Leighton Takes Unlikely Bond Auto Labor Day Classic Win at Thunder Road ACT PR Report
Scott Payea Goes for a Wild Ride
It was a colorful day at Thunder Road. (Leif Tillotson Photo)
Cris Michaud of Northfield, VT scored his best ACT Late Model Tour finish of the season in second place in the Merchants Bank/Burrell Roofing #6 Ford Fusion. Michaud nipped Williams, of Hyde Park, VT, by a fender for the runner-up spot. Williams, winner of the most recent ACT Late Model Tour race at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park and the 2008 Thunder Road track championship, drove his Unicel/Ward’s Systems #7VT Chevrolet Monte Carlo to third pace over Turner, ME driver Ben Rowe and Laperle, of Montreal.
Brad Leighton blazed a new trail to victory lane at the 30th Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 stock car race for the American-Canadian Tour Late Model Championship cars on Sunday afternoon. The Center Harbor, NH driver’s 200-lap trip to the winner’s circle included two 90-mph, fully-airborne flights off the top of Thunder Road’s treacherous Turn 2 embankment, and four visits to pit road for flat right-front tires.
On top of that, Leighton drove his Irving Oil/Subway/Coca-Cola #55NH Ford Fusion out of a lap-172 three-way slide with front-runners Eric Williams and Patrick Laperle before scoring the win by two car-lengths.
“You talk about overcoming a lot of stuff, these guys on my crew changed everything on this car. Four flat tires, sway bars, bent rims, and that was all during the race!” said an exhausted Leighton. “It’s been five years since I’ve won a race, and I can’t think of a better place to get a win than right here in front of these Thunder Road fans. This place is awesome.”
Leighton, a former champion of the former ACT Pro Stock Tour, added to his resume with his first win on the current ACT Late Model Tour. Including bonuses, Leighton pocketed over $9,600 for his efforts. He won the 2000 Bond Auto Labor Day Classic
behind the wheel of a NASCAR Busch North Series (now Camping World East Series) car during his most recent championship season.
Thirteen caution periods slowed the event. Qualifying heat races were won by Dave Pembroke, Michaud, Brooks Clark, Phil Scott,
and Leighton. Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., rookie Nick Sweet, and Jay Laquerre won the consolation rounds, with Rowe winning the last-
chance “B” Feature.
The ACT Late Model Tour’s top 11 drivers will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 6 with the first-ever Coors Light 200 “Showdown at Chaudiere” all-star race at Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallee-Jct., QC. The top 11 ACT Late Model Tour drivers will face off against the top 11 Canadian Serie ACT Castrol drivers in a non-points, $5,000-to-win event.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – 30th Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200
American-Canadian Tour – Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl – Barre, VT
Sunday, August 31, 2008
(# - denotes rookie)
1.(9) Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, NH 2.(13) Cris Michaud, Northfield, VT 3.(15) Eric Williams, Hyde Park, VT 4.(25) Ben Rowe, Turner, ME 5.(24) Patrick Laperle, St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, QC 6.(7) Randy Potter, Groveton, NH 7.(22) Dennis Demers, Shelburne, VT 8.(20) Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, VT 9.(30) Pete Potvin, III, Graniteville, VT 10.(11) Trampas Demers, South Burlington, VT 11.(1) John Donahue, Graniteville, VT 12.(3) Dave Pembroke, Middlesex, VT 13.(21) Ryan Nolin, Georgia, VT 14.(10) Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT 15.(29) Glen Luce, Turner, ME 16.(16) # Matt White, Northfield, VT 17.(18) Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction, VT 18.(14) Brooks Clark, Fayston, VT 19.(27) # Tyler Cahoon, St. Johnsbury, VT 20.(2) # Nick Sweet, Barre, VT 21.(23) Doug Murphy, Tunbridge, VT 22.(4) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, NH 23.(26) Bobby Dragon, Milton, VT 24.(5) Scott Payea, Milton, VT 25.(6) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT 26.(17) Jamie Aube, Bow, NH 27.(8) Phil Scott, Montpelier, VT 28.(19) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT 29.(28) Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, VT 30.(12) Jay Laquerre, East Montpelier, VT
Randy Potter of Groveton, NH finished in sixth place, ahead of Dennis Demers of Shelburne, VT. Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier finished eighth, followed by Graniteville, VT’s Pete Potvin, III, and Trampas Demers, Dennis Demers’ son, of South
ACT Late Model Tour point leader Scott Payea of Milton, VT walked away from a violent lap-149 crash in Turn 4 that sent his Ouellette Plumbing & Heating/Leahy Press #89 Ford Fusion into the catch fence and back down into traffic. Payea, who led four
times for a total of 48 laps, and running in second place behind Williams at the time, was then collected by top-ten drivers Jamie Fisher and Jamie Aube. No one was injured.
Forty-eight drivers from New England and eastern Canada attempted to qualify for the 30-car starting grid. Six drivers traded the lead a total of ten times during the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200, which was completed in one hour and 46 minutes.
Scott Payea's wild ride. (Eric LaFleche/VLF Racing Photos)
Eventual winner Brad Leighton (#55) and Bobby Dragon (#71). (Ken Spring Photo)