PHOTO: Patrick Dupree overcame an issue earlier in the day to win the DIRTcar Modified Econo Lodge 50 opener. (Ricky St. Clair/VMM photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Patrick Dupree wasn’t expecting to overcome early adversity like his team did at Airborne Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Dupree finished sixth in his heat race after the car slipped out of gear, causing him to be ineligible for the feature starting lineup inversion. Dupree was able to carry his heat race handicap, though, and started 18th in the 27-car 50-lap feature.

“I never wanted to count us out, but I sometimes get a little discouraged or pessimistic at times,” Dupree said. “I was pretty disheartened after that heat race deal because we had to start towards the back with all the fast guys up front.”

Todd Stone of Middlebury, Vt., started second on the grid and set a blistering pace, leading the first 47-laps of the event. After a significant stretch of green flag laps in the second half of the extra-distance race, Stone got caught up in lapped traffic. The outcome favored Dupree.

Stone found himself pinned behind a lapped automobile and Dupree capitalized by making the race winning pass slipping underneath the 1x car of Stone in turns three and four on lap 47.

“The lapped cars certainly had an influence in the outcome of the race,” Dupree said. “If you were to tell me we’d win after that last caution, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Stone, who finished sixth on the dirt surface at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night, was displeased with lapped traffic.

“When the flag is out and the leaders are coming, they need to pick a lane or get out of the way,” Stone said. “I lost that race because of lapped traffic. They don’t even obey the flag. I’ve lost races that way and I’ve won races because of them. It is what it is.”

Stone held on for the runner-up spot. Greg Atkins of Clintonville, N.Y., started sixth and consistently ran in the top-five throughout the entire duration of the race, finishing third. Candiac, Quebec’s Patrice McGrail and Chateauguay, Quebec’s Richard Tissuer completed the unofficial top five.

Positions six through ten went to Andy Heywood, Craig Reyell, Keith Flach, Vince Quennville, and George Foley.

Plattsburgh’s Bucko Branham claimed his first checkered flag of 2012 in the first Limited Late Model feature of the season. Branham inherited the lead after incidental contact was made between polesitters Robin Wood and Jamy Begor on the first circuit of the 25-lap event.

The 29-year racing veteran took control from the point and had as much as a full straightaway advantage on second place finisher Shawn Duquette before all was said and done. Morrisonville N.Y.’s Fred Lagoy was the final podium finisher.

Wood rebounded for a fourth place finish and Clintonville, N.Y.’s Brandon Atkins rounded out the top-five.

Nick Heywood claimed the checkered flag in the new Sportsman Modified class at the Plattsburgh half-mile, grabbing the lead early in the event. Former two-time Renegade champion Lonnie Rivers finished second. Jake Branham, Codie Aubin, and Sebastien Fournier rounded out the top-five finishers.

It didn’t take for Kevin Boutin to leave right where he left off after winning the 2011 track championship in the ultra-competitive support division. Boutin survived a spirited side-by-side battle with Josh Terry in the closing stages of Sunday’s Renegade feature.

After restarting on the outside lane following a lap 21 caution, Boutin grabbed the lead on the ensuing restart from 17-year-old Terry on the outside lane en route to earning his first victory of his 2012 title defense campaign.

Terry went on to finish second after leading 16-laps of the event. Robert Gordon, Robbie Favreau, and Rick Doner completed positions three through five.

Josh LeClaire was the victor in the 15-lap Mini-Modified feature. Erick Sayles, Michael Whalen Jr., Dale O’Neil and David Bresette grabbed top-five honors.

Weekly racing at Airborne Speedway continues next Saturday. Post time is slated for 5 p.m.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Della Auto Group and Valcour Imaging Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Sunday, April 29, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

Ernie’s Discount Tools DIRTcar Modifieds (50-laps)
1. Patrick Dupree, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
3. Greg Atkins, Clintonville, N.Y.
4. Patrice McGrail, Candiac, Que.
5. Richard Tissuer, Chateauguay, Que.
6. Andy Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
7. Craig Reyell, West Chazy, N.Y.
8. Keith Flach, Ravena, N.Y.
9. Vince Quennville, Brandon, Vt.
10. George Foley, Saranac Lake, N.Y.

J&S Limited Late Models (25-laps)
1. Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Shawn Duquette, Morrisonville, N.Y.
3. Fred Lagoy, Morrisonville, N.Y.
4. Robin Wood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. Dave Rabtoy, Swanton, Vt.
6. Michael Chagnon, Saranac, N.Y.
7. Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
8. Chris Frennier, West Chazy, N.Y.
9. Keith Pelkey, Clintonville, N.Y.
10. Brian Vassar, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Adirondack Water Systems Sportsman Modifieds (20-laps)
1. Nick Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
2. Lonnie Rivers, Cadyville, N.Y.
3. Jake Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
4. Codie Aubin, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. Sebastien Fournier, St-Leonard, Que.

Key-RD Trailer Sales Renegades (25-laps)
1. Kevin Boutin, Milton, Vt.
2. Josh Terry, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. Robert Gordon, Milton, Vt.
4. Robbie Favreau, Peru, N.Y.
5. Rick Doner, Clintonville, N.Y.
6. Joe Warren, West Chazy, N.Y.
7. Lance Rabtoy, Fairfax, Vt.
8. Don Franklin, Milton, Vt.
9. Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. Mark Caron, Peru, N.Y.

Keeseville NAPA Mini-Modifieds (15-laps)
1. Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Erick Sayles, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
3. Michael Whalen Jr., Plattsburgh, N.Y.
4. Dale O’Neil, Mooers, N.Y.
5. David Bresette, Plattsburgh, N.Y.