Four drivers separated by just 12 points in battle for third
–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE – While eyes will be on Scott Dragon and Nick Sweet as the two settle the Thunder Road championship, a tight battle for third place has shaped up among four drivers.
Phil Scott, Jason Corliss, Trampas Demers, and Kyle Pembroke are separated by just 12 points entering the 200-lap Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic championship finale on Sunday afternoon.
Scott, the three-time track champion, leads the four drivers for the third spot in the final championship standings. The Middlesex driver has put forth his best season in recent memory with nine top-ten place finishes – five of those coming inside the top-five – in 14 starts.
For Scott, the all-time Thunder Road Late Model career wins leader, it could be his last Thunder Road point counting championship event and chance at a top spot. The current Vermont Lieutenant Governor is the Republican nominee in Vermont’s Gubernatorial election and has been the favorite since he announced his intention to run for Vermont’s top office one year ago.
Scott has posted two runner-up finishes this season and an additional podium finish during the double point counting mid-season championships.
Corliss enters in the fourth spot, just four points back of Scott. The Barre driver has posted podium finish in the two Thunder Road point counting 100-plus lap races this season. Corliss only have three top-five place finishes this season, but has recorded 12 top-ten place finishes in 14 starts.
Demers sits just three points back of Corliss in the fifth spot and has posted four top-five and nine top-ten place finishes this season. The South Burlington driver, however, has slipped in recent weeks with three straight finishes outside the top-ten, albeit one coming on a late race penalty while running inside the top-five.
Pembroke, the breakout driver of the group, used a mid-season championship win to catapult himself into the chase. He used another win this season, along with 11 top-ten place finishes, to sit in the sixth spot, just 12 points back of Scott. Pembroke posted a surprising third place finish one year ago in the 37th Labor Day Classic.
Of the four drivers, Corliss has posted the best average finish with a 7.86 place finish with Scott just shy of that with a 7.93 average place finish. Pembroke has posted an 8.83 average finish, just ahead of Demers’ ninth place average finish.
Cody Blake sits seventh in the standings with a comfortable 17-point advantage over Eric Badore. Eric Chase sits ninth weeks after a vicious crash destroyed his primary car and forced his Mad Dog Motorsports team to go to a backup car the past two races. Chase sits 23 points back of Badore.
The battle for the tenth spot is between two drivers – Matt White and Shawn Fleury. White, who sits 12 points back of Chase, sits just three points ahead of Fleury in the tenth spot. Tyler Cahoon sits close by, 23 points off of White in the 12th spot.
Thunder Road’s season championship finale will go green at 1:00pm on Sunday, September 4 with heat race qualifying, which lead up to the 38th Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200.
PHOTO: Phil Scott (14) leads Jason Corliss (66), Trampas Demers (85), and Kyle Pembroke (not pictured) in a tight battle for third in the Thunder Road Late Model championship. (VMM photo)