PLATTSBURGH, NY – Airborne Park Speedway played before a huge grandstand crowd to open its 62nd annual season of stock car racing on FedEx Ground Night on Saturday, May 2, and the hometown fans cheered their champion, Nick Heywood, to the biggest victory of his career.  The three-time defending champ in the J&S Steel Modified division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series presented by Yandow Sales & Service and John Deere led every circuit of the 100-lap race, but his win was never guaranteed.

Heywood started on the pole position for the 21-car main event by virtue of a random draw of the top 12 qualifiers.  He and Greg Atkins stretched their legs in the first half of the race as the balance of the top 10 dazzled the crowd with constant passing.  Bucko Branham, Jason Durgan, and Codie Aubin each put on a show coming from the back of the field as veterans Leon Gonyo, Mike Wells, and Vince Quenneville Jr. mixed it up with rookies Danny Sullivan and Timex Morgan in a clean but physical battle.  Bids for Gonyo and Wells ended in mechanical failures and a flat tire eventually put an end to Sullivan’s notable debut.

Atkins was consistent, but Branham was Heywood’s biggest threat.  Branham gave up his ninth starting spot and nearly missed the start of the FedEx Ground 100 after changing a water pump at the last minute, and was forced to start last and thread his way through traffic.  Branham was running in second place and was virtually dead even with Heywood with a handful of laps remaining, but was bitten his own pre-race prophesy that fuel mileage would be a factor as his tank ran dry.

A green-white-checker restart on lap 98 gave Clintonville, NY driver Atkins one final chance and made the leader sweat it out, but Heywood pulled into victory lane.  His win earned him the $150 Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel “Hot Shoe Challenge” bonus, a tool kit from Ingersoll Rand Power Tools, and the early lead in the seven-race Yandow Sales & Service/John Deere “Spring Championship Series” which moves to Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT on Saturday, May 9.

Atkins took the runner-up spot, while Morrisonville, NY’s Durgan – who made a pit stop during a caution period near the halfway point – came out on top of hot battle for third with Brandon, VT driver Quenneville.  Aubin overcame fuel pressure issues and a 14th-place starting position to take fifth.  Morgan was a solid sixth ahead of Jayson Criss and Chris Frennier.  Branham was penalized to ninth place as the final car on the lead lap after jumping the final restart.  Quebec’s Eric Lauziere finished rounded out the top 10.

Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, VT picked up where he left off last year in the Ground Round Late Models, winning that division’s 25-lap feature race.  A short field still produced good racing as Therrien, Jamie Fisher, Josh Masterson, and Todd Stone diced for the lead.  Therrien eventually cleared Masterson after a side-by-side fight to take the win.  Masterson, Stone, Fisher, and Kevin Boutin Jr. were the top five.

Richie Turner of Fairfax, VT buried the field to win the 25-lap opener for the Key R-D Trailer Sales Renegade division in his first start for Randy Howard’s Premier Paving team.  Defending champion Robert Gordon, also a Premier Paving-sponsored driver was forced to settle for second.  Shawn Duquette came from 11th starting position to take third, followed by Jim McKiernan and Jimmy Bushey.

Tyler Irwin of Peru, NY started his sophomore season with a popular career-first victory in the 15-lap Busch Beer Mini Modified feature.  Irwin saw his sizeable lead erased by a late caution flag, and then was forced to hold off the field at the finish.  Pete Blaney, Dale O’Neil, and Tim LaFountain grabbed positions 2-4, while Eddie Bresette was a career-best fifth.

Airborne Park Speedway returns to action on Saturday, May 16 as Bill McBride Chevrolet and Interstate Batteries bring the American-Canadian Tour’s famed “Spring Green” event home to Plattsburgh.  The event kicks off the ACT Late Model Québec Triple Crown Series and is expected to draw an invasion of racers and fans from La Belle Province.  The Québec-based ProCam Super Trucks will also be in action, along with Airborne’s regular Modified, Renegade, and Mini Modified classes.  Racing will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Airborne Park Speedway is located on Broderick Road in Plattsburgh, NY, one mile south of Exit 36 on the Interstate 87 Northway.  Visit www.airborneparkspeedway.com for more information, or call (518) 647-4444.  Airborne Park Speedway is on Facebook at Facebook.com/AirborneParkSpeedway and on Twitter at @AirborneSpeed.

 

-Airborne Park Speedway Press Release.  Photo Credit: Dave Brown photo

 

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – FedEx Ground Night

Airborne Park Speedway, Plattsburgh, NY

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series presented by Yandow Sales & Service and John Deere

Saturday, May 2, 2015

J&S Steel Modified Feature (100 laps)

Pos.-(Start)-Driver-Hometown-Laps Completed

(# – denotes rookie)

  1. (1) Nick Heywood, Plattsburgh, NY – 100
  2. (2) Greg Atkins, Clintonville, NY – 100
  3. (11) Jason Durgan, Morrisonville, NY – 100
  4. (7) Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, VT – 100
  5. (14) Codie Aubin, Plattsburgh, NY – 100
  6. (4) # Timex Morgan, Plattsburgh, NY – 100
  7. (12) Jayson Criss, Plattsburgh, NY – 100
  8. (18) Chris Frennier, West Chazy, NY – 100
  9. (9) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, NY – 100
  10. (13) Jamie LaFountain, Plattsburgh, NY – 97
  11. (20) Eric Lauziere, St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, QC – 97
  12. (17) # Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, NY – 96
  13. (15) Jason Furman, Ballston Spa, NY – 88
  14. (3) # Danny Sullivan, Morrisonville, NY – 79
  15. (5) Cody Sargen, Greenfield Center, NY – 71
  16. (6) Mike Wells, West Chazy, NY – 57
  17. (16) Speedy Bresette, Plattsburgh, NY – 53
  18. (8) Leon Gonyo, Chazy, NY – 52
  19. (10) Rico Hernandez, Plattsburgh, NY – 23
  20. (21) # David Bourgeois, Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, QC – 3
  21. (19) # Wesley Mooney, Morrisonville, NY – 3

Heat Winners: Mike Wells, Leon Gonyo, Nick Heywood

Semi-Feature Winner: Greg Atkins

Last Chance Qualifier Winner: Jamie LaFountain

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Hot Shoe Challenge Award: Nick Heywood

Ernie’s Discount Tools Rookie of the Race: Timex Morgan

Shiley Fabrication Hard Charger Award: Chris Frennier

Shiley Fabrication Hard Luck Award: Leon Gonyo

Ingersoll Rand Power Tools Award: Nick Heywood

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Best Appearing Car Award: Jamy Begor

 

Ground Round Late Model Feature (25 laps)

Pos.-Driver-Hometown

(# – denotes rookie)

  1. (2) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, VT
  2. (4) Josh Masterson, Bristol, VT
  3. (3) Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT
  4. (1) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT
  5. (6) Kevin Boutin, Jr., Swanton, VT
  6. (5) # Brad Bushey, Cambridge, VT
  7. (7) Mike Hall, Jr., Westville, NY

Heat Winner: Josh Masterson

Ernie’s Discount Tools Rookie of the Race: Brad Bushey

Ingersoll Rand Power Tools Award: Bobby Therrien

 

Key R-D Trailer Sales Renegade Feature (25 laps)

Pos.-(Start)-Driver-Hometown

(# – denotes rookie)

  1. (6) Richie Turner, Fairfax, VT
  2. (3) Robert Gordon, Milton, VT
  3. (11) Shawn Duquette, Morrisonville, NY
  4. (8) Jim McKiernan, Moriah Center, NY
  5. (5) Jimmy Bushey, Mooers Forks, NY
  6. (2) Dylan Rabtoy, Swanton, VT
  7. (1) Keith O’Neil, Mooers, NY
  8. (7) Brent Jarvis, Peru, NY
  9. (16) Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, NY
  10. (5) Jon Boutin, St. Albans, VT
  11. (13) Zach Rabtoy, Fairfax, VT
  12. (9) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, VT
  13. (21) Keith Pelkey, Clintonville, NY
  14. (14) # Matt Monaghan, Colchester, VT
  15. (19) Curt Giventer, Saranac, NY
  16. (15) # Michael Wright, Alburgh, VT
  17. (12) Ryan Boutin, Fairfax, VT
  18. (17) Andrew Bordeau, Dannemora, NY
  19. (10) Josh Terry, Essex, NY
  20. (18) # Tony Salerno, Mineville
  21. (14) Zack Daniels, Plattsburgh, NY

Heat Winners: Shawn Duquette, Jim McKiernan, Robert Gordon

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Hot Shoe Challenge Award: Richie Turner

Ernie’s Discount Tools Rookie of the Race: Matt Monaghan

Bond Auto Parts Hard Charger Award: Jason McClatchie

Ingersoll Rand Power Tools Award: Richie Turner

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Best Appearing Car Award: Jon Boutin

 

Busch Beer Mini Modified Feature (15 laps)

Pos.-(Start)-Driver-Hometown

(# – denotes rookie)

  1. (1) Tyler Irwin, Peru, NY
  2. (6) Pete Blaney, Jay, NY
  3. (4) Dale O’Neil, Mooers, NY
  4. (3) Tim LaFountain, Keeseville, NY
  5. (7) Eddie Bresette, Plattsburgh, NY
  6. (9) Kris Clark, Keeseville, NY
  7. (5) Mike Whalen, Jr., Peru, NY
  8. (8) C.J. LaVair, Saranac Lake, NY
  9. (13) Harold LaVair, Jr., Gabriels, NY
  10. (2) Robert Foley, Saranac, NY
  11. (11) Dave Demore, Isle LaMotte, VT
  12. (15) Mike Bresette, Plattsburgh, NY
  13. (10) # Rick Welch, Champlain, NY
  14. (12) Steven Hemingway, Sr., Plattsburgh, NY
  15. (14) # John See, Plattsburgh, NY
  16. (16) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, VT
  17. (17) Jay LaGrave, Altona, NY

Heat Winners: C.J. LaVair, Dale O’Neil

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Hot Shoe Challenge Award: Tyler Irwin

Ernie’s Discount Tools Rookie of the Race: Rick Welch

Bond Auto Parts Hard Charger Award: Pete Blaney

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Best Appearing Car Award: Jay LaGrave

Packed House Watches Heywood Triumph at Airborne