JACKSTANDS: Big Money and Big Decisions
Posted By Tj Ingerson On September 13, 2012
PHOTO: Nick Sweet has a big decision to make as he chases the Vermont State Late Model championship this weekend at Devil's Bowl. (Top: Alan Ward Photo, Bottom: Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com photo)
--by T.J. Ingerson
Nick Sweet has piloted two very different cars this season in his quest to become the Vermont State Late Model Champion. And both cars have produced very different results.
Sweet rode his family-owned St. J Auto Buick Lacrosse to the sweep of Vermont State Late Model Championship events at Thunder Road. The Barre native won the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic and the Vermont Lottery Comission Governor’s Cup en route to his 2012 King of the Road track championship crown.
But during the second leg of the four-race championship series, Sweet drove a different ACT Late Model -- a Leavitt Racing car out of the Mad Dog Motorsports racing stable. Sweet works and prepares the cars for Mad Dog Motorsports, which is owned by Thunder Road driver Eric Chase.
But the No. 88 Mad Dog Motorsports car did not have as good of luck for Sweet. The two-time Thunder Road champion’s best finish in the car was a third, which came in a 30-lap “tune-up” one week before the “I Am Vermont Strong” 100 at Devil’s Bowl.
Sweet has driven the car four other times during the 2012 season: the American-Canadian Tour races at Lee USA Speedway, Devil’s Bowl Speedway, and Oxford Plains Speedway, and the Vermont State Late Model Championship “I Am Vermont Strong” 100. The best finish in those four events is a 12th place finish.
The Vermont State Late Model Championship co-point leader has a tough decision to make: race the Mad Dog Motorsports car which has raced three times this season at Devil’s Bowl, with a third, 12th, and 19th place finish, or run his Thunder Road championship-winning car which hasn’t seen Devil’s Bowl this year.
His co-leader, Dave Pembroke, knows very well what he is bringing. Pembroke finished fifth at Devil’s Bowl in June during the “I Am Vermont Strong” 100. Third place runner Brent Dragon, who sits just 12 points back, knows what he is bringing. He finished third in the “I Am Vermont Strong” 100, and owns a 30-lap feature win there earlier in the season.
It’s a tough decision to make to race after a championship. And the two drivers hot-on-his-tail are no slouches.
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Canaan Dirt Speedway announced one of the biggest races in the history of the quarter-mile dirt oval on Thursday with the return of the “Canaan Cup” and the creation of OctoberFast 2012 for Saturday, October 13.
Headlined by a $2,000-to-win 100-lap Modified feature, OctoberFast 2012 will also feature a $1,000-to-win Sportsman Coupe feature, a $500-to-win Super Street/Limited Late Model feature, and a $150-to-win Bomber feature.
“I am so excited about offering up such a huge event on the dirt here at Canaan,” Canaan Speedways General Manager Dick Therrien said in a press release. “We have some of the top drivers here in the northeast, and this certainly will be a great event for those race teams and the fans alike. WE are paying out a giant purse for this show, and it should attract a large field of drivers in all divisions.”
The Modified feature will pay $100-to-start, and the Sportsman Coupe feature will pay $50-to-start.
In our opinion, this race will definitely attract some of the biggest names at both Canaan and Bear Ridge: Randy Howe, Ryan Avery, Joey Scarborough, Jake Scarborough, Trevor Rocke, Adam Pierson, Chris Donnelly, Kevin Chaffee, Jason Gray, Gary Siemons, Justin Comes, and Derek Graham.
And I’m sure there will be some invaders from the rest of the northeast.