Steffen claims 16th Tiger win, Lanphear earns Street Stock trumph

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

BARRE – Phil Scott may have made a bit history on Thursday night at Thunder Road, but the race car driver that made so much racing history through the 1990s and 2000s was back making history as well.

Scott, the sitting Governor of Vermont, claimed the Late Model feature win in their 50-lap Premium Mortgage event. It was his first win as Vermont’s Governor and the first Governor in the nation to win a stock car race.

The three-time Thunder Road track champion led the feature flag-to-flag and held off challenges through numerous restarts to claim the win.

“I think that was the longest 50 laps that I have ever run,” Scott said in victory lane. “I remember when they were 35 laps. We had some good restarts and a great car.

“This is very special.”

Scott’s first challenge came on a lap 28 restart that saw hometown favorite Cody Blake to his outside. The Governor moved past Blake after a brief side-by-side race and continued to lead uncontested until a lap 38 caution put Josh Demers to his outside on two ensuing restarts.

From there, Scott got past Demers quickly and went on to claim the win.

“You think after how many years, 26 or 27, whatever it’s been, that I wouldn’t have nervousness or butterflies,” Scott said. “Those last few, no, those last 50 laps I ran, (I was) nervous every lap, thinking something was going to happen, something was going to break, someone was going to catch me. (I was) playing the what ifs.

“But (the crew) put a great car underneath me. I just needed a little bit of talent to go along with it and I just found a little bit left in the tank.”

Scott’s longtime Pete Duto-led team enlisted the help of three-time Thunder Road Late Model champion Derrick O’Donnell over the offseason and has brought both Scott’s and teammates Bobby Therrien’s cars to consistent race winning capabilities this season.

“I owe a lot to Derrick (O’Donnell) for all his help,” Scott said. “Pete (Duto) is always there working on the car. And some of the crew members that have been with me since day one – Jim Morrill and Debbie Armstrong – they’ve been with me ever since I’ve started racing here. That’s a testament to them.

“(I’m) thankful for all of the pieces coming together.”

The win for Scott was the 30th of his Thunder Road Late Model career and his first in nearly four years. His last win came on August 29, 2013.

“I look back over the years and I took a lot of those wins for granted,” Scott said. “Now that I’ve struggled and had to do some soul searching to get back in there and stay in the game, it’s still there.

“It’s a very special place to win.”

Scott earned the Maplewood’s Triple Crown after winning both his heat race and semi-feature, as well as the 50-lap feature event.

Darrell Morin of Westford bested Monday’s feature winner Ricky Roberts over the final 11 lap run to claim second while Roberts, of Washington, earned his second straight podium finish in third.

Trampas Demers and Eric Chase finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with Bobby Therrien, Marcel J. Gravel, Scott Coburn, Kyle Pembroke, and Eric Baodre sixth through tenth, unofficially.

Joe Steffen took the lead on a lap seven restart and grabbed the win in the 40-lap Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger feature.

The win for the Grand Isle driver was the 16th of his Flying Tiger career.

“It’s always great to run up front with the best cars in the division,” Steffen said. “But to beat them? That’s a lot more fun.”

Steffen was forced to hold off challenge a challenge from Trevor Lyman during the second half of the event to claim the win.

Lyman, of Hinesburg, came out on top of a spirited battle with Dwayne Lanphear to finish second while Lanphear settled for third. Former champion Jason Woodard and rookie Jaden Perry completed the top-five finishers.

Point leader Brendan Moodie restarted next to Steffen on a lap 20 restart but faded back to sixth when the checkered flag flew. Robert Gordon, rookies Tyler Austin and Burt Spooner, and Mike Billado completed the top-ten finishers.

Peyton Lanphear earned her fourth career Allen Lumber Street Stock win in their 25-lap feature.

The Duxbury teenager started on the outside pole position and went wire-to-wire, holding off fifteen-year-old Stephen Martin on a restart with five laps remaining.

“Last week was kind of hard to swallow,” Lanphear said in victory lane. “We’re not having the best year.

“But I have to thank Jamie Davis for giving me a push at the end on that restart.”

Jamie Davis worked up the inside past Martin on the final restart to finish second with Martin third. Matthew Smith and Will Hennequin finished fourth and fifth while Kelsea Woodard, Michael Gay, Dean Switser Jr., Alan Maynard, and Brandon Lanphear completed the top-ten finishers.

Stephen Martin won the Marvin Johnson Memorial Street Stock Non-Winners race over Brandon Lanphear and Kasey Collins.

Thunder Road will host the VP Fuels Vermont Governor’s Cup 150 on Thursday, July 13 that will feature NASCAR champion Kyle Bush competing in a Late Model for 150 green flag laps. Post time is set for 6:30pm.

UNOFFICIALRESULTS – Premium Mortgage Night
Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, Vt.
Thursday, July 6, 2017

(# — denotes rookie)

Late Models (50 laps)
1. Phil Scott, Berlin
2. Darrell Morin, Westford
3. Ricky Roberts, Washington
4. Trampas Demers, South Burlington
5. Eric Chase, Milton
6. Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg
7. Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott
8. Scott Coburn, Barre
9. Kyle Pembroke, Montpelier
10. Eric Badore, Milton

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers (40 laps)
1. Joe Steffen, Grand Isle
2. Trevor Lyman, Hinesburg
3. Dwayne Lanphear, Morrisville
4. Jason Woodard, Waterbury Center
5. # Jaden Perry, Hardwick
6. Brendan Moodie, Wolcott
7. Robert Gordon, Milton
8. # Tyler Austin, East Calais
9. # Burt Spooner, East Montpelier
10. Mike Billado, Essex Junction

Allen Lumber Street Stocks (25 laps)
1. Peyton Lanphear, Duxbury
2. Jamie Davis, Wolcott
3. # Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
4. Matthew Smith, Essex Junction
5. Will Hennequin, Hardwick
6. Kelsea Woodard, Waterbury Center
7. Michael Gay, South Burlington
8. Dean Switser Jr., Lyndonville
9. Alan Maynard, Fairfax
10. Brandon Lanphear, Morrisville

Marvin Johnson Memorial Street Stock Non-Winners Race (19 laps)
1. # Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
2. Brandon Lanphear, Morrisville
3. # Kasey Collins, Barre

PHOTO: Vermont Governor Phil Scott celebrates his 30th career Thunder Road Late Model win — his first as sitting Vermont Governor — on Thursday night at Thunder Road. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)