BARRE, Vt. – Nick Sweet may have gone an entire season without a win in weekly competition at Thunder Road International Speedbowl, but the 2010 track champion has been lights-out in ACT Late Model Tour racing at the quarter-mile.
Sweet played the pit strategy game to perfection, taking the lead with 13 laps to go en route to winning the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 on Sunday afternoon. Sweet, who had the freshest tires on the race track over the final quarter of the race, drove around Joey Polewarczyk Jr. shortly after the race's final restart.
"The guys, they called it perfect. They said, 'It's time to come and pit,'" Sweet said. "Man, it was awesome. It was so much fun."
The victory came in just the second start of the season for Sweet with RPM Motorsports. His win in the ACT Merchants Bank 150 back in May came while driving for his own team.
"I thought we'd do it the first time," Sweet joked in Victory Lane, when he was asked about winning so soon in the No. 57 RPM Racing Engines Ford.
Polewarczyk, who had pitted after losing track position to a rough-driving penalty early in the event, had to settle for second. Scott Payea was third.
"Last year, we didn't pit in this race, and we didn't end up very good," Polewarczyk said. "But we had a good points day, and this is a good finish."
John Donahue led the first 168 laps from the pole, but the multi-time winner in Thunder Road's weekly ranks opted not to pit and faded to fourth. Austin Theriault, who posted his fourth-straight Top-5 finish in a Late Model, was fifth after starting back in 25th.
There were 13 cautions which slowed the event.
The worst luck of the day went to seven-time ACT champion Brian Hoar. Hoar started 22nd and had worked into the Top-10 before being caught up in an incident in front of him involving Patrick Laperle and Jamie Fisher on the backstretch.
Another spin later, Hoar was relegated to a 16th. It was his first finish in 10 races of worse than sixth. By starting the final two races of the season, Hoar is virtually assured his record eighth ACT championship.