–by Ricky St. Clair (@Ricky_StClair)
(As seen in the Sunday, May 21 edition of the Press-Republican)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Airborne Park Speedway went dirt racing for the first time since 1989 Saturday, and Canadian sensation Chris Raabe opened a new era with a win in the track’s headline division.
Raabe, a 26-year-old driver from Napanee, Ontario, captured his 146th-career victory by taking the 30-lap feature for the 358-Modifieds.
Raabe outdueled former champion Todd Stone, and he led the final 22 circuits to earn a first-place finish.
“Yeah, (Stone) definitely scared me on that (lap-22 restart),” Raabe said. “Todd got a good run. But I’ve run with him for a few years now.
“I enjoy running side-by-side with him.”
Raabe, who announced his race-day commitment on his Facebook page, promoted his drive to 150 wins.
“It’s just a goal of ours this year,” Raabe said. “Little something fun to do. We’ll keep plugging away at it.”
Raabe, who has a Canadian Nationals Series race today at Cornwall Motor Speedway in Ontario, is undecided on his future plans with the Plattsburgh speedway.
“Well, (Saturday), we just came here as a one-off,” Raabe said. “But we’ll talk it over with the guys. We’ve got 125 laps (today) at Cornwall and Monday’s show as well.
“So lots of racing to go.”
Stone finished runner-up, while Gage Morin, Greg Atkins and Jessey Mueller completed the unofficial top five.
Moïse Pagé, of Saint-Louis de Gonzague, Quebec, took advantage of a lap-four restart to win the 25-lap feature for the Sportsman Modifieds.
Pagé slipped underneath John Scarborough in turns and two to lead lap five and win the first main event of the program.
“The car was perfect,” Pagé said. “It was working everywhere. Everything was good for me (Saturday).”
After a single-car incident on lap 12, Pagé had lane choice, a privilege of the race leader, and elected to start on the outside of Scarborough, who led the first four circuits.
Scarborough utilized the outside line to take the early-race lead.
“(Scarborough) was choosing the outside during the restart before, so I took his line and tried to be faster than him,” Pagé said.
Scarborough, Connor Cleveland, Bucko Branham and Lonnie Rivers rounded out the unofficial top-five finishers.
Racing resumes with a Garrands Motorsports Memorial Day special at 7 p.m. Saturday.
PHOTO: Chris Raabe celebrates his DIRTcar 358-Modified win at Airborne Park Speedway on Saturday night. (Photo Courtesy Airborne Park Speedway)