, which was good.”

“I would have had to have spun him out to win,” Sullivan said. “Second place is OK for (Saturday).”

Point leader Robin Wood and Jamy Begor followed Branham to the line for 4th and 5th.

Mike Phinney of Willsboro landed the Valley View Firewood/Flat & Vertical Concrete in the Sportsman Modified winner’s circle. Nick Heywood of Plattsburgh was a nearby 2nd with Codie Aubin 3rd. Phinney passed Aubin for the lead on lap 12 of the 25-lap event. It was Phnney’s 2nd victory of the season. Jake Branham and Chris Sousie rounded out the top five.

Dale O’Neil of Mooers went by Rob Clark on lap six of the 15-lap Mini Modified feature and held off Kris Clark and Eric Reyell in the closing laps for his 5th win.

The Northeast Midget Association makes its 1st appearance at Airborne Speedway in 41 years next Saturday, August 3.