ETCHED IN STONE: Todd Stone Airborne Champion
Posted By Tj Ingerson On September 2, 2012
PHOTO: Todd Stone received a celebratory champagne bath from his crew after his third place finish netted him the 2012 Airborne DIRTcar Modified championship (Ricky St. Clair/VMM photo)
Patrick Dupree claims Mike Watts Memorial 50
--by Ricky St. Clair
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- Patrick Dupree may have won Saturday night’s 30-lap DIRTcar Modified battle, but Todd Stone collected the 2012 track championship by edging-out Patrice McGrail in the season long war.
Stone became the first Vermont driver since Bill Sawyer in 2004 to win a title at Airborne Speedway in the headline division. The Middlebury, Vt., native finished one spot off the back bumper of Patrice McGrail, who entered the racing card 10-points behind Stone in the point standings.
“At the beginning of the season, we were not going to run here full-time,” Stone said. “We were going to run Mohawk (International Raceway) and then we started off the season with two second’s in a row. It’s just too much running two night’s a week. I decided we’d run here full-time and I’m glad we did.”
According to Airborne Speedway promoter Mike Perrotte, Stone became the first driver in Airborne’s 59-year history to win a championship and complete every individual lap in a heat race and feature event during competition.
“You know, I didn’t know that until a couple of weeks ago when somebody told me that,” Stone said. “We prepared a good car, stayed out of the wrecks, and capped it off here. I had Lady Luck on my side, I guess.”
Controversy surrounded a lap 45 caution period in the 50-lap event when chief starter Butch Hendrie inadvertently flipped the red light high atop the flag stand, sending the entire 22-car field scrambling. Race control elected to throw a yellow flag following the blunder.
“I saw the red light, but at that point I was running third, so I just stayed in (the throttle),” Stone said. “I wish the green flag would’ve stayed out because I would have liked to maneuver up there and chase those guys to see what I could’ve done, but the caution came out and that’s fine.”
When asked if the newly crowned champion would return to Airborne for weekly competition in 2013, Stone chuckled and responded with a bold statement.
“Todd Stone will return to Airborne with a new car built by Lou Cicconi, so they better watch out next year,” Stone said.
McGrail, who couldn’t escape the clutches of Stone, managed to finish in the runner-up spot and six-points out of the championship spot.
“I knew that Todd would be inside the top-five all race, so I knew I’d have to win or either finish second,” McGrail said. “I had a good car tonight and we as a team had a great season. I’m debating whether or not I want to retire, but we will be at Syracuse (Super DIRT Week) next month. There’s a 50-50 chance I’ll return to Airborne next season.”
Pierre Berthiaume and early race leader Leon Gonyo rounded out the top-five. Aaron Bartemy, Roger Labreche, Kris Vernold, Adam Bartemy, and Richard Tissuer completed the unofficial top-10.
The Modifieds return to the Plattsburgh half-mile next Saturday and Sunday for three (3) 50-lap segments touted as the “Modified Shootout.” The event will feature a Monza-style format.
“Little” Joe Daniels of Saranac, N.Y., picked up his first career Sportsman Modified feature by defeating Keeseville, N.Y., driver Jamie LaFountain and six-time feature winner Nick Heywood. Daniels experienced a significant amount of bad luck over the duration of the summer, but walked away with the win by 0.570-seconds at the start-finish line.
Joe Warren of West Chazy, N.Y., picked up his third win of the season in a 25-lap Renegade feature that showcased flag-to-flag racing.
Warren solidified himself in the top spot after passing early race leader Curt Seymour on lap seven. The number two point man was forced to hold off a hard-charging Lance Rabtoy, who drove through the field from his twelfth-place starting position and ended up in the runner-up spot.
Rabtoy, Kevin Boutin, Jason McClatchie, and Mark Caron rounded out the top-five. Positions six through ten were credited to Richie Turner, Seymour, Brian Criss, Josh Terry, and Robert Gordon. Warren unofficially closed Boutin’s point lead to 23-markers heading into the final points-counting event of the racing schedule next weekend.
Keeseville, N.Y., competitor Rob Clark registered the victory in the 15-lap Mini-Modified feature. Rob Sines of Dannemora, N.Y., and Peru, N.Y., driver Josh LaPorte concluded the night’s podium finishers.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS --Choice Furniture/Bimbo Bakeries/Precision Auto Body/Signs Now Night
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
DIRTcar Modifieds (50 laps)
1. Patrick Dupree, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
2. Patrice McGrail, Candiac, Que.
3. Todd Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
4. Pierre Berthiaume, Joliette, Que.
5. Leon Gonyo, Chazy, N.Y.
6. Aaron Bartemy, Champlain, N.Y.
7. Roger Labreche, St-Leonard, Que.
8. Kris Vernold, Kingsbury, N.Y.
9. Adam Bartemy, Sheldon, Vt.
10. Richard Tissuer, Chateaugay, Que.
Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps)
1. Joe Daniels, Saranac, N.Y.
2. Jamie LaFountain, Keeseville, N.Y.
3. Nick Heywood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
4. Travis Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
5. Eric Lauziere, Drummondville, Que.
Renegades (25 laps)
1. Joe Warren, West Chazy, N.Y.
2. Lance Rabtoy, Fairfax, Vt.
3. Kevin Boutin, Fairfax, Vt.
4. Jason McClatchie, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. Mark Caron, Peru, N.Y.
6. Richie Turner, Fairfax, Vt.
7. Curt Seymour, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
8. Brian Criss, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
9. Josh Terry, Essex, N.Y.
10. Robert Gordon, Milton, Vt.
Mini-Modifieds (15 laps)
1. Rob Clark, Keeseville, N.Y.
2. Rob Sines, Dannemora, N.Y.
3. Josh LaPorte, Peru, N.Y.
4. Erick Sayles, Lake Placid, N.Y.
5. Jim Collins, Morrisonville, N.Y.