PHOTO: Jimmy Bushey (outside) edged Robin Wood (#61) to collect a $250 bounty in the Sportsman division at Airborne Speedway on Saturday. (Dave Brown photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Airborne Speedway looked less like a local short track and more like a sold-out rock concert on Saturday night.

Before a standing-room-only crowd estimated at 5,000 people by promoter Mike Perrotte, Mooers Forks, N.Y., driver Jimmy Bushey became the first driver in 2011 not named Robin Wood to pick up a checkered flag in the J&S Steel Sportsman division, edging out Wood by a foot and a half to win.

After watching Morrisonville, N.Y.’s Danny Sullivan and Plattsburgh native Wood wrestle the lead from one another three times in the span of eight laps, Bushey used a lap 24 caution to set up a one-lap, green-checkered restart to make his move on four-time winner Wood.

“We ended up having [the final] caution and I’m like, ‘Well, I’m on the outside again, I’ve got to time this restart,’” an ecstatic Bushey stated in the garage area following his victory. “He’s [Wood] very meticulous. He goes through turns three and four and hits the gas at the same exact time. I timed it just right. We come together in turn two side-by-side. Going down the backstretch he had a little advantage and I just drove it. I drove it and it just stuck.”

As Wood and Bushey exited turn four and made their way down the frontstretch to the checkered flag, both drivers were making significant contact with each other as they crossed the start-finish line, with Bushey coming out on top by a about 18 inches.

For Bushey, the win was worth an extra $250, as Airborne Speedway posted a bonus to any driver who could snap Wood’s winning streak.

“We were rubbing,” Bushey chuckled. “Collecting the bounty means a lot. I’ve been racing since ‘99 and this is right up there with my 2001 Street Stock championship. I took the victory lap [after the win] and I come around turn four and the fans were standing up going crazy. I didn’t think I had a shot. I was just riding. All of a sudden I’m like ‘Wow, here we go’,” Bushey said.

Wood and Jamy Begor of Mooers Forks had to settle for second and third, respectively, after the wild finish at the line.

Patrick Dupree of Saranac Lake, N.Y., picked up his third Ernie’s Discount Tools DIRTcar Modified victory in 2011 in thrilling fashion. The two-time track champion passed almost a half-dozen cars on the outside groove in the span of the last five laps before getting by then-race leader Vince Quenneville, Jr., on the outside in turn two with two laps to go to solidify himself in the top spot.

Despite starting 16th in the 29-car field, Dupree stayed out of trouble and escaped three vicious wrecks at the beginning of the feature event that eliminated more than ten cars before the race was even one lap old.

Quenneville would hold off fellow Brandon, Vt., driver Don Scarborough for the second spot. Napierville, Quebec’s Martin Roy and Matt Woodruff of Bloomingdale, N.Y., would close out the unofficial top five running order.

The Sportsman feature wasn’t the only event of the night that saw a green-checkered finish. Robert Gordon of Milton, Vt., used a lap 24 restart to pick off Swanton, Vt., driver Kevin Boutin by about a foot to nab his fourth checkered flag in the Versatile Trailer Sales Renegade feature event.

Gordon was unsuccessful on clearing Boutin on restarts occurring on laps 15, 20, and 22, but made it happen when it counted the most on the green-checkered restart with one lap remaining.

Boutin finished in the runner-up spot with Morrisonville’s Josh Terry, Swanton’s Lance Rabtoy, and West Chazy, N.Y.’s Joe Warren rounding out the top five.

Josh LeClaire of Plattsburgh earned his first victory of the season in the Keeseville NAPA Auto Parts Mini-Modified feature. Kris Clark, Erick Sayles, Speedy Bresette, and Jamie LaFountain rounded out the top five.

Travis Sherman was the second first-time winner in 2011 on Saturday night as he grabbed the checkers in the Busch Bomber main event. Curtis LaGrave Jr., Josh Durivage, John-Michael Bressete, and Bill Joyal earned top-five honors.

Weekly racing at Airborne Speedway continues next Saturday night at 6pm as the racing card will be presented by Champlain Valley Electric and Nortrax. A Modified “Dash for Cash” featuring six cars racing six laps for $600-to-win will be featured along with the regular racing program.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — High Peaks Dental/Pepsi/Trim’s Mobile Home Service Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ernie’s Discount Tools DIRTcar Modified
1. Patrick Dupree, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, Vt.
3. Don Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
4. Martin Roy, Napierville, Que.
5. Matt Woodruff, Bloomingdale, N.Y.
6. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
7. Adam Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
8. Martin Hebert, St-Cesaire, Que.
9. Pierre Berthiaume, Joliette, Que.
10. Andy Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.

J&S Steel Sportsman
1. Jim Bushey, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
2. Robin Wood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
4. Billy Thwaits, Clintonville, N.Y.
5. Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
6. Nick Heywood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
7. Dave Rabtoy, Swanton, Vt.
8. Brandon Atkins, Ausable Forks, N.Y.
9. Keith Pelkey, Clintonville, N.Y.
10. Mike Chagnon, Saranac, N.Y.

Versatile Trailer Sales Renegades
1. Robert Gordon, Milton, Vt.
2. Kevin Boutin, Swanton, Vt.
3. Josh Terry, Morrisonville, N.Y.
4. Lance Rabtoy, Fairfax, Vt.
5. Joe Warren, West Chazy, N.Y.
6. Josh Allen, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
7. Don Franklin, Milton, Vt.
8. Lonnie Rivers, Saranac, N.Y.
9. Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. Andrew Bordeau, Dannemora, N.Y.

Keeseville NAPA Auto Parts Mini-Modifieds
1. Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Kris Clark, Keeseville, N.Y.
3. Erick Sayles, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
4. Speedy Bresette, Peru, N.Y.
5. Jamie LaFountain, Keeseville, N.Y.
6. Matt Brosseau, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
7. Bill Jenkins, Milton, Vt.
8. Josh Lavarnway, Chazy, N.Y.
9. Levi Bombard, Ausable Forks, N.Y.
10. Jason LaDue, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Busch Beer Bombers
1. Travis Sherman, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Curtis Lagrave, Jr., Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. Josh Durivage, West Chazy, N.Y.
4. John-Michael Bresette, Keeseville, N.Y.
5. Bill Joyal, Sr., Asuable Forks, N.Y.
6. Dale O’Neil, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
7. Rob Sines, Dannemora, N.Y.
8. Joe Fountain, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
9. Jeff St. John, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. Tim Gadway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.