PHOTO: Pierre Berthiaume used a good starting position and a near-caution free race to take his third career Airborne Modified victory. (Ricky St. Clair/VMM photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — A healthy starting position and a 26-lap green flag run was all it took for Pierre Berthiaume to solidify himself as the victor in Saturday night’s 30-lap DIRTcar Modified feature at Airborne Speedway.

After a George Foley spin off turn three on lap four, the Joliette, Que., driver took control of the point from Michael Viens at the halfway mark en route to his third career win at the half-mile.

Berthiaume, who makes a two hour haul south every Saturday night to compete in the headline division, was pleased that his team’s hard work finally paid off.

“Once I passed Viens, I thought I could win,” Berthiaume said. “I was just hoping there were no more yellows. The first two weeks, we drew for starting position and I started in the back. Today I started closer to the front (seventh). It made a big difference.”

After sliding down the entire length of the backstretch on his roof in last season’s opener and missing a significant amount of time behind the wheel, Viens, of St-Cesaire, Que., claimed the runner-up spot. Albany, N.Y.’s Andy Lindeman grabbed his career best run as the final podium finisher.

Jessey Mueller of Olmstedville, N.Y., was content with fourth-place in only his third career start at Airborne and Chateauguay, Quebec’s Richard Tissuer rounded out the unofficial top-five. Positions six through ten went to Andy Heywood, Leon Gonyo, Chris Cayea, Vince Quennville, and point leader Todd Stone.

Jamie LaFountain of Keeseville, N.Y., took home a convincing win in the third points counting event of 2012 for the newly created Sportsman Modified division. LaFountain had a dominate automobile throughout the entire day by winning his qualifier in convincing fashion, turning the fastest time in the 20-lap feature, and through the field for his first career win.

Lonnie Rivers of Cadyville, N.Y., trimmed into Nick Heywood’s eight marker point lead with a second-place finish. Heywood stole the third position after a spirited 10-lap battle with Plattsburgh’s Jake Branham for the podium spot. Branham ended up fourth and 2011 Bomber track champion JohnMichael Bresette completed the top-five.

Thirteen Sportsman Modifieds were on hand as compared to the eight who made the call for the first green flag of the season April 29.

With his 37th birthday occurring on the same day as his third-place finish a week ago, Joe Warren made it two spots better in the 25-lap Renegade feature event. Warren, of West Chazy, N.Y., slipped underneath Curt Seymour for the lead with just under 12-laps remaining and escaped a late race caution to go on for his first win of the season.

After successfully collecting two consecutive checkered flags to start the season, Kevin Boutin held on for a solid second-place finish. Seymour held on to the third spot. A couple of Milton, Vt., drivers in Robert Gordon and “Big Daddy” Don Franklin claimed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Dale O’Neil of Mooers appeared to be the victor following the 15-lap Mini-Modified event, but was disqualified in post-race inspection. Erick Sayles of Lake Placid, N.Y., inherited the checkered flag. Plattsburgh, N.Y.’s Josh LeClaire was the eventual runner-up. Rob Sines was third.

Weekly racing will continue at the half-mile next Saturday at 5 p.m. with four divisions in action. The Limited Late Models will be at Autodrome St-Eustache for the second event of the USA/Canada Masters Series.

Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, May 12, 2012


Ernie’s Discount Tools Modifieds (30 laps)
1. Pierre Berthiaume, Joliette, Que.
2. Michael Viens, St-Cesaire, Que.
3. Andy Lindeman, Albany, N.Y.
4. Jessey Mueller, Olmstedville, N.Y.
5. Richard Tissuer, Chateauguay, Que.
6. Andy Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
7. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
8. Chris Cayea, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
9. Vince Quennville, Brandon, Vt.
10. Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.

Adirondack Water Systems Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps)
1. Jamie LaFountain, Keeseville, N.Y.
2. Lonnie Rivers, Cadyville, N.Y.
3. Nick Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
4. Jake Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. JohnMichael Bresette, Keeseville, N.Y.

Key-RD Trailer Sales Renegades (25 laps)
1. Joe Warren, West Chazy, N.Y.
2. Kevin Boutin, Milton, Vt.
3. Curtis Seymour, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
4. Robert Gordon, Milton, Vt.
5. Don Franklin, Milton, Vt.
6. Mark Caron, Peru, N.Y.
7. Tylor Terry, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
8. Lance Rabtoy, Fairfax, Vt.
9. Josh Terry, Essex, N.Y.
10. Jon Boutin, Swanton, Vt.

Keeseville NAPA Mini-Modifieds (15 laps)
1. Erick Sayles, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. Rob Sines, Dannemora, N.Y.
4. Tim LaFountain, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. Jayson Criss, Plattsburgh, N.Y.