PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- Don't expect things to change at Airborne Speedway for the rest of the year, at least not with the Modified point battle. It'll be Martin Roy vs. Patrick Dupree all the way.
From his 12th starting position, Napierville, Qué. driver Roy made a pair of three-wide passes to slice through the field, then passed Mike Phinney for the lead on lap 8. From there, he walked away, needing only to negotiate lapped traffic, for his fifth victory of the year.
"It was easy tonight," Roy said. "On other nights it's more tough, but the car is very good."
Dupree, from Saranac Lake, N.Y., lost the point lead to Roy by two points, unofficially; Dupree passed Phinney on the final corner of the 30-lap Aaron's Leasing/Bunker Orchards/Vermont Life Safety feature to finish third.
Through 11 events in 2009, only George Foley -- who finished second between Roy and Dupree on Saturday -- Jason Durgan, and Aaron Bartemy have been able to beat both point leaders. Dupree has three wins to his credit, and in fields averaging 30 starters, has yet to finish a race outside the top-five. With the win on Saturday night, Roy earned his ninth top-five finish.
"It's exciting for the fans, but I hope [it stops]," laughed Dupree, the defending track champion. "I hope we get out front and just stay there. [Roy is] pretty fast though in that 90 car, they've really got their act together. It's gonna be, I'd say, probably back-and-forth for the rest of the season."
"Is it a good show for [the fans]?" asked Roy. "That's very important. It's very fun, and it will be a tight battle through the year."
"We're having fun," echoed Dupree. "It's a little frustrating when you don't win, but oh well, that's racing. That's why they call it 'racing' and not just 'winning'."
Phinney's fourth-place finish was his best effort of the season, and Maxime Viens' fifth-place run matched his best result. Don Scarborough finished sixth, followed by Mike Wells, Leon Gonyo, Chris Cayea, and Matt Woodruff.
Bucko Branham of Plattsburgh turned a rough night around with his second Sportsman victory of the year. Branham was involved in multiple incidents in his qualifying heat, and entered the 25-lap feature minus the entire front-end bodywork on his car. Branham took the lead from Toby Ebersole on lap 13, one lap after leader Larry Underwood was disqualified for not heeding the instructions of officials. Branham and Ebersole traded the lead again on lap 14, then Branham took over for good three laps later.
"The heat race was a lot my fault. I went four-wide, didn't know I was four-wide, and had a lot of carnage there," said Branham. "I kind of felt bad, I was mad at myself for a while, but we had a little redemption there in the feature. Overall [the night rates] about an 8 [out of 10]. It could be a little better, but I've got to spend the money I won fixing the car. Other than that, it's pretty good."
Jamy Begor was able to sneak under Ebersole on lap 17 as Branham took the lead, and held on for the runner-up finish. Ebersole was third, followed by Chris Reeves and Tylor Terry.
Joe Warren of West Chazy, N.Y. earned his first career Renegade victory after a restart with three laps to go in the division's 25-lap feature. Rob Gordon of Milton made a late charge, but settled for second place. Josh Terry, Keith Pelkey, and Nick Heywood completed the top five. Billy Thwaits of Clintonville, N.Y. dominated the 15-lap Mini-Modified feature, and Josh LeClaire of Plattsburgh won the 15-lap Bomber race.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS -- Aaron's Leasing/Bunker Orchards/Vermont Life Safety Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Ernie's Discount Tools Modified (30 laps)
1. Martin Roy, Napierville, Qué.
2. George Foley, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
3. Patrick Dupree, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
4. Mike Phinney, Keeseville, N.Y.
5. Maxime Viens, St-Cesaire, Qué.
6. Don Scarborough, Brandon
7. Mike Wells, West Chazy, N.Y.
8. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
9. Chris Cayea, Mooers, N.Y.
10. Matt Woodruff, Bloomingdale, N.Y.
J&S Steel Sportsman (25 laps)
1. Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Jamy Begor, Mooers, N.Y.
3. Toby Ebersole, Peru, N.Y.
4. Chris Reeves, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. Tylor Terry, Morrisonville, N.Y.
6. Robin Wood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
7. Jim Bushey, Mooers Forks, N.Y.
8. Rick Frenyea, Saranac, N.Y.
9. Travis Bruno, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
10. Danny Sullivan, Morrisonville, N.Y.
Versatile Trailer Sales Renegade (25 laps)
1. Joe Warren, West Chazy, N.Y.
2. Rob Gordon, Milton
3. Josh Terry, Morrisonville, N.Y.
4. Keith Pelkey, Clintonville, N.Y.
5. Nick Heywood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
NAPA Mini-Modified (15 laps)
1. Billy Thwatis, Clintonville, N.Y.
2. Rick Doner, AuSable Forks, N.Y.
3. Dustin Duvall, Keeseville, N.Y.
4. Justin Doner, Keeseville, N.Y.
5. Chris LaVair, Gabriels, N.Y.
Monster Energy Bomber (15 laps)
1. Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2. Bill Joyal, AuSable Forks, N.Y.
3. Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y.
4. Jayson Blondo, Champlain, N.Y.
5. Josh Lavarnway, Morrisonville, N.Y.
(PHOTOS: 1. Martin Roy celebrates his fifth Modified win of the season; 2. Bucko Branham -- sans bodywork -- in Sportsman victory lane. Photos by Justin St. Louis/VMM)