–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE — Two drivers who have built a fierce rivalry over the past four seasons will decide the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger championship on Friday night at Thunder Road.
Jason Woodard and Brendan Moodie will go door-to-door once again to who will earn their second division crown. The 2014 champion Woodard leads the 2015 champion Moodie by 24 points entering the championship finale on Friday.
The two drivers have been models of consistency this season as both have only finished outside the top-ten once each. Woodard’s came in the form of a 17th place finish in June when the rear hub of his No. 68 All Metals Chevrolet broke and sent a rear tire flying. Moodie’s lone mark came with an 11th place finish one month ago.
Woodard, of Waterbury Center, has propelled himself to the top of the championship standings on the back of four race wins — both of the back-to-back variety. Woodard swept the wins on June 22 when the Flying Tigers held their make-up Triple Crown 75 lapper as well as their regularly scheduled 35-lap event. He also went back-to-back in early August.
Moodie, of Wolcott, has been among the top-two in the division standings since he was victorious in the first race and opened a stretch five-straight top-five place finishes. The driver of the No. 94 K. Bellavance Landworks Chevrolet leads Woodard in top-five finishes and average finish.
Moodie has been the king of the Flying Tigers for the past 13 years and has finished in the top-ten in the standings since 2004 after he graduated to the division following his 2002 Street Stock crown. He became the division’s all-time winningest driver earlier this season with 18 wins that broke a tie with longtime Thunder Road figure Joey Laquerre.
Woodard moved to the Flying Tigers after he was the track’s Junkyard Warrior champion in 2011. He has earned six career Flying Tiger victories. He has earned four straight top-ten point finishes.
This will be the third time in four seasons that Woodard and Moodie will likely finish 1-2 in the championship standings and seen their battle go down to the final race. In 2014, Woodard’s edge over Moodie was 17 points while Moodie’s 2015 advantage over Woodard was 10 points.
The Flying Tigers use a unique point system for their heat races that differs from the two other weekly championship divisions. Under the system, a heat race win will earn a driver 14 points while a second place finish will earn a driver 13 points. A third place finish is worth 12 points, while a fourth place finish earns a driver nine points. Finishing fifth earns driver six point with sixth place earning three points. All finishers from seventh on back earn just two points.
The Flying Tigers use the same format as the Late Models and Street Stocks for feature points, where the winner earns 75 points. Second place earns 68 points, and the remaining positions drop two points per position from there.
Unofficially, Woodard needs to finish third or better to claim the championship no matter what Moodie does in his heat race and the feature.
The Flying Tigers will go 50 laps in their Community College of Vermont Championship Finale feature event on Friday, September 8. Post time is set for 7:00pm.
PHOTO: Jason Woodard (68) and Brendan Moodie (94) are set to decide the Thunder Road Flying Tiger championship on Friday night. (Alan Ward photo)