PHOTO: George Foley worked quickly to get to the lead in the 30-lap Modified feature at Airborne Speedway, and then had to hold off Todd Stone to collect his first win of the 2012 season. (Ricky St. Clair/VMM photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — George Foley didn’t wait very long to take control of the race lead in Saturday’s 30-lap DIRTcar Modified feature at Airborne Speedway.

The Saranac Lake, N.Y., competitor used his second-place starting position in the 28-car field to his advantage and snagged the lead from polesitter Todd Stone before one circuit could be completed.

Foley was forced to survive multiple late race caution periods on laps 25 and 29 en route to his first checkered flag of the season. The 2007 Modified track champion remained composed with Stone on his back bumper.

“When a car is as good as mine was tonight, you get a little bit of confidence,” Foley said. “I was originally ready to run second behind Todd for a while if I had to, but I just went for it on the outside. My car is usually faster on the top side of the track, so everything worked out.”

Foley and Stone ran multiple laps side-by-side in the early stages of the event before Foley solidified himself in the top spot. Stone, who finished second in Airborne’s opening race last Sunday, was unable to slip underneath Foley after multiple attempts after the green-white-checkered restart.

“With Todd, one thing you’re sure of is running side-by-side safely,” Foley said. “He’s a quality top-notch driver. I don’t know how often he’ll be racing with us this year, but tonight we raced each other really clean.”

Patrice McGrail of Candiac, Que., picked up his second consecutive top-five finish of the year with a third-place run. Greg Atkins and St-Cesaire, Que., driver Max Veins concluded the race’s top-five finishers.

Positions six through to ten went to Kris Vernold, Aaron Bartemy, Adam Bartemy, Craig Reyell, and Pierre Berthiaume.

Point leader Patrick Dupree had his transmission expire after the first of three Modified qualifiers earlier in the day. The two-time track title holder drove Jessey Mueller’s backup car in the 30-lap feature in hopes of salvaging points. The Saranac Lake, N.Y., hotshoe finished 14th in the field.

Jamy Begor took advantage of his front row starting spot and went wire-to-wire in the 25-lap feature event for the Limited Late Models. Begor quickly jumped out to a significant lead over Robin Wood before the first yellow of the race was displayed with under three-laps remaining for an incident involving Jamie Atkins on the frontstretch.

After yet another caution for a one-car spin in turn four on lap 24, Begor got the jump on Wood on the ensuing restart for his first victory since August 20 of last year. Wood of Plattsburgh, N.Y., finished second, while Bucko Branham, Shawn Duquette, and Fred Lagoy completed the top-five.

Morrisonville, N.Y., driver Nick Heywood has been no stranger to victory lane thus far in 2012. Heywood successfully collected his second consecutive Sportsman Modified victory of the season by holding off former Renegade frontrunner Lonnie Rivers and Quebec invader Sebastien Fournier of St-Leonard.

Plattsburgh drivers Jamie LaFountain and Jake Branham each earned top-five honors.

Heywood enters the third weekend of racing at the Plattsburgh track with an eight-point advantage over Rivers in the standings.

Kevin Boutin successfully collected his second consecutive checkered flag in the ultra-competitive Renegade division. The Swanton, Vt., native maneuvered around race leader Jason McClatchie on lap 8 before being forced to hold off the hard-charging McClatchie on a restart with eight-laps remaining in the 25-lap feature.

Joe Warren, who celebrated his 37th birthday Saturday, was the third and final podium finisher. Robbie Favreau of Peru, N.Y., and Milton’s Robert Gordon finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Erick Sayles of Lake Placid, N.Y., was the victor in the 15-lap Mini-Modified feature event. The win was his first on the season. Michael Whalen Jr., and Josh LaPorte were the remaining podium finishers.

Racing continues next Saturday at Airborne featuring the first 50-lap event for the Limited Late Models on the USA/Canada Masters Series. Post time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Loreman’s Screen Printing and Embroidery/Haley Lumber/Haun Welding Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pos.-Driver-Hometown

Ernie’s Discount Tools Modifieds (50-laps)
1. George Foley, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
3. Patrice McGrail, Candiac, Que.
4. Greg Atkins, Clintonville, N.Y.
5. Maxime Viens, St-Cesaire, Que.
6. Kris Vernold, Kingsbury, N.Y.
7. Aaron Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
8. Adam Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
9. Craig Reyell, West Chazy, N.Y.
10. Pierre Berthiaume. Joliette, Que.

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

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

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

Keeseville NAPA Mini-Modifieds (15-laps)
1. Erick Sayles, Saranac Lake, N.Y.Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Michael Whalen Jr., Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y.
4. Eric Reyell, Morrisonville, N.Y.
5. Kris Clark, Keeseville, N.Y.