WATERFORD, CT – Late Model stock car driver Scott Payea continued a dream season by winning the Nutmeg State 100 at Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. The 26 year-old from Milton, VT held off defending Waterford Speedbowl Track Champion Bruce Thomas, Jr. of Groton, CT for his second American-Canadian Tour victory in six starts this year.
Thomas jumped from his outside pole starting position to lead the opening 48 laps, at time stretching his lead out to nearly a full straightaway. Payea, who started seventh in the 30-car field, drove forward in the early laps and was brought even with Thomas for the race’s final three restarts just before the halfway point.Following a lap 48 restart, Payea nudged ahead to take the lead from Thomas.
The final caution flag on lap 50 drew the pair together again, beginning an intense, multi-groove, lead-swapping duel that lasted until Payea regained control for good on lap 55. Each driver led three times in the race, each for a total of 50 laps. As the race went caution-free to the end, Payea’s Ouellette Plumbing & Heating/Leahy Press #89 Ford Fusion held a comfortable five-car length lead over Thomas as the checkered flag flew.
“I knew had a good car right from practice in the morning,” said Payea following the victory, the fourth ACT Late Model Tour win of his career. “I was pretty confident once I got near the front that it would be up to me to lose the race, but Bruce Thomas really impressed me. He and the rest of these Waterford guys were very good tonight; I had a lot of fun racing here.”
Thomas, driving the Mystic Transportation/Aarsand Floorsanding #35 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, finished second in his first-ever ACT Late Model Tour start. Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, NH, the 1995 ACT Champion, finished third in his first main-event start of the season behind the wheel of the Irving Oil/Subway #55NH Ford Fusion. Waterford Speedbowl driver Ron Yuhas, Jr. of Groton, CT finished fourth in his first career ACT start, while rookie driver Nick Sweet of Barre, VT finished a career-best fifth.
Groveton, NH’s Randy Potter finished sixth, with New Gloucester, ME’s Ron Henry coming home a season-best seventh. Rookie Jonathan Urlin of London, ON earned his best-ever ACT Late Model Tour finish in eighth, while Milton, VT drivers Jean-Paul Cyr and Brent Dragon rounded out the unofficial top ten finishers in order.
Thirty-eight Late Model stock cars attempted to qualify for the 30-car starting field. Donald Theetge of Boischatel, QC earned the pole position with “+5” in ACT’s unique “plus/minus” heat race qualifying system. Theetge finished 21st with handling problems, one lap off the pace. The Nutmeg State 100 was completed in 52 minutes, 47 seconds and slowed by five cautions. Sixteen cars finished on the lead lap, with 26 of the 30 starters running at the finish.
Payea retains the ACT Late Model Tour point lead, unofficially, over Cyr, 401-362. Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC sits third with 350 points over Potter (347) and John Donahue of Graniteville, VT (342). The ACT Late Model is back in action at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway with the Dunkin’ Donuts 150 on Saturday, June 21. For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit www.acttour.com.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – Nutmeg State 100
American-Canadian Tour – Waterford Speedbowl – Waterford, CT
Sat., June 7, 2008
(# – denotes rookie)
1. Scott Payea, Milton, VT, 100
2. Bruce Thomas, Jr., Groton, CT, 100
3. Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, NH, 100
4. Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, CT, 100
5. #Nick Sweet, Barre, VT, 100
6. Randy Potter, Groveton, NH, 100
7. Ron Henry, New Gloucester, ME, 100
8. #Jonathan Urlin, London, ON, 100
9. Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, 100
10. Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, 100
11. Scott Dragon, Milton, VT, 100
12. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, QC, 100
13. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 100
14. Glen Luce, Turner, ME, 100
15. Pete Potvin, III, Graniteville, VT, 100
16. Eric Chase, Milton, VT, 100
17. John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, 99
18. Rick Thompson, Jr., Derby, VT, 99
19. Leon Heckbert, Wilton, ME, 99
20. Joe Becker, Jeffersonville, VT, 99
21. Donald Theetge, Boischatel, QC, 99
22. Steve Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 98
23. Trampas Demers, South Burlington, VT, 98
24. Joe Curioso, Pawcatuck, CT, 98
25. #Tyler Cahoon, St. Johnsbury, VT, 98
26. Richard Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI, 97
27. #Ricky Wolf, Jr., Northwood, NH, 69
28. Allen Coates, Ledyard, CT, 50
29. Tim Jordan, Jewett City, CT, 31
30. Ed Reed, Jr., Groton, CT, 30