PHOTO: Matt White of Northfield posted his first Late Model win of the season at Thunder Road on Thursday. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

BARRE — Matt White just wanted to finish the 50-lap Late Model race at Thunder Road on Thursday night. He finished first.

The Northfield racer shrugged off a season’s worth of struggles at the Barre track on WDEV Radio/Calkins Portable Toilets Night by taking his first feature win of the summer. White expected to continue to backslide at the drop of the green flag, but found that his car’s handling was far better than it has been recently.

“I thought it was probably going to be junk. I didn’t know what it was going to be,” White said. “It was the best it’s felt all year, for sure, almost like back to where it was before we lost it. We’ve been chasing it all year.”

White started third and waited in that position until a lap 19 restart when he snuck past Joey Becker for second place, then he got under Mike Bailey of South Barre for the lead five laps later. The No. 42 White’s Heating/Bethel Central Market Toyota held through the last of four restarts on lap 26 and cruised to the win, the fourth of White’s Late Model career.

White has been the receiving end of some bad luck this season on the tight confines of Thunder Road’s high banked corners.

“We haven’t wrecked on our own doing once this year, but every time there’s a wreck and we check up we get pushed into it,” White said. “It’s just such close racing and no one’s running away with it. This track is tough. There’s not a track tougher than this one.”

The win, White said, is a much needed boost for his team. “The morale in the garage [lately is that] nobody wants to work on it, but now we’re back,” White smiled. “Hopefully it’ll stay, but tonight we’re back.”

Bailey finished second, with Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott third. Cris Michaud finished fourth after a long, full-contact battle with Scott. Dave Pembroke came from 17th starting position to finish fifth.

Combined with a 12th-place finish by John Donahue, Pembroke and Donahue are now unofficially tied for the point lead in the Late Model divison.

Shawn Fleury of Middlesex ended a long losing skid with a victory in the 35-lap Tiger Sportsman feature. Fleury was part of a group that moved from the back of the 24-car field on the outside lane, and drove from his 16th starting position to pass rookie Dylan Payea on lap 24. Eric Badore of Milton followed Fleury through the pack from 18th at the start to finish second, and Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg came from 17th to take third place.

Payea, of Henniker, N.H., finished a career-best fourth, with fellow freshman Kyle Pembroke fifth.

Kyle Streeter of Waitsfield posted his first career Street Stock win in a 25-lap race. Tim Campbell of West Topsham was second with Bunker Hodgdon of Hardwick third. Kevin Wheatley of Williamstown was the Junkyard Warrior winner.

Jason Woodard of Waterbury and his volunteer push team won the annual WDEV/Calkins “Port-A-Potty Grand Prix”.

Thunder Road returns to action on Thursday, August 4 as Safelite Auto Glass presents a regular card of racing, plus “Run-What-You-Brung” spectator drags and the New England Antique Racers at 6:00pm.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — WDEV Radio/Calkins Portable Toilets Night
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Thursday, July 28, 2011

(# – denotes rookie)

ACT Late Model (50 laps)
1. Matt White, Northfield
2. Mike Bailey, South Barre
3. Phil Scott, Berlin
4. Cris Michaud, East Montpelier
5. Dave Pembroke, Middlesex
6. Reno Gervais, Island Pond
7. Trampas Demers, South Burlington
8. Joey Becker, Jeffersonville
9. # Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown
10. Cody Blake, Barre

Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman (35 laps)
1. Shawn Fleury, Middlesex
2. Eric Badore, Milton
3. Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg
4. # Dylan Payea, Henniker, N.H.
5. # Kyle Pembroke, Middlesex
6. Matt Potter, Marshfield
7. Derrick O’Donnell, Bradford
8. Mike Martin, Craftsbury Common
9. Josh Demers, Middlesex
10. Jason Corliss, Danville

Allen Lumber Street Stock/Junkyard Warrior (25 laps)
1. Kyle Streeter, Waitsfield (SS)
2. Tim Campbell, West Topsham (SS)
3. Bunker Hodgdon, Hardwick (SS)
4. Alan Maynard, Fairfax (SS)
5. Garry Bashaw, Lincoln (SS)
6. Gary Mullen, Tunbridge (SS)
7. Jeff Martin, Jr., Northfield (SS)
8. Nick Pilotte, Jefferson, N.H. (SS)
9. Kyle Hess, Morrisville (SS)
10. Jayme Lee, Barre (SS)

22. Kevin Wheatley, Williamstown (JW)
25. Brock Parrott, Williamstown (JW)
27. George Sanders, Northfield (JW)