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Donahue Returns to Thunder Road Victory Lane

Posted By Tj Ingerson On June 19, 2014

Categories: Thunder Road

John Donahue celebrates his 14th career Thunder Road Late Model feature win on Thursday night after the Graniteville driver sat on the sidelines one year ago. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)PHOTO: John Donahue celebrates his 14th career Thunder Road Late Model feature win on Thursday night after the Graniteville driver sat on the sidelines one year ago. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

Morin, Hennequin score feature wins

--by T.J. Ingerson
VMM Editor

John Donahue has won all four of Thunder Road’s most prestigious races, but he may have claimed one of the biggest wins of his career on Thursday night.

The Graniteville driver returned to victory lane to claim his 14th career Thunder Road Late Model feature win one year removed after he sat sidelined from competition.

“This is, this is really big,” Donahue said. “I’ve been out of it for a year and the first couple of races we didn’t have very good luck and we tear them up and I’m getting depressed.

“This just changes my whole attitude. You don’t have to win them all, but at least when you have a good run, it’s momentum. I’m happy. The crew’s happy.”

Donahue chased leader Eric Badore for nearly 20 laps and worked to the rookie’s inside multiple times only to fall back to second. Badore used the track’s now-preferred outside groove exclusively to his advantage until a lap 37 caution flag.

“I could have bumped him or moved him, but I’m trying to race everyone with respect,” Donahue said. “Then, I get respect back. You have to earn this. Just because I’ve raced before, I’ve never raced with half of these guys.

“But I’ve watched them. Badore ran his line and he never missed a beat. He just stayed out there because he knew. I ran him clean and he ran me clean. I couldn’t have cleared him (without a yellow). Not fair. Even a top three would boost my confidence.

“But we had a really good car tonight.”

Donahue spent the offseason working on the original car that him and car owner Kendall Roberts raced together that has won many of their races.

“This is the first car that Kendall bought, and I’ve always liked this car,” Donahue said. “This is the one that I’ve done most of my winning in. This winter, I took every part off of (the car) by myself. I did everything, which makes me feels good because it’s still fast. I’m happy.”

Badore, of Milton, posted a career best second place finish in just his fourth Late Model race at Thunder Road.

“This was a top groove track tonight and it was like that in practice, the heat race, and the feature,” Badore said. “I came home second, but it’s still like a win to me. Obviously I would have loved to win that one, but we’ll get one this year, hopefully. I’m happy.”

Fellow rookie driver Josh Demers of Montpelier finished third while three-time champion Phil Scott of Berlin finished fourth. Freshman Late Model driver Jason Allen of Barre finished fifth.

Cody Blake, Eric Chase, Nick Sweet, Dave Pembroke, and Trampas Demers completed the top-ten.

Burlington’s Darrell Morin claimed his third career Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman feature win in their 35-lap event.

Morin battled early for the race lead with Mike Martin from the pole position but took it for keeps on the fourth lap of the event. Morin then held on during two late race cautions to capture the win.

Chris Pelkey of Barre moved past Martin on the first of the two late race restarts and settled for second when Morin moved past him on the final restart. Martin, of Craftsbury Common, finished third. Brendan Moodie of Wolcott and Dylan Payea of Milton finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Jason Woodard, rookie Jeremy Stygles, Mike Billado, Jeff Bousquet, and George May completed the top-ten finishers.

William “Weiner” Hennequin of Morrisville captured his eighth career Allen Lumber Street Stock feature win. Hennequin survived a wild final four laps to secure the victory.

Kyle Streeter of Waitsfield finished second while Jamon Perry of Hardwick completed the podium. Donny Yates, Jamie Davis, Kevin Dodge, Gary Mullen, David Whitcomb, Bunker Hodgdon, and Al Maynard finished in the top-ten, respectively.

Chris LaForest of Barre won the two-segment Rough Rider feature.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS -- Casella Waste Management Night
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Thursday, June 19, 2014

(# -- denotes rookie)

ACT Late Models (50 laps)
1. John Donahue, Graniteville
2. # Eric Badore, Milton
3. # Josh Demers, Montpelier
4. Phil Scott, Berlin
5. # Jason Allen, Barre
6. Cody Blake, Barre
7. Eric Chase, Milton
8. Nick Sweet, Barre
9. Dave Pembroke, Middlesex
10. Trampas Demers, South Burlington

Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman (35 laps)
1. Darrell Morin, Burlington
2. Chris Pelkey, South Barre
3. Mike Martin, Craftsbury Common
4. Brendan Moodie, Wolcott
5. Dylan Payea, Milton
6. Jason Woodard, Waterbury Center
7. Chris Roberts, Washington
8. Mike Billado, Essex
9. Jeff Bousquet, Worcester
10. George May, Barre

Allen Lumber Street Stocks (25 laps)
1. William Hennequin, Morrisville
2. Kyle Streeter, Waitsfield
3. Jamon Perry, Hardwick
4. Donny Yates, North Montpelier
5. Jamie Davis, Wolcott
6. Kevin Dodge, Barre
7. Gary Mullen, Tunbridge
8. David Whitcomb, Morrisville
9. Bunker Hodgdon, Hardwick
10. Al Maynard, Fairfax