–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE, Vt. – Scott Payea winning races at Thunder Road Speedbowl isn’t an unheard of, crazy idea. He’s done it twice before in his racing career.
But the manner in which Payea won Sunday’s ACT Late Model Tour Community Bank 150 will likely go down as one of the craziest in Thunder Road history.
The Milton, Vt. driver battled back from an early race incident that nearly saw him miss a restart and left a lap down to claim his tenth career ACT Late Model Tour win.
“This certainly wasn’t the easiest (win of career),” Payea said. “We had a decent car and lost a tire. You figure we’ll come in and fix it and ride it out.
“But this RPM team, I can’t say enough about them. We had a flat tire, it sheared off the drag plate, the axle was falling out. And they had to fix the car – and fast – and they did.”
Payea started the 150-lap event in the 12th position and bided his time early during the blistering hot day. A lap 26 restart saw Payea reside in the 11th position, but a caution flag just two laps later began his whirlwind day.
A caution flag flew for Cody Blake’s stopped car on the backstretch, but a miscue saw the field get stacked up and collected many of the front running cars, including Payea. The No. 37 Harrison Redi-Mix/Georgia Mountain Maples Dodge Charger headed down pit road to the attention of the RPM Motorsports crew. The team worked until the last moment and got Payea back on the track just as the lead cars accelerated to take the green flag.
Payea would pit multiple times through ensuing caution flags, but managed to stay on the lead lap. From there, Payea would began to work his way back through traffic and benefitted from race attrition to sit inside the top-ten just after the lap 50 mark.
Additional race attrition and his own movements helped Payea break into the top-five by lap 65 and into the top three by lap 75.
The longest green flag run of the race came following a mandatory competition caution and Payea settled into the third spot as race leader Bobby Therrien and second place Dillon Moltz pull away. However, Moltz began to fade back and Payea got past him just as Therrien experienced a right front tire failure and made heavy contact with the turn four wall on lap 128
Payea would inherit the lead through Therrien’s and Moltz’s misfortunes, but was able to stay out in front of Rowland Robinson Jr. on the restart to claim the win.
“You go from almost going a lap down to sitting in victory lane,” Payea said. “It’s unexpected, but just totally awesome.
“You get (positions) when you can. It was tough conditions out there.”
For Payea, it his second straight win on the ACT Late Model Tour after he inherited the win two weeks ago at Devil’s Bowl Speedway after apparent winner Jonathan Bouvrette was disqualified.
“To notch another win this early is awesome,” Payea said. “Dillon (Moltz) is right there with us and it’s going to be a fun season.”
Robinson, of Steuben, Maine, battled back from the same incident Payea was involved in and subsequent overheating issues to finish second – and joined victory lane without a hood on his No. 28 Ford.
Waterford, Conn. driver Moltz came back from pitting on the lap 128 caution and was able to make his way from fifth to third on the final lap to finish third. Moltz sat behind Nick Sweet in fifth when Jason Corliss blew a right-front tire ahead of them. Moltz then was able to get past Sweet through the final turn to take the third spot.
The reigning ACT Late Model Tour champion Sweet finished fourth in his first start of the season and bounced back from his own issues. Tyler Cahoon of St. Johnsbury, Vt. completed the top-five finishers after he, too, was involved in an early race incident.
Corliss was credited with a sixth place finish after his right front tire failure on the final lap. Scott Dragon had a troublesome day that saw him pit multiple times, but came back to finish seventh. Rich Dubeau overcame his own issues to finish eighth. Oren Remick put forth another impressive Thunder Road performance with a ninth place finish while Jimmy Hebert battled through his own tire issues with a tenth place finish.
Therrien, after his hard contact with the wall, was credited with an 11th place finish.
The ACT Late Model Tour will continue their 2017 season on Saturday, June 17 at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Thunder Road will see its season continue on Thursday, June 15 with double Late Model features.
VtMotorMag.com will have more from the Community Bank 150 soon.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Community Bank 150
ACT Late Model Tour
Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
(# – denotes rookie)
1. (12) Scott Payea, Milton, Vt.
2. (10) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, Maine
3. (9) Dillon Moltz, Waterford, Conn.
4. (7) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
5. (22) Tyler Cahoon, St. Johnsbury, Vt.
6 (8) # Jason Corliss, Barre, Vt.
7. (11) Scott Dragon, Milton, Vt.
8. (5) Rich Dubeau, Lebanon, N.H.
9. (15) Oren Remick, Warner, N.H.
10. (4) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, Vt.
11. (1) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, Vt.
12. (6) Mike Ziter, Barre, Vt.
13. (20) Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier, Vt.
14. (13) Eric Badore, Milton, Vt.
15. (21) Kyle Welch, Newport, N.H.
16. (23) Mark Hudson, Norton, Mass.
17. (2) Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott, Vt.
18. (19) Brooks Clark, Fayston, Vt.
19. (18) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
20. (3) Josh Masterson Bristol, Vt.
21. (16) Jonathan Bouvrette, Blainville, Que.
22. (24) Spencer Morse, Waterford, Maine
23. (17) Cody Blake, Barre, Vt.
24. (25) Miles Chipman, Nottingham, N.H.
25. (14) # Ray Christian III, Norwich, Conn.
Did Not Start: Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, Mass.
1 – Scott Payea celebrates his ACT Late Model Tour Community Bank 150 win on Sunday afternoon at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – Scott Payea is joined in victory lane by his wife, Katrina, and their two children on Sunday at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)