–by Ricky St. Clair

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Patrick Dupree entered Saturday night‘s racing program at Airborne Speedway with a new mentality: Make an aggressive charge through the field in the feature event and forget about racking up points. The Saranac Lake, N.Y., driver was doubtful that he could grab his second consecutive DIRTcar Modified track championship; he entered Saturday third in the standings at a 52 marker deficit to leader Martin Roy.

“We pretty much knew [the championship] wasn’t in the cards,” Dupree said. “We were just going for the win. The 90 car [Roy] might have been doing a little points racing tonight, but we had nothing to lose.”

Dupree jumped from his 10th place starting position to the top spot by lap 16. He managed to rocket out to a sizable lead during a 27-lap green flag run in the early stages of the 50-lap Mike Watts Memorial feature.

“I was trying to be patient. Once I got out front, I knew I could settle in,” Dupree said. “As long as you’re smooth and on the bottom it’s going to be hard for guys to get around you. I guess we were pretty far ahead. I knew our car was going to be there at the end.”

Dupree’s most difficult task of the night was not in maneuvering around lapped automobiles, but rather wheeling his own car around the half-mile.

“The worst thing was at lap 32 or 33 my power steering let loose,” Dupree said. “With seven to go I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do it’. It was just so hard. You’re just trying to counter-steer out there. I had to bounce back from my disastrous wreck last week and win it. I couldn’t give up. I had to tough it out.”

Kris Vernold and Craig Reyell would grab their career-best finishes with second and third, respectively. George Foley and Pierre Berthiaume completed the unofficial top five. Aaron Bartemy, Martin Roy, Vince Quenneville, Jr., Adam Bartemy, and Richard Tissuer rounded out the top ten.

By virtue of his seventh-place finish, Roy of Napierville, Que., locked up his second DIRTcar Modified track championship in just four full years of competing at Airborne Speedway.

Eight Sportsman drivers from St-Eustache came down to the Plattsburgh half-mile to compete in the 50-lap Canadian/American challenge. Airborne Speedway elected to score the teams (primarily from Quebec) running on eight-inch tires separate from weekly Airborne Sportsman cars (on a seven-inch tire) due to the significant speed advantage for the St-Eustache cars.

Airborne competitors Bucko Branham and Brandon and Jamie Atkins bolt on eight-inch tires and jeopardize their place in the Airborne point standings.

Branham went on to claim the victory in the inaugural event. The Plattsburgh veteran charged from 16th in the field to the top spot in just ten laps. He avoided multiple challenges after numerous late restarts and claimed the $700 winners purse.

St-Eustache drivers Maxime Pelletier and Jocelyn Gagnon were second and third, respectively. Brandon Atkins and Sebastien Joseph earned top five honors. Shawn Duquette was the highest finisher using Airborne Sportsman rules in seventh place; he received first-place points and seventh-place money. Robin Wood was scored second and Nick Heywood third among Airborne cars.

Unofficially, just seven cars finished on the lead lap in the 28-car field.

Lonnie Rivers of Saranac, N.Y., took the checkered flag in the 25-lap Renegade feature, driving in place of the injured Curtis Seymour. Robbie Favreau, Robert Gordon, Jason McClatchie, and Josh Terry completed the top five.

Josh LeClaire of Plattsburgh won his second Mini-Modified feature event of the season over Kris Clark, Speedy Bresette, Matt Brousseau, and Erick Sayles.

J.M. Bresette won the final race of the night by taking the checkers in the 15-lap Bomber event. Dale O’Neil was second and Tyler Bresette was third.

Racing continues next weekend at Airborne Speedway with a 100-lap, $3,000-to-win Modified race featuring Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont, Jr. Qualifying for Renegades and Sportsman as well as Bomber and Mini-Modified features will be Saturday. All remaining features and the 100-lap Modified event will be on Sunday.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Della Auto Group/Mike Watts Memorial Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pos.-Driver-Hometown
(# – denotes rookie)

Ernie’s Discount Tools DIRTcar Modified (50 laps)
1. Patrick Dupree, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. # Kris Vernold, Kingsbury, N.Y.
3. Craig Reyell, West Chazy, N.Y.
4. George Foley, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
5. Pierre Berthiume, Joliette, Que.
6. Aaron Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
7. Martin Roy, Napierville, Que.
8. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon, Vt.
9. Adam Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
10. Richard Tisseur, Chateauguay, Que.

J&S Steel Sportsman (50 laps)
1. Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Maxime Pelletier, Mascouche, Que.
3. Jocelyn Gagnon, Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que.
4. # Brandon Atkins, Clintonville, N.Y.
5. Sebastien Joseph, Terrebonne, Que.
6. Jamie Atkins, Clintonville, N.Y.
7. Shawn Duquette, Morrisonville, N.Y.
8. Robin Wood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
9. Nick Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
10. Howard Stoner, Altona, N.Y.

Versatile Trailer Sales Renegade (25 laps)
1. Lonnie Rivers, Saranac, N.Y.
2. Robbie Favreau, Peru, N.Y.
3. Robert Gordon Milton, Vt.
4. # Jason McClatchie Plattsburgh, N.Y
5. Josh Terry, Morrisonville, N.Y.
6. # Rick Doner, Clintonville, N.Y.
7. Kevin Boutin, Swanton, Vt.
8. Martin Fauteux, Mascouche, Que.
9. Josh Allen, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. Lance Rabtoy, Fairfax, Vt.

Keeseville NAPA Mini-Modified (15 laps)
1. Josh Leclaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Kris Clark, Keeseville, N.Y.
3. Speedy Bresette, Peru, N.Y.
4. Matt Brousseau, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. # Erick Sayles, Lake Placid, N.Y.
6. Josh Laporte, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
7. Scott Richner, Rouses Point, N.Y.
8. Josh Lavarnway, Chazy, N.Y.
9. Jimmy Varno, Jr., Peru, N.Y.
10. Tim LaFountain, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Busch Beer Bomber (15 laps)
1. J.M. Bresette, Keeseville, N.Y.
2. Dale O’Neil, Mooers, N.Y.
3. # Tyler Bressette, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
4. Ray Germain, Bristol, Vt.
5. Brian Montroy, Beekmantown, N.Y.
6. Rob Sines, Dannemora, N.Y.
7. Joe Fountain, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
8. Walter Parrott, West Chazy, N.Y.
9. David Bresette, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. Bill Joyal Sr, AuSable Forks, N.Y.