Rick Donor's racing experience in the Mini Modified division hasn't translated to the Renegade division the way he hoped it would.
Entering the track Saturday night, the 2010 Mini Modified track champion was 10th in the points standings and had no top-5 finishes to his name. Leaving the track, however, he had his first taste Renegade victory lane.
"(This win) is better than all of my other ones," Donor said. "This class is really hard. Everyone runs the same motors, same tires, same gear ratios, same everything. It's just who's got the luck of the draw and who's got the better handling car that night."
Though he had the luck of the draw, perhaps the easiest lap he drove the entire night was his victory lap.
After battling at the front of the field all night, Donor and Joe Warren were set up next to each other with four laps to go for what would be the final restart of the night. Donor was driving on the inside line while Warren had the outside — the exact opposite lines that both drivers wanted.
"The outside line was much better to be in," Warren said. "You get better momentum off the corner and you can rocket right off the top."
As the final lap played out, Warren held the edge and led by half of a car length entering turns 3 and 4. But as he came off of turn 4, the car fishtailed slightly, allowing Donor cross the finish line first by only a fender.
"On the last lap I actually thought I had second," Donor said. "Joe said something went in the transmission, and it just opened the door and I took it."
With the win Donor jumped two positions in the points standings to eighth place. Warren also moved up in the standings and now sits in third, just 42 points behind leader Kevin Boutin, who finished third.
"I'll take seconds," he said. "You don't have to win to win a championship ... I gained some points, and that's good for the last couple of races down the stretch."
Jamy Begor has had trouble finding victory lane this season.
But that changed Saturday night when the Mooers driver took home his first points feature trophy of the year.
Begor has been close to a win this season, but his cars haven't been quite as close as he has needed them to be. Now, with less than a handful of points races left, he may have found the car he was looking for.
"We've finally got it figured out these last few weeks," he said.
Begor began the night in the twelfth position because he was boxed in by slower cars during the his qualifying heat. He quickly cracked the top five by lap 2, however, and set himself up for a run at first place. Though it took him until lap 21, he eventually found a way around leader Shawn Duquette.
Bucko Branham followed Begor across the finish line, but dropped back one position in the points standings. Begor overtook Branham but still trails points leader Robin Wood by 38 points.
Patrick Dupree was in need of a good finish to catch back up to Modified division points leader Martin Roy after placing 24th in the Aug. 6 race.
Dupree finished second Saturday night, but Roy did him one better.
The Canadian took home his fourth first-place trophy of the season in what could have been a photo finish.
Roy had one of the fastest cars in the field and led by lap 16. But the small gap he opened within one lap was erased by a lap 17 caution.
Roy quickly jumped to good lead on the restart but it was again erased on lap 28 when Roger Labreche spun in turn 4. On the restart, Roy was not as quick as on the last restart and Dupree was able to stay with him.
Dupree used dirt track strategy to keep up, driving hard on the inside of the turns to slingshot himself around and on to the straightaways.
It almost worked.
"The caution cooled the tires off, and I figured with two laps I might as well go for it," he said.
As the two came off the final turn, Dupree looked like he may have a chance for first, but Roy's quickness led him to victory by three-quarters of a car length.
He now leads Dupree by 16 points with two points races left this season.
mini modified division
After last week's win, Eric Sayles was looking to boost his championship chances by taking the top spot again this week. And though his car looked to be one of the fastest during qualifying heats, Speedy Bresette's was even faster.
Bresette won the qualifying heat and eventually the feature race, earning him a cool $250 courtesy of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Assoication. (NYSCOPBA).
Without some clean driving early on, however, Bresette may not have made it to victory lane.
On the first lap, heavy traffic caused Chad Collins to hit one of the tires on the turn 3 infield and sent his car flying into the air. The traffic remained on lap 2 after the restart when a group of cars got together on the back stretch creating two packs for the next few laps. Bresette was able to keep his cool though, and eventually made his way to the front.
"I spend a lot of time on this car every week," he said, referring to his clean driving.
Josh LeClaire also won $250 from NYSCOPBA for finishing in the lucky eighth spot.
Though usually one of the shortest races on the card, the Bomber feature was set up to be a 25 lap race but turned into a marathon.
Three cautions on lap 2 sent multiple cars back to the garage area and left fans wondering if the evening's features would finish before morning with two division still yet to run.
But with only 11 cars left in the field on lap 25, Josh Durivage ended the time-consuming race. With the win, the points leader extended his lead over Curtis LaGrave Jr. to 31 points.
Tyler Bressette took home the $250 lucky spot prize from NYSCOPBA.