The final round of the 2016 American-Canadian Tour season had fireworks during and after the race Saturday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT). Bobby Therrien and Dillon Moltz clashed for the win on the final lap of the 75-lap Sunoco World Series feature when Therrien delivered a bump and run that netted him the victory.
After battling past Scott Payea in the closing laps, Moltz led over Therrien as the two encountered slower traffic. That set up a final lap with Therrien delivering the bump and run in turn three to move Moltz up the track. After Therrien crossed the finish line ahead of Moltz for the win, Moltz hooked Therrien in the right rear turning him sideways, Therrien drove to victory lane undamaged.
“We were able to get ourselves in a good position there the last lap to have a shot at the win. I can’t thank the guys enough for giving me the opportunity to get in that position,” Therrien told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Obviously lapped cars played a role in it catching those guys down in turn three. I got my nose under the 5CT (Moltz), it was one of those deals when you were trying to shut the door a little bit. But, we’re coming to take the checkered flag at Thompson in the World Series, the lifting point is gone at that point. We were both gloves off racing for the checkers and I was able to come out on top.”
Moltz made his displeasure well known after the two crossed the finish line, as well as after the race when he spoke to Speed51.com.
“He was that desperate for a win, he felt like he needed to drive through me for the win,” Moltz said. “It sucks, we had a great race going, very patient. There was also a few times I got into Payea, just because I was getting in the corner so well in lap traffic, but I never took advantage of it. I let him gather it back up and race again, that’s what we’re here for. Payea came up to me afterwards and said ‘It was a heck of a race and you got robbed.’ Eddie MacDonald’s crew said we got robbed, Nick Sweet’s crew said we got robbed.
“It sucks. This is the second year in a row I’ve had a World Series get robbed from me. I don’t know. I raced everyone clean tonight, we had a great race. Therrien was fast, it just sucks. It’s hard to swallow that he had to give me that. I guess I’m different, a lot of people are different. I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I blatantly drove, it doesn’t take a driver with any sort of talent to try and move someone for the win.”
As for the contact after the checkers, Therrien was not pleased, but somewhat understanding.
“It’s a part of the sport, everyone that’s involved in it has a lot of heart in it, a lot of emotion, it happens spur of the moment. I’m glad the car didn’t get wrecked, obviously. Me being hooked back to the right is not much fun, but we were able to get it stopped before making any contact. Still a good night for sure.”
On the other side, Moltz felt he had gotten his point across with the post-race contact. He considered it payback for a similar incident that occurred between him and Therrien earlier this season.
“He didn’t hit the wall or anything like that, I just wanted to let him know I was unhappy. A lot of people don’t know, but he did that to me at Beech Ridge, so it was payback, I wanted him to know I wasn’t going to let him do that to me. We had an incident at Beech Ridge, just rubbing, stuff like that nothing serious. He decided after the race he felt he wanted to try to wreck me. I felt like I should do the same back to let him know I’m not going to let him walk all over me or feel like he can just wreck me after any race that he feels it’s necessary to. He never hit the wall, I just wanted to let him know I wasn’t happy, it’s that simple.”
In the end, the dustup did not diminish the win for Therrien who had not seen the “Big T” until Saturday morning.
“It makes the winters in Vermont a lot easier, to be able to end the season like this, to come off the win last week (Fall Brawl at Speedway 51) and our run at the Milk Bowl, then come here to Thompson, first time seeing the place this morning, means a lot. I love it, the whole facility, there’s no other track like it that I’ve been to so far. I’m excited to come back already.”
Behind them, Scott Payea finished third and Brad Babb finished fourth. Nick Sweet used a fifth-place run to clinch his first ACT championship. Stay with Speed51.com this following week for race highlights and further post-season coverage.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen