Martin earns Triple Crown championship with late race heroics
–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE — Jason Woodard is quickly becoming King of the Flying Tigers.
The Waterbury Center driver claimed his second straight Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger feature win in the 75-lap Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series event on Cody Chevrolet Cadillac night at Thunder Road.
The win for Woodard was his fourth of the year. The 2014 champion entered the season with just two previous career wins.
“It’s just a reflection of the hard work from the team,” Woodard said. “We won last week, but we went through the car, and we’ve been doing that over the last three or four years and the luck just hasn’t fallen our way.
“These extra distance laps really helps. That’s the big thing. But it’s really about the team. We work hard and that’s why we’re here.”
Woodard started in the 13th position and took the lead for the first time on lap 32 from fellow former division champion Joe Steffen. From there, Woodard would lead until a lap 45 caution flag put three-time race winner Trevor Lyman to his outside.
Lyman would take the advantage on the restart, but Woodard would fight back and regain the lead one lap later. Woodard, however, was forced to do it again, and it would be repeat performance as Lyman would take the lead on the restart, but Woodard fought back and regained the lead.
“(Race director) Cris (Michaud) told us to make sure we have good starts,” Woodard said. “He got me each time, but I shortened up turn one, which allowed him to get ahead of me. But I knew that I was better in (turns) three and four than (Lyman) and that was where I would make my ground.
“It was a great run. We rubbed some tires, some fenders, but it was nothing major. I love racing with Trevor week in and week out and all it is is some tire marks.”
Once out in front, Woodard was able to pull away, but admitted the view from the stands was likely a bit of a different one than the one from the driver’s seat.
“I don’t know if everyone was getting the same feel as I was, but as I went along, I was getting tighter,” Woodard said. “It looked like I was pulling away, but I was doing some different things in the driver’s seat to get it to go.
“But it was a great run. I couldn’t be happier.”
The win for Woodard will unofficially hand the former champion the point lead for the first time the season from Brendan Moodie after a dismal start to the 2017 season.
“It means a lot,” Woodard said. “We’ve never gave up. We broke a hub and we had a tire come apart. We had bad luck at the beginning.”
Lyman, of Hinesburg, settled for second after doing all he could do on the two restarts.
“I jumped both restarts, trying to get in front of him,” Lyman said. “I knew he was a little faster and I thought if I cleared him and got in front of him, he would have struggled to get around me.
“He was definitely quicker on the bottom. I could see him in my spot mirror that I was just about clear. But I’m not the type of racer who is going to chop somebody. I gave him plenty of room. I just wasn’t fast enough.”
Joel Hodgdon of Craftsbury drove from a 18th place starting spot to finish third. Rookie driver Tyler Austin ran inside the top-five for the majority of the event to finish fourth with fellow rookie Jaden Perry of Hardwick fifth.
Perry’s brother, Jamon, finished sixth with Mike Martin seventh. Brian Delphia, rookie Jason Pelkey, and Steffen completed the top-ten finishers.
For Martin, his seventh place finish was enough to earn the Triple Crown championship by a mere three points over Woodard.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Martin said. “We’re still racing against the same guys. We won one of them and we ran real good in the first one.
“We’ve had such an up and down year and it’s been so hard. It’s seems pretty nice. It’s awesome.”
Through the first 50 laps, Martin sat outside of the Triple Crown championship, but multiple pit stops allows his team to make adjustments and Martin was able to get back to the championship lead. But he wasn’t quite sure if he had it when the checkered flag flew.
“I really didn’t (know),” Martin said. “I knew if (Woodard) he won, I had to finish eighth or better. But I had no idea because it was so spread out. I surely had a handful of a car that I wasn’t counting positions. I was just driving my tail off.
“It was a workout. We were struggling and when we were toward the back, I knew we were in trouble. I figured we should come in and make an adjustment and try to pass a few cars and that’s what we did.
“It was still a handful, but we made it work.”
Martin completed his Triple Crown Championship pass with 12 laps remaining.
The Flying Tigers will continue their 2017 Thunder Road regular season championship on Thursday, August 17 with US Army Recruiting Night. Post time for that event is at 7:00pm.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Cody Chevrolet Cadillac 75
Myers Container Service Flying Tiger Triple Crown Series
Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
(# — denotes rookie)
1. (13) Jason Woodard, Waterbury Center
2. (15) Trevor Lyman, Hinesburg
3. (18) Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury
4. (4) # Tyler Austin East Calais
5. (11) # Jaden Perry, Hardwick
6 (12) # Jamon Perry, Hardwick
7. (8) Mike Martin, Craftsbury Common
8. (14) Brian Delphia, Duxbury
9. (3) # Jason Pelkey, Barre
10. (7) Joe Steffen, Grand Isle
11. (16) Brendan Moodie, Wolcott
12. (6) Robert Gordon, Milton
13. (5) # Kyle Streeter, Waitsfield
14. (2) # Burt Spooner, East Montpelier
15. (10) Mike Billado, Essex
16. (19) Adam Maynard, Milton
17. (20) Dwayne Lanphear, Morrisville
18. (17) Kevin Dodge, Barre
19. (1) Sid Sweet Jr., Williamstown
20. (9) Matt Potter, Marshfield
1 – Jason Woodard celebrates his fourth Flying Tiger feature win of the season on Thursday night at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – Mike Martin and his crew and family celebrate the Myers Container Service Triple Crown championship on Thursday night at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)