Ouellette wins Tiger Sportsman overall; Bashaw claims second career Street Stock win

–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

BARRE – John Donahue has been waiting a while to win again at Thunder Road and he put on a show by doing so on Thursday night.


The Graniteville driver edged Scott Dragon by one one-hundredth of a second (0.01) at the start-finish line to claim his first feature win of the season. It was his first win since June 11, 2015 and the 16th of his career.

As Donahue utilized the outside lane exclusively with two laps remaining, Dragon jumped to Donahue’s inside and inched up corner by corner. The duo would be even down the backstretch on the final lap and through turns three and four.

On the exit of the final corner and the drag race to the checkered flag, both cars would become sideways, make contact with each other, and crossed nearly dead-even under the finishing flag. Race officials used electronic scoring to determine that Donahue was the victor over Milton’s Dragon.

John Donahue in Thunder Road victory lane. (VMM photo)

John Donahue in Thunder Road victory lane. (VMM photo)

“If (Dragon) was going to get around me, he was going to do it underneath,” Donahue said. “The last two laps I could see his car (to the inside). I just said ‘I’m just going to drive it in a little extra deep and I’m going to hammer it off.’

“And instead of me being smooth, I hammered it and it fell right on its face and then it kicked back in. I actually hurt myself driving it in hard.”

“I knew I didn’t have him at the line,” Dragon said. “I thought going through (turns) three and four I had him.

“For whatever reason, and everybody does it, they all try to give it a little extra coming off just trying to beat them. I think instead of gaining an inch, I might have lost an inch.”

As Dragon moved into the second spot with eight laps to go and began to reel in the lead car of Donahue, Donahue held his line on the outside and gave Dragon the bottom lane.

“I’ve been doing this a while,” Donahue said. “I said I’m going to run my line. We’ve been having an issue with the car running the last few weeks. All night I’ve been fighting with this.

“I went to the bottom because he was up top,” Dragon explained. “I knew that I wasn’t going to get around him up top. I could see I was gaining on him so I just tried to hit my marks and continue to do what I was doing.”

Donahue started sixth in the 50-lap Late Model feature event and moved into the top spot shortly after the midway point around Barre’s Jason Allen. Two late race caution flags on lap 35 slowed the event and allowed the field to close back up to Donahue after he took the top spot.

“I knew if I passed (Allen) once that he wasn’t going to get back by me,” Donahue said. “I just slowed up my car to save my tires. You only have to go as fast as you have to. You don’t have to win by half of a track.

“What I think helped Scott (Dragon) was those late cautions. (Spotter) Kendall (Roberts) said I was eighth car length out in front of them.”

Allen, who received his car back just hours before the start of Thursday’s race from chassis builder T.J. Brackett after a new front clip was installed following a wreck on Sunday night, finished third. Trampas Demers of South Burlington and rookie pilot Chris Pelkey of Barre completed the top-five finishers.

Dave Whitcomb, Cody Blake, Kyle Pembroke, Jason Corliss, and Eric Badore unofficially sixth through tenth, respectively.

Cameron Ouellette posted the lowest cumulative score in the two-segment Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman feature to claim the overall win.

The win is the second straight for Ouellette’s car as Late Model driver Bobby Therrien piloted it to a win on Sunday.

The Barre driver posted finishes of fourth and third in the two segments, respectively, to earn the tiebreaker win over defending champion Brendan Moodie of Wolcott, who finished second and fifth in the segments.

Former Tiger champion Jason Woodard of Waterbury Center finished third overall with eight points while Grand Isle’s Joe Steffen finished fourth with 10 points and Barre’s Doug Crowningshield fifth with 11 points.

Garry Bashaw earned the win in the 25-lap Allen Lumber Street Stock feature.

The Lincoln driver worked to the outside of Thomas Merchants on lap 16 and took the lead for keeps two laps later.

“This has been a long time coming,” Bashsaw said in victory lane. “This is just my second win in 15 years.”

Merchant, of Eden Mills, finished second with East Calais’ Tyler Austin, who returned in his familiar red Neon after being involved in a wreck two weeks ago, third. Former champion Bunker Hodgdon of Hardwick and Will Hennequin of Morrisville completed the top-five finishers.

Two-time 2016 feature winner Alan Maynard, Cooper Bouchard, Gary Mullen, rookie Brandon Lanphear, and Jennifer Getty finished sixth through tenth, respectively.

Mike Gay won a special 12-lap race that featured Vermont Beer Brewers behind the wheel of Street Stocks. Gay

Thunder Road will celebrate the July 4th holiday on Sunday, July 3 with a regular racing event plus fireworks. Post time is set for 7:00pm.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Community College of Vermont Night
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Thursday, June 30, 2016

(# — denotes rookie)

ACT Late Models (50 laps)
1. John Donahue, Graniteville
2. Scott Dragon, Milton
3. Jason Allen, Barre
4. Trampas Demers, South Burlington
5. Chris Pelkey, Barre
6. Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction
7. Cody Blake, Barre
8. Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier
9. Jason Corliss, Barre
10. Eric Badore, Milton

Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman (2 x 25 laps)
1. Cameron Ouellette, Barre – 7 pts
2. Brendan Moodie, Wolcott – 7 pts
3. Jason Woodard, Waterbury Center – 8 pts
4. Joe Steffen, Grand Isle – 10 pts
5. Doug Crowningshield, Barre – 11 pts

Allen Lumber Street Stocks (25 laps)
1. Garry Bashaw, Lincoln
2. Thomas Merchant, Eden Mills
3. Tyler Austin, East Calais
4. Bunker Hodgdon, Hardwick
5. Will Hennequin, Morrisville
6. Alan Maynard, Fairfax
7. # Cooper Bouchard, Hinesburg
8. Gary Mullen, Tunbridge
9 # Brandon Lanphear, Morrisville
10. Jennifer Getty, Cambridge

1 – John Donahue celebrates his 16th career Thunder Road Late Model win on Thursday night after edging out Scott Dragon. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – John Donahue in Thunder Road victory lane. (VMM photo)