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Chaffee Outduels Donnelly, Grabs Canaan Cup

Posted By Tj Ingerson On October 14, 2012

Categories: Regional

Coverage provided by DevilKevin Chaffee celebrates his Canaan Cup 100 Modified win after he bested a 28-car field Saturday at Canaan Dirt Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)PHOTO: Kevin Chaffee celebrates his Canaan Cup 100 Modified win after he bested a 28-car field Saturday at Canaan Dirt Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

Pierson Scores Coupe Triumph; Giguere Challenge Winner

--by T.J. Ingerson

Kevin Chaffee bested a 28-car field on Saturday at Canaan Dirt Speedway to claim the $2,500 Canaan Cup in the 100 Sportsman Modified event.

“It’s 20 minutes after the race and my heart is still doing a 100,” Chaffee joked after his victory. “It’s great. This (field) is the best that Vermont and New Hampshire have to offer for dirt racing -- Chris Donnelly, Adam Pierson, Randy Howe, Dan Douville. This is a culmination of all three dirt tracks and to come out on top, it’s just a great feeling.”

The Fairlee, Vt., racer started in the ninth position in the 100-lap event and had moved into the second position when the caution flag flew for the halftime break. Chaffee would get a great restart next to early race leader Chris Donnelly and rocketed into the lead.

Chaffee, however, would get trapped in lap traffic and allowed Donnelly to retake the lead on lap 64. Two ensuing restarts on lap 75 and 77 would see Donnelly hold onto his lead.

“I was just trying to follow Chris (Donnelly), keep my composure and wait until we were in the open,” Chaffee said after he lost the lead in lap traffic. “It felt like I was faster than him, but it was hard to tell when we were in traffic because I didn’t know if (lap traffic) was slowing him down. But once we go out on our own, I was catching him going in (to the turn) and felt like I was pushing him on the corner.”

Another caution flag on lap 77 saw Chaffee back on the outside of Donnelly. Like his halfway restart, Chaffee would rocket into the lead.

Kevin Chaffee (#73) battles with Chris Donnelly (#32) during the 100-lap Modified event. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)“You can’t figure (Donnelly) out because he’s trying to do a different thing each time,” Chaffee said about his two restarts when he grabbed the lead from Donnelly. “You basically just have to jump the restart and wait until to see if they throw the yellow and tell you to do it over again. I did it a couple of times and I was able to get ahead of him.”

A caution flag with two laps remaining would give Donnelly one last chance, but Chaffee pulled away and claim the win.

“It’s just a lot of fun racing with (Chris),” the 2011 Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year said. “We’re good friends. We work together in his shop in the winter. We’re always giving each other a hard time. We share setup secrets. It’s just a lot of fun racing with him. It’s a little nerve racking racing with him for a win, but if I tell myself it’s just another car, I then have to do my job. And if you can do my job and if you have the car to do it, you’re going to come out on top.”

The Jason Fornwalt-owned No. 73 for Chaffee was near perfect for the 100-lap event. Chaffee admitted in victory lane that his team only added gas to their car for the second 50 laps and didn’t make an adjustment.

“This (car) just stuck and if we could get three or four laps, the longer we went the faster it got, the better it got, the more I could use the throttle,” Chaffee explained. “I was boarder-line pushing, and I know that feeling and that’s the best a dirt race car feels -- just smash the gas and go.”

Donnelly, of Piermont, N.H., crossed the line in the second position after he held off Adam Pierson on the final restart. Donnelly, who started 14th, drove the car normally piloted by Evan Kingsbury in the 100-lap event.

“This is my first run in this car and we were really good in the beginning,” Donnelly stated in victory lane. “We probably made a poor tire choice during the break, but I’m pretty happy. And I’m pretty happy for Kevin. It was a fun race, a little beatin’ and bangin’, but we made it interesting.”

Pierson, of Fairlee, Vt., raced his way from his 11th place starting position to finish third.

“This track got real slick,” Pierson said. “There was some real, good bite just off the bottom in turns three and four, and all three of us (Chaffee and Donnelly) were hitting that. I just couldn’t get through (turns) one and two like they could. Kevin drove an awesome race, and this is a good way to end the year.”

Gary Siemons of Orford, N.H., raced his way to the checkered flag in the fourth position. Dan Douville of Bridgewater, N.H., piloted a Randy Howe team car into the fifth position after he started 18th. Derek Graham, Travis Shinn, Bryan King, Jeff Elliott, and Todd Buckwold completed the unofficial top ten.

The 100-lap race took just under an hour and a half to complete and saw ten caution flags.

Adam Pierson (#44) works around Josh Harrington (#71) for the lead in the 40-lap Sportsman Coupe feature. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)Pierson pulled double duty and scored the win in the 40-lap Sportsman Coupe feature. The veteran driver took a patience approach from a last place starting position in the 15-car field, which worked to his benefit in the caution filled race.

The former multi-time Bear Ridge Speedway Sportsman Coupe champion was able to get to the top side of the track on a lap 26 restart and drove around another multi-time coupe champion, Josh Harrington, for the lead on lap 31.

Terry Williams of Wells River, Vt., picked up the second position after he battled at the front of the field for the entire race. Teddy Salomaa of Braford, Vt., scored the third position in exciting fashion. Salomaa and Harrington made contact out of turn four and Salomaa’s car crossed the line sideways. Jason Horniak of Bradford, Vt., finished fourth with Steve Ellsworth of Corinth, Vt., fifth.

Jason Giguere ran from the back in the 30-lap Super Street/Limited Late Model challenge and bested a 16-car field. The Lebanon, N.H., racer started in the tenth position but was involved in an early race incident and was forced to pit.

Giguere then ran from the back of the pack, while he dodged the race’s eight caution flags, and secured the lead from Matt Ellsworth on lap 19. Sam Comeau of Hebron, N.H., finished second with Ellsworth, of Corinth, Vt., completing the podium. Canaan Super Street champion Derek O’Hearn and Wade Prentice completed the top five.

A.J. Vick of Canaan, N.H., bested a 16-car Bomber field to complete the night of racing.

Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H.
Saturday, October 13, 2012

1. (9) Kevin Chaffee, Fairlee, Vt.
2. (14) Chris Donnelly, Piermont, N.H.
3. (11) Adam Pierson, Fairlee, Vt.
4. (5) Gary Siemons, Orford, N.H.
5. (18) Dan Douville, Bridgewater, N.H.
6. (1) Derek Graham, Woodsville, N.H.
7. (7) Travis Shinn, Rumney, N.H.
8. (13) Bryan King, Corinth, Vt.
9. (24) Jeff Elliott, Benton, N.H.
10. (22) Todd Buckwold, Orange, N.H.
11. (4) Randy Howe, Lebanon, N.H.
12. (6) Jason Sanville, Grafton, N.H.
13. (12) Jim Morgan, Woodstock, Vt.
14. (17) Chad Turk, East Windsor, Vt.
15. (3) Jordan Fornwalt, Bradford, Vt.
16. (20) Adam Gage, Plainfield, N.H.
17. (10) T.C. Forward, Lyme, N.H.
18. (8) Allan Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
19. (2) Will Hull, East Montpelier, Vt.
20. (15) Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, Vt.
21. (19) Ryan Avery, Campton, N.H.
22. (26) Nick Berry, Manchester, N.H.
23. (27) Richie Simmons, Bradford, Vt.
24. (16) Mark Williams, Milton, N.H.
25. (21) Toby Stark, Canaan, N.H.
26. (23) D.J. Robinson, Canaan, N.H.
27. (25) Josh Morgan, Woodstock, Vt.
28. (28) Dakota Rowell, West Fairlee, Vt.
Did Not Start: Tom Forward, Lyme, N.H.

Sportsman Coupes (40 laps)
1. Adam Pierson, Fairlee, Vt.
2. Terry Williams, Wells River, Vt.
3. Teddy Salomaa, Bradford, Vt.
4. Jason Horniak, Bradford, Vt.
5. Steve Ellsworth, Corinth, Vt.
6. Josh Constantine, East Corinth, Vt.
7. Martin Mastic, Bradford, Vt.
8. Jeff Robbins, Woodsville, N.H.
9. Rick Fletcher, East Corinth, Vt.
10. Josh Harrington, Topsham, Vt.

Super Street/Limited Late Model Challenge (30 laps)
1. Jason Giguere, Lebanon, N.H.
2. Sam Comeau, Hebron, N.H.
3. Matt Ellsworth, Corinth, Vt.
4. Derek O’Hearn, Campton, N.H.
5. Wade Prentice, Campton, N.H.

1. A.J. Vick, Canaan, N.H.

1. Kevin Chaffee celebrates his Canaan Cup 100 Modified win after he bested a 28-car field Saturday at Canaan Dirt Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2.Kevin Chaffee (#73) battles with Chris Donnelly (#32) during the 100-lap Modified event. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
3. Adam Pierson (#44) works around Josh Harrington (#71) for the lead in the 40-lap Sportsman Coupe feature. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)