PHOTO: Patrice McGrail celebrated his first career Airborne DIRTcar Modified win at Airborne Speedway after making a daring three-wide move halfway through the 30-lap feature. (Ricky St. Clair/VMM photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — After three years of trying, Patrice McGrail finally got the monkey off his back by rocketing to his first career DIRTcar Modified win Saturday night at Airborne Speedway.

The Candiac, Que., native, who was three weeks removed from suffering a broken rib and a concussion after a violent crash on the frontstretch, made a banzai three-wide pass on the bottom of the racetrack to take the lead on lap 13.

With one caution period slowing the event on lap 26 for an automobile off the pace on the backstretch, McGrail successfully fended off the likes of Maxime Viens, Andy Heywood, Greg Atkins, and George Foley.

“I saw two cars and they were very sideways, so I got scared they would get together and cause and accident in front of me,” McGrail said of his race winning pass. “I said, I’m going to go three-wide and try to get by right away to prevent an accident with them. I made a late brake stop, so that helped me do it.”

During the 25-lap green flag run, McGrail opened up his lead to a backstretch advantage on second place runner Viens. After so many second and third-place finishes in recent years, McGrail is finally content with the handling of his No. 10 machine.

“This year we have a Troyer car and it goes good,” McGrail said. “It’s a good combination of engine and car. Bill Colton has helped me out with the setups and everything. I was thinking it was supposed to be my last year of racing, but going like this, I’m probably going to stay one more year.”

Viens, of St-Cesaire, Que., held on for second-place with Foley, of Vermontville, N.Y., taking the final podium spot. Heywood of Morrisonville, N.Y., and Clintonville, N.Y., competitor Atkins earned top-five honors. Leon Gonyo, Adam Bartemy, Todd Stone, Aaron Bartemy, and Vince Quennville completed the unofficial top-10.

Bucko Branham of Plattsburgh, N.Y., collected his 34th checkered flag since 2000 in the 25-lap Limited Late Model feature event.

Branham started sixth in the 15-car field and took the top spot away from Fred Lagoy on lap five. After a lap six caution period, the 28-year racing veteran fended off Shawn Duquette of Morrisonville, N.Y., after a wild eight-lap side-by-side battle for the lead that featured three lead changes. Robin Wood edged Jamy Begor at the line by mere inches to finish second and third, respectively. Duquette and AuSable Forks, N.Y., driver Brandon Atkins concluded the top-five.

Nick Heywood is no stranger to victory lane after picking up his fourth win of the summer in the inaugural season of weekly racing for the Sportsman Modified class at Airborne.

Heywood will extend his point lead to 24 markers with Cadyville, N.Y., hotshoe Lonnie Rivers grabbing the second spot. Sebastien Fournier earned his sixth top-five finish of the year with a third-place effort.

Fairfax, Vt., driver Kevin Boutin picked up his 13th career Renegade victory at Airborne and his third of the season by overtaking Robbie Favreau on lap 13 of the 25-lap Renegade race. Rick Doner of Clintonville, N.Y., who unofficially led laps 10 and 11 in the event, held on for the second. Favreau came across the start-finish line third. West Chazy, N.Y., driver Joe Warren and Milton’s Robert Gordon rounded out the top-five.

Erick Sayles was the victor in the 15-lap Mini-Modified feature. The win marked his fourth checkered flag of 2012. Dale O’Neil of Mooers Forks, N.Y., was second and Josh LaPorte completed the podium.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — White Management/High Peaks Dental/Harts Auto Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, June 30, 2012


DIRTcar Modifieds (30 laps)
1. Patrice McGrail, Candiac, Que.
2. Maxime Viens, St-Cesaire, Que.
3. George Foley, Vermontville, N.Y.
4. Andy Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
5. Greg Atkins, Clintonville, N.Y.
6. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
7. Adam Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
8. Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
9. Aaron Bartemy, Champlain, N.Y.
10. Vince Quennville, Jr., Brandon, Vt.

Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps)
1. Nick Heywood, Morrisonville, N.Y.
2. Lonnie Rivers, Cadyville, N.Y.
3. Sebastien Fournier, St-Leonard, Que.
4. Travis Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
5. Jimmy Introne Jr., Granville, N.Y.

Limited Late Models (25 laps)
1. Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Robin Wood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. Jamy Begor, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
4. Shawn Duquette, Morrisonville, N.Y.
5. Brandon Atkins, AuSable Forks, N.Y.
6. Keith Pelkey, Clintonville, N.Y.
7. Cody Meyers, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
8. Michael Chagnon, Saranac, N.Y.
9. Chris Frennier, West Chazy, N.Y.
10. Jamie Atkins, AuSable Forks, N.Y.

Renegades (25 laps)
1. Kevin Boutin, Fairfax, Vt.
2. Rick Doner, Clintonville, N.Y.
3. Robbie Favreau, Peru, N.Y.
4. Joe Warren, West Chazy, N.Y.
5. Robert Gordon, Milton, Vt.
6. Lance Rabtoy, Fairfax, Vt.
7. Curt Seymour, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
8. Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
9. Don Franklin, Milton, Vt.
10. Jon Boutin, Fairfax, Vt.

Mini-Modifieds (15 laps)
1. Erick Sayles, Lake Clear, N.Y.
2. Dale O’Neil, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
3. Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y.
4. Josh Lavarnway, Chazy, N.Y.
5. Speedy Bresette, Plattsburgh, N.Y.