Brooks Clark Completes ACT Sweep At Thunder Road
Brooks Clark Completes ACT Sweep At Thunder Road
Brooks Clark won Sunday's Labor Day Classic 200 and completed a season sweep of ACT events at Thunder Road.
Barre, VT — Fayston, VT’s Brooks Clark continued his rise among the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) elite by pulling the season sweep at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road on Sunday, September 5. Clark took the lead from North Haverhill, NH’s Derek O’Donnell with 23 laps remaining in the 43rd Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic 200 and never gave it up to bank the $5,000 top prize that came with the victory.
The win came four months after Clark captured the Community Bank N.A. 150 on Thunder Road’s opening day. For sweeping the season series, Clark will take home more than $9,000 in combined purse money and contingency awards.
O’Donnell had led the event ever since a lap-three caution for Kyle Pembroke’s turn three slide for life. After he had gotten the lead from polesitter Matt White, O’Donnell and Jimmy Hebert led a breakaway from the field until Gabe Brown tagged Jason Corliss to bring out the caution with 69 laps complete. Two more quick yellows followed, which culminated with a turn-three melee involving Cody Blake, Tyler Cahoon, and Cooper Bouchard on lap 84.
Those yellows allowed Christopher Pelkey, Bobby Therrien, and Clark to enter the conversation. O’Donnell kept all of them in his rear view mirror until the next caution on lap 118 when ACT point leader D.J. Shaw with a flat right front tire. Therrien was one of a handful of cars to gamble on taking fresh right-side tires during the caution. However, the move backfired as Therrien got tangled up with Jimmy Renfrew Jr. and Derek Gluchacki on the backstretch seven laps later.
Following the seventh caution on lap 134 for another hard wreck that saw White climb the turn one wall, things got serious at the front. With laps winding down and the potential for rain, Herbert gave it all he had on the outside while Clark put the heat on down low. Once his bid for the lead failed, Hebert was initially able to get in line with the second spot — until Clark pinned him behind a lapped car a few circuits later.
Clark then set his sights on O’Donnell. He first looked to the outside with 35 to go, keeping a fender alongside for several laps before having to drop back. After gathering himself for another charge, Clark ducked beneath O’Donnell coming off turn four to complete the 177th circuit. O’Donnell tried to slam the door entering turn one, but Clark kept his foot in, and O’Donnell ended up sideways. Clark backed off enough for O’Donnell to regain control and then scooted through to the top spot.
Behind them, Pelkey had been able to get past Hebert for third. He then took a try inside O’Donnell — but broke loose with 16 laps to go and spun to bring out the final caution. Hebert stuck the nose inside O’Donnell on the restart for second, but by the time he had gotten clear for the spot, Clark was already gone. Corliss then snaked past O’Donnell and got into a side-by-side battle with Hebert for second, which sealed the deal for Clark.
Hebert fended off Corliss to take the runner-up spot, which continued his late-season rebirth on the ACT Tour. O’Donnell settled for fourth with Scott Dragon fifth. Darrell Morin, Pembroke, Pelkey, Shaw, and Marcel J. Gravel completed the top-10.
East Burke, VT’s Colin Cornell snapped a long winless streak with a victory in the 40-lap Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger feature. Cornell, who was carrying a paint scheme to honor American troops recently lost in Afghanistan, had sliced from the sixth starting position to third before the second caution on lap 12 for Jamon Perry’s flat tire. Polesitter Adam Maynard and Kelsea Woodard had the front row for the restart, but after they juked and jabbed for a couple laps, Cornell found a way inside both at once.
After Woodard nailed the turn-three wall to bring out the final caution at the halfway mark, Milton, VT’s Sam Caron moved to the second spot. Cornell and Caron chased each other away from the pack with Caron looking to the outside multiple times. There was no way around Cornell, though, as he marched to his third career Thunder Road victory.
East Kingston, NH’s Bryan Wall Jr. battled outside Maynard for the third spot nearly the entire second half of the event before nipping him at the finish line. Michael Martin, Derrick Calkins, Jaden Perry, Logan Powers, and Stephen Martin rounded out the top-10. Michael will unofficially retake the point lead from son Stephen with two events to go.
The RK Miles Street Stocks ran a pair of 25-lap features to make up for a rainout earlier this season. In the FloRacing double-purse feature to start the night, Wolcott, VT’s Jamie Davis pulled a “checkers and wreckers” to snag his 13th career Street Stock victory.
South Burlington, VT’s Michael “Biffer” Gay and Davis inherited the front row with two laps to go when Tommy “Thunder” Smith and Kasey Collins got together coming to a restart. Smith had to pit with a flat right front tire, Trevor Jaques was forced out of the top-five due to a flat left front tire, and Collins was sent to the rear for his involvement in the incident.
Davis and Gay were practically dead even when they took the white flag. As they entered turn four for the final time, Davis put a fender out front just as Gay got a little tight and bounced off Davis’s door. Davis fishtailed and caught the frontstretch wall with the right rear wheel. But he kept his foot to the floorboard and beat Gay to the line by a radiator cap just before his right rear tire flew off the car altogether.
Teammates Jeffrey Martin, Chris Davis, and Kylar Davis worked their way through the field to take positions 3-5. Josh Lovely, Kaiden Fisher, Luke Peters, Will Hennequin, and Cam Powers filled the back half of the top-10.
In the regularly-scheduled Labor Day feature, Gay did himself one better by picking up the win. Gay was running a distant second to Scott Weston at the halfway point when a multi-car fiasco erupted on the backstretch, which included Taylor Hoar and Dean Switser catching the concrete. As Weston slowed down for the red flag, the right rear tire deserted his car just like Davis had experienced — except Weston’s misfortune came 12 laps too early.
That put Gay in the lead for the restart with Justin Blakely alongside. Gay took advantage of his good fortune and motored away over the final circuit to a popular win. It was Gay’s second career Street Stock victory, with his only previous triumph also coming at the Labor Day Classic back in 2017.
Jeffrey Martin continued his strong day by catching Jaques down the homestretch for second. Kyler Davis, Luke Peters, Blakely, Chris Davis, Kaiden Fisher, and Tom Campbell along earned top-10 finishes.
Worcester, VT’s Rodney Campbell capped the program with his first career Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warrior victory. Campbell started on the pole for the 20-lap feature and led an early three-car breakaway over Frank Putney and Mark Beaulieu. After a pair of lap-nine incidents, the chase resumed, with Matt Ballard, Jamie York and others joining the mix.
The dogfight came to a head when Beaulieu smacked the turn four wall coming to the white flag. The leaders took the white flag before the caution came out, meaning they had to race back to the line under ACT procedures. Campbell beat everyone back to the line for a long-sought victory.
York and Taylor Sayers, a pair of hometown racers, snuck through the carnage to finish second and third. They were followed to the checkered flag by Josh Vilbrin, Ballard, Putney, Bert Duffy, Andrea St. Amour, Bill O’Connor, and Neal Foster.
Barre, VT’s Thunder Road welcomes the ACT Late Model Tour this Sunday, September 5 at 1:00pm for the 43rd Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic 200. ACT’s touring stars take on the top weekly Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model racers for $5,000 to win. The card includes double features for the RK Miles Street Stocks plus action for the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors.
The ACT Late Model Tour next stops at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on Sunday, September 26 at 1:00pm. The $5,000-to-win Fall Foliage 200 caps two days of racing that also includes the $5,000-to-win R&R Raceparts Street Stock Open, NELCAR Legends and Bandoleros, White Mountain’s weekly divisions, and the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. Adult admission is just $35 for a two-day ticket with single-day and kid’s pricing options. Visit www.whitemountainmotorsports.com for more information.
Thunder Road resumes weekly racing this Friday, September 10 with WDEV Radio/Calkins Portable Toilets Night at 7:00pm. The event includes a full card of action for all four Thunder Road divisions plus the annual “Port-a-Potty Grand Prix”. The pits open at 3:30pm and the grandstands open at 5:15pm.
Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12, $30 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) and free for kids ages 5 and under. Advance tickets are available at www.happsnow.com/event/thunder-road-speedbowl. The event will also be televised live on FloRacing for those with a paid subscription.
For more information, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.acttour.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.
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