West Haven, VT – Milton, VT’s Brent Dragon proved himself as one of the greats in the most dramatic race of the year at the Vermont State Championship Series finale at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday, September 16. Chip Grenier finished a heart-breaking second, and the Mad River Valley’s Brooks Clark stole third in the closing laps.
Grenier shot to the lead in the early going, working around pole sitter Clark to gain the lead on the third lap of the event, but third-place point man Dragon stole it away from him on the eleventh circuit. Dragon’s lead was short lived when 7-time American Canadian Tour Champion Jean Paul Cyr worked to the front, where the pair survived 7 of the first 9 cautions on the front row together. While Dragon fought for the lead, tied point leaders Sweet and Pembroke struggled.
On lap 30, the championship battle whittled as Sweet took a spin off the top of turn one, relegating him to last on the grid. Dragon was in it for the win, and Pembroke had to finish fourth or better to be the first Vermont State Championship in 25 years.
At lap 41, the game changed when Jean Paul Cyr dropped a tire over the edge of the backstretch, spraying dirt everywhere and losing control of his car. Cyr swerved back and forth, avoiding traffic and trying to recover, finally making the epic save when he had fallen to seventh. Grenier inherited the lead on Cyr’s rare mistake.
As the laps ticked on by, Pembroke began to fall away from the top four that now rain nose to tail. Grenier and Dragon at the front, and rookie sensation Emily Packard trying to hold off the 8-time American Canadian Tour Champion Brian Hoar, who had started 27th on the starting grid after being disqualified out of his heat. With three laps to go, desperation set in for the line of four as they raced for valuable championship points, and another champion made a rare mistake. Hoar locked up his brakes accidentally going into turn one, and 2012 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Champion Craig Bushey, with no room to stop, hit Hoar and sent him head long into Packard. It was the end of a brilliant day for Packard and Bushey, and Hoar would have to start from the rear.
The restart brought Dragon and Grenier together on the front row for a three-lap shootout, Grenier choosing to start from the outside lane. The pair battled door to door, the Devil’s Bowl crowd on their feet, as Grenier inched to the lead on the outside. Dragon dove beneath him one last time on the final corner and pulled beside him coming to the line. Grenier was unofficially declared the winner by 13 hundredths of a second, and took his victory lap.
But it was not meant to be, as Grenier had his trophy in victory lane, Devil’s Bowl Officials looked at video replay. The crowd erupted after a short delay, when Officials reversed the call and deemed Dragon the winner. Pembroke, with his fourth place finish, unofficially claimed the Vermont State Championship by 1 point over Dragon. Matt White finished fifth, and Trampas Demers, Nick Sweet, Eric Chase, Brian Hoar, and young Joey M. Laquerre completed the top ten. The race was completed in 1 hour, 1 minute, and 26 seconds.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to race with anyone else,” said Dragon in victory lane. “We were slipping and sliding, battling all over the place and I was glad it was Chip. I guess that was a pretty great finish,” he said excitedly.
Invited ACT Championship Cars will now head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH this Saturday, September 22 for the Bond Auto ACT Invitational. Then, ACT Late Models from around the region will head to the biggest race in Vermont history at the 50th People’s United Bank Milk Bowl for a purse worth over $120,000.
Vermont 100 Unofficial Results
Vermont State Championship Series
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, VT
Sunday, September 16, 2012
1. (3) Brent Dragon, Milton, VT 100 Laps
2. (2) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT 100 Laps
3. (1) Brooks Clark, Fayston, VT 100 Laps
4. (7) Dave Pembroke, Middlesex, VT 100 Laps
5. (14) Matt White, Northfield, VT 100 Laps
6. (22) Trampas Demers, S. Burlington, VT 100 Laps
7. (12) Nick Sweet, Barre, VT 100 Laps
8. (15) Eric Chase, Milton, VT 100 Laps
9. (26) Brian Hoar, Williston, VT 100 Laps
10. (24) Joey M. Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT 100 Laps
11. (4) Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT 100 Laps
12. (8) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT 99 Laps
13. (13) Bryan Town, Charlestown, NH 99 Laps
14. (11) Ricky Rolfe, Albany Twp, ME 99 Laps
15. (17) Guy Caron, Lempster, NH 99 Laps
16. (19) Robert Bryant, Jr., Brooklyn, CT 99 Laps
17. (18) #Daniel Petronis II, Mechanicville, NY 99 Laps
18. (23) Chad White, Fort Ann, NY 98 Laps
19. (5) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, VT 97 Laps
20. (9) Craig Bushey, Fairfax, VT 97 Laps
21. (20) Kevin Elliott, Rutland, VT 83 Laps
22. (16) Hunter Bates, Pittsford, VT 75 Laps
23. (10) Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, VT 66 Laps
24. (6) Jim Morris, Barre, VT 54 Laps
25. (25) Joey Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT 30 Laps
26. (21) Norm Andrews, Northfield, VT 23 Laps
Lap Leaders: Brooks Clark (1-2), Chip Grenier (3-10), Brent Dragon (11-16),
Jean Paul Cyr (17-41), Grenier (42-99), Dragon (100)
Time of Race: 1:01:26
Margin of Victory: .013 seconds
Cautions: 9 (Laps 10, 10, 11, 15, 24, 30, 30, 97, 98)
Heat Winners: Jean Paul Cyr, Dave Pembroke, Jamie Fisher
Consi Winners: Eric Chase