Team overcomes adversity to score second ACT Late Model Tour win on season

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

THOMPSON, Conn. – If perseverance is a quality, then Bobby Therrien showed he had the attribute at Thompson Speedway.

The Hineburg, Vt. driver made a last turn pass on Dillon Moltz to claim the win in the Sunoco World Series 75 on Saturday night at the famed five-eighths mile oval.

Therrien was able to nose underneath Moltz on the exit of turn two and down the backstretch on the final lap. The duo would then make contact in turn three that saw Moltz’s car slip up the track, which allowed Therrien to power on the inside and take the race win.

“I had a really good run on the bottom (off of turn two),” Therrien said. “All day long, a lot of guys couldn’t do that. They had to come off on the top. I knew that was one of our strong points.

“Coming off of turn two, I had a good run on the bottom and I was able to get my nose up beside (Moltz). Going into turn three with lapped traffic, my nose was there.

“We’re at Thompson Speedway. (It’s) the last lap. You go for the win at that point. I hate to move anyone for a finish, but, we’re here for the World Series. We needed this win to go through the winter.”

Moltz offered his view of the last ten laps of the race.

“I took an opportunity on (Payea) getting lose off of (turn four) one time to get a run down the straightway,” Moltz said. “I got in real good, and we may have touched doors, but that’s Thompson. Everyone knows that. I’ve been coming here since I was eight years old. You have to get in hard and take away their line a little bit, but that’s not driving through them.

“(Therrien) waited right until the end and just decided to drive right through us. It’s still second. We’re not wrecked. But it still sucks.”

Therrien started the 75-lap event in the eighth spot and made quick work toward the front of the field as he moved into the second spot by lap 12. Two successive restarts on back-to-back restarts saw Therrien slip from second to fourth. He would get back to the third spot by lap 35 and began to chase down race leader Scott Payea and second place Moltz.

Therrien and Moltz would battle multiple times for the second spot, but Moltz would keep the spot. Moltz would then work to the inside of Payea on lap 67 to take the lead and brought Therrien with him. Therrien would apply pressure and make a bid for the lead prior to the last lap.

The win for Therrien came during his first ever visit to the famed five-eighths mile oval.

“The first time I saw Thompson was when I pulled in this morning,” Therrien said. “It’s was a lot of YouTube videos and stuff like that trying to learn the place. But the first practice, the car was extremely good. We did some tweaking and I got more comfortable.

“I think the finish showed tonight we had one hell of a piece here.”

The win came after a day of turmoil on Friday after the team’s hauler was involved in an accident enroute to Thompson Speedway. ACT Late Model Tour team owner Bruce Bernhardt, as well as the Sweet team, assisted in getting Therrien’s car to the race track.

“I can’t thank them enough,” Therrien said. “It’s been unfortunate that (Bernhardt and driver Wayne Helliwell Jr.) haven’t made the last few races, but those guys are the reason we are here.”

The win for Therrien came with a secret weapon in his arsenal as three-time Thunder Road champion Derrick O’Donnell returned back north after a stint with Richard Childress Racing and served as the team’s crew chief.

“We’re two-for-two with him,” Therrien grinned. “Let’s go onto next year.”

Moltz, of Waterford, Conn., settled for second while Payea, of Milton, Vt., did what he needed to do and led the most laps in the race, but faded to third late and finished there. Brad Babb of Windham, Maine ran inside the top-five for the entire 75-laps and finished fourth.

Nick Sweet of Barre, Vt. needed to finish fifth in the feature event to win the championship and did just that. Sweet held off a fierce battle from Eddie MacDonald for much of the second half of the race to keep the spot and the championship.

MacDonald settled for sixth with Quebec driver Alex Labbe seventh. Rookie driver Devin O’Connell earned rookie-of-the-year honors with an eighth place finish. Ray Christian and Rick Gentes completed the top-ten finishers.

VMM will have more from the ACT Late Model Tour Sunoco World Series 75 soon.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Sunoco World Series 75
ACT Late Model Tour
Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn.
Saturday, October 15, 2016

(# — denotes rookie)

1. (8) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, Vt.
2. (1) Dillon Moltz, Waterford, Conn.
3. (5) Scott Payea, Milton, Vt.
4. (3) Brad Babb, Windham, Maine
5. (12) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
6. (14) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
7. (6) Alex Labbe, St-Albert, Que.
8. (4) # Devin O’Connell, Madison, Conn.
9. (11) Ray Christian III, Norwich, Conn.
10. (9) Rick Gentes, Burrville, R.I.
11. (23) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, Maine
12. (10) # Ryan Olsen, North Haverhill, N.H.
13. (7) Ryan Morgan, Pawcatuck, Conn.
14. (13) Mike Ziter, Barre, Vt.
15. (24) Brian Tagg, Oxford, Mass.
16. (29) John Lowinski-Loh, Milleville, Mass.
17. (16) Rich Dubeau, Lebanon, N.H.
18. (15) Tom Carey III, New Salem, Mass.
19. (21) Walter J. Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
20. (27) Matthew Lowinski-Loh, Milford, Mass.
21. (19) # Mark Jenison, Warwick, R.I.
22. (28) Ray Parent, Tiverton, R.I.
23. (31) Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, Mass.
24. (2) Walter Sutcliffe, East Haven,Conn.
25. (20) Jean-Pierre Ouimet, Terrebonne, Que.
26. (22) Corey Fanning, Mapleville, R.I.
27. (18) Larry Gelinas, Buxton, Maine
28. (30) C.J. McLaughlin, Framingham, Mass.
29. (26) Josh King, Vernon, Vt.
30. (25) Mark Hudson, Norton, Mass.
31. (17) William Wall, Shrewsbury, Mass.

PHOTO: Bobby Therrien celebrates his Sunoco World Series ACT Late Model Tour win on Saturday night at Thompson Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)