The first championship of the 2018 season at Barre’s Thunder Road will be awarded this Thursday, August 9 on Cody Chevrolet Cadillac Night. A 75-lap showdown in the Myers Container Service Triple Crown finale is the final step towards a potential title for the best Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger competitors at the speedway.
A mix of established veterans of rising young stars are in the mix for the Triple Crown title. But the favorites going into Thursday’s clash are Craftsbury Common’s Joel Hodgdon and Morrisville’s Brandon Lanphear. The two sit just four points apart at the top of the standings. Both are in a position where winning the main event would also guarantee them the title.
For Hodgdon, a victorious performance would be the first step towards a potential “double championship” in his return to full-time competition on the high banks. The veteran also has a commanding lead in the weekly Flying Tiger standings, sitting 78 points ahead of Grand Isle’s “Double O” Joe Steffen.
Lanphear, meanwhile, has the opportunity to become a rare rookie champion. The multi-generational racer shook up the famed Tiger class with a surprising victory in the Triple Crown Series opener and has been one of the division’s top runners ever since.
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” Lanphear said. “The biggest key is that you’ve got to finish the race, so that’s the first part of the plan. Hopefully I’ve got a good car that can go to the front, and I’ll be able to stay out of trouble, keep the car in one piece, and hopefully win the thing.”
“I definitely can’t say I expected to be in this position,” Lanphear added. “Being a champion is obviously something you always want to be, and you strive to be the best there is. But I feel humbled, that’s for sure – it’s above and beyond the expectations I had. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m not going to complain whatever happens.”
Steffen and Hinesburg’s Trevor Lyman are the closest challengers to the lead duo of Hodgdon and Lanphear for the Triple Crown. The two sit 15 and 25 points back of Hodgdon, respectively. A title-winning effort by either driver would also mean significant gains in the weekly championship picture. Runners such as Kyle Streeter, Cameron Ouellette, and Cooper Bouchard have been among the division’s best in recent weeks and would surprise no one with a win Thursday.
The night will also feature the next round in championship battles for the heavy hitters of the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Allen Lumber Street Stocks. South Burlington’s Trampas Demers is the latest to have the upper hand in the Late Model title race. With just three point-counting events remaining, Demers sits 13 points ahead of Milton’s Scott Dragon and 20 up on Barre’s Jason Corliss. Hometown racer Cody Blake has slipped to 47 points back and needs to be aces on Thursday to get back in the hunt.
The Allen Lumber Street Stock championship canvas was completely repainted at Sunday’s Street Stock Special. Craftsbury Common’s Stephen Martin now holds the point lead for the first time all season. But he is just four markers ahead of Essex Jct.’s Matthew Smith. Derby’s Tim Hunt, Barre’s Jeffrey Martin, and Middlesex’s Logan Powers all sit within 39 points of the top spot, setting up a dramatic final month.
The first green flag of Cody Chevrolet Cadillac Night will fly at 7:00pm this Thursday, August 9. The evening will also feature an autograph session with Amanda Pelkey plus a ceremony at intermission honoring the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team member and Olympic gold medalist. The pits open at 3:30pm and the front gates open at 5:15pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).