Williams Rules At Thunder Road
Barre, VT - Eric Williams struck paydirt in the NAPA Make-A-Wish Late Model main event Thursday at Thunder Road one week after a hard crash put a major crimp in his bid for the track title. Williams bested Rich Lowrey for the lead after a red flag restart for Pete Potvin and Bob Webber Jr, who slid along the wall in tandem past the flag stand. He then outlasted Pete Fecteau in a terrific seesaw battle with Pete Fecteau that lasted a dozen laps.
As Williams began to build a lead, Jamie Fisher and point leader Phil Scott worked their way around Lowrey and Fecteau to finish second and third. Two car lengths back, Tim Martin followed suit for fourth. Fecteau fought back for fifth after being hung in the outside lane. The second half of the top-10 went to Lowrey, John Donahue, Cris Michaud, Joey Laquerre and Dave Pembroke.
On the opening lap, Dave Wilcox flew off the top of turn three and slammed into the styrofoam barriers. The restart moved Cooper MacRitchie into the second row and he quickly took over second behind Sam Caron, only to provide an instant replay of Wilcox's ride, six laps later.
The second restart brought Williams alongside Caron on the front row and he had the GW Tatro Construction Chevrolet in the lead before another lap was completed. Rich Lowrey kept it close until restart number three for the red flag get-together between Potvin and Webber Jr, which was triggered by a flat tire on the Potvin machine. Williams' next challenger was Fecteau and the pair turned in some great laps before Fecteau began to give ground and Fisher and Scott arrived.
"It's hard to win a race here," Williams said. "I really owe it all to my crew and my sponsors, it took a lot of work to get back here and be competitive after what happened last week." The victory was the second of Williams' career and his first of the season. Scott, steady as ever, retained his point lead with his tenth top-5 finish. He leads Jamie Fisher by 41 points and Dave Pembroke by 42 with two point races remaining.
The NAPA Flying Tigers had the same difficulty as the Late Models in getting the first lap of their 30-lap feature completed. Once things sorted out, Josh Lovely was in first, just in front of a dogfight between Reno Gervais and Bill Sawyer that had them bouncing off one another into the infield as Chip Grenier, Fred Dezan and Ray Stearns shot past.
Grenier swung into high lane to pass Josh Lovely on lap 20 and went on to his first 2002 win. Lovely held off Ray Stearns for the runner-up spot. Two car lengths back, David Redmond, Doug Murphy, Marcel Gravel and Eric Pembroke were nose-to-tail for spots 4-7. Point leader Joe Steffen, Jimmy Young and Dezan completed the top ten.
Allen Lumber Street Stock point leader, Brendan Moodie Jr of North Wolcott, won the NAPA Make-A-Wish Street feature after starting 24th. It was his first 2002 win and it gave him an 11-point advantage over David Allen (672-641). Matt Potter got home second, a half-car length ahead of Kerry Henry, who recorded his fourth top-5 finish of the year.