Hometown driver Cody Blake reserved a spot alongside his legendary father on one of Thunder Road’s granite monuments on Sunday, May 27 with a thrilling win in the 56th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100. Blake took the lead from 2016 “King of the Road” Scott Dragon of Milton on a lap-86 restart before holding off Dragon and Shelburne’s Trampas Demers in the closing laps for his fourth career Maplewood/Irving Late Model triumph.
Dragon had taken the lead from Demers on lap 46 and looked like a shoe-in for the win after sailing away in the race’s middle stages. But after starting 12th on the grid, Blake patiently worked his way through the field. He got around Demers for second on lap 59 and had caught Dragon in lapped traffic when Matt White and Lance Allen tangled to bring out the caution with 14 laps remaining.
Blake grabbed the lead on the restart, but had to hold on through one more caution after Marcel J. Gravel’s spin on lap 93. Despite heavy pressure from Dragon and Demers, Blake led them across the line in that order for the victory. His win came 20 years after dad Greg “Burger” Blake notched his own Memorial Day Classic win.
Fellow Barre racer Mike “Beetle” Bailey notched an impressive 4th-place finish while D.J. Shaw caught Stephen Donahue at the line for fifth. Josh Masterson, Evan Hallstrom, rookie Brendan Moodie, and Jim “Boomer” Morris completed the top-10.
The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models saw a face familiar to Thunder Road fans standing in Victory Lane. Just one day after the 33rd anniversary of Danny Sullivan’s famous “Spin and Win” in the Indianapolis 500, Hudson, NH’s Joey Polewarczyk Jr. pulled one of his own to win the 150-lap PASS event on the high banks.
Polewarczyk brought out the first caution of the day when he went sliding off the backstretch 40 laps into the event. But he had worked his way up to second, trailing only defending “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, when Gabe Brown brought out the yellow for a spin entering turn 1.
On the restart, Polewarczyk timed his jump perfectly and shot to the lead. Therrien then went spinning around with 18 laps remaining while battling with Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe for second, setting up a sprint to the checkers. Polewarczyk found defending PASS champion D.J. Shaw and Main standout Reid Lanpher hot on his heels in the closing laps. But Lanpher muscled underneath Shaw with three laps to go, and their battle allowed Polewarcyk to get away for the win.
Lanpher finished second while Therrien followed him through in a miracle recovery to take third. Shaw, Rowe, Garrett Hall, Derek Ramstrom, Derek Griffith, Glen Luce, and Brown rounded out the top-10.
In the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Morrisville’s Dwayne Lanphear was not to be denied in his quest for a fourth straight win. Starting 18th after a hard crash in his qualifying heat, Lanphear almost effortlessly sliced his way through the field. He eventually got around Milton’s Derrick Calkins on the outside with 10 laps remaining in the 40-lap event and cruised to the victory. Lanphear’s streak, which dates back to the end of the 2017 season, matches Clem Despault’s record run of four straight wins back in 1983.
Calkins held off a hard charge from Hinesburg’s Trevor Lyman to take second. Jason Pelkey, Joel Hodgdon, Micheal MacAskill, rookie Kelsea Woodard, Mike Billado, Sam Caron, and Colin Cornell also earned top-10 finishes.
East Thetford’s Brandon Gray bounced back from mechanical problems on Opening Day to score his first career Allen Lumber Street Stock victory in their 25-lap feature. Gray grabbed the lead from Hardwick’s Will Hennequin off the outside pole at the drop of the green. He then held off several spirited challenges from Middlesex’s Logan Powers in the closing circuits for the win.
Hennequin finished third followed by Dean Switser Jr. and Jeffrey Martin. Stephen Martin, Tim Hunt, Tommy Smith, Justin Town, and Matthew Smith finished sixth through 10th.
Williamstown’s Kyle MacAskill wrapped up the day with his own first career win in the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors 20-lap event. MacAskill started on the pole, but felt the heat from a 6-car hornet’s nest over the final seven laps following the event’s third caution. The young driver kept them all at bay for the victory.
Berlin’s Eric “Pork Chop” Chase finished second followed by Johnson’s Michael “Captain America” Stearns in third. Frank Putney, Jayme Lee, Fred Fleury, James Dopp, Jesse Gerrow, Todd Raymo, and Ethan Howes followed them across the line.
Thunder Road begins its summer racing series with a special Capitol City Auto Mart Friday night event on June 8 at 7:00pm. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers will take the main stage with round one of the Myers Container Services Triple Crown Series. A full card of racing for the Maplewood/Irving Late Models and Allen Lumber Street Stocks is also scheduled. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).
56TH MEKKELSEN RV MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC
MAPLEWOOD IRVING LATE MODELS
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 12 ) Cody Blake ( 99VT ) , Barre, VT , 100 Laps
2. ( 5 ) Scott Dragon ( 16VT ) , Milton, VT , 100 Laps
3. ( 7 ) Trampas Demers ( 85VT ) , Shelburne, VT , 100 Laps
4. ( 4 ) Mike Bailey ( 00VT ) , S. Barre, VT , 100 Laps
5. ( 21 ) D.J. Shaw ( 04VT ) , Center Conway, NH , 100 Laps
6. ( 13 ) Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 100 Laps
7. ( 19 ) Josh Masterson ( 11NY ) , Bristol, VT , 100 Laps
8. ( 20 ) Evan Hallstrom ( 1VT ) , Northfield, VT , 100 Laps
9. ( 17 ) #Brendan Moodie ( 94VT ) , Wolcott, VT , 100 Laps
10. ( 6 ) Boomer Morris ( 13VT ) , Barre, VT , 100 Laps
11. ( 8 ) Kyle Pembroke ( 27VT ) , Montpelier, VT , 100 Laps
12. ( 9 ) Darrell Morin ( 17VT ) , Richmond, VT , 100 Laps
13. ( 2 ) Nick Sweet ( 40VT ) , Barre, VT , 100 Laps
14. ( 3 ) Matt White ( 42VT ) , Northfield, VT , 100 Laps
15. ( 14 ) Jason Corliss ( 66VT ) , Barre, VT , 100 Laps
16. ( 18 ) Marcel Gravel ( 86VT ) , Wolcott, VT , 100 Laps
17. ( 24 ) Dave Whitcomb ( 25VT ) , Essex Jct., VT , 99 Laps
18. ( 22 ) Christopher Pelkey ( 64VT ) , Barre, VT , 99 Laps
19. ( 16 ) Joey Laquerre ( 15VT ) , E. Montpelier, VT , 99 Laps
20. ( 23 ) Scott Coburn ( 72VT ) , Barre, VT , 99 Laps
21. ( 10 ) Tyler Cahoon ( 38VT ) , Danville, VT , 99 Laps
22. ( 15 ) Lance Allen ( 12VT ) , Barre, VT , 86 Laps
23. ( 11 ) Ricky Roberts ( 3VT ) , Washington, VT , 85 Laps
24. ( 1 ) Brooks Clark ( 68VT ) , Fayston, VT , 35 Laps
Lap Leaders: Brooks Clark 1-32, Eric Chase 33-35, Trampas Demers 36-45, Scott Dragon 46-86, Cody Blake 87-100. (4 lead changes among 5 drivers)
Time of Race: 43:51 Margin of Victory: seconds
Cautions: 5 (laps 18, 35, 36, 86, 93)
Heat Winners: Scott Dragon, Boomer Morris, Trampas Demers
Consi Winner: Stephen Donahue
-Thunder Road Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com