PLATTSBURGH — Kris Vernold of Kingsbury, the 2011 Modified Rookie of the Year, broke out of a season-long sophomore jinx with a stirring career–first victory in the Ernie’s Discount Tools 30-lap Modified main event Saturday at Airborne Speedway.
Vernold held off a strong charge from Pat McGrail after a caution flag on lap 21 wiped out his 10 car-length lead. McGrail, second in points on the year, was glued to Vernold’s Emcor Services No. 97 the rest of the way, but chose not to force the issue.
Adam Bartemy finished third after contesting the lead for the first half of the race. Vernold started on the pole and led every lap, sometimes by the width of a wheel. Aaron Bartemy rallied late for fourth – one spot ahead of point leader Todd Stone.
“I used up a little track at the end,” Vernold admitted, “but he (McGrail) has an excellent car and I wanted this one bad. We got a little lucky at times last year. This year it’s been all bad. We had a broken rear end last week.”
George Foley, Greg Atkins, Andy Heywood, Todd Ormsby and Patrick Dupree finished 6-10. Dupree had to roll out a back-up car after losing a transmission in qualifying.
Bucko Branham benefitted from a late caution that brought him within striking distance of Shawn Duquette with two laps remaining in the J&S Steel Limited Late Model feature. He took the lead a lap later and went on to win for the fifth time this season. Duquette was second, followed by Danny Sullivan, Robin Wood and Dave Rabtoy.
Renegade Josh Terry of
Morrisonville landed his Smithfield Liquor/Adirondack Transmission No. 43 in victory lane for the third time after getting tested by his brother Tylor (second) for 15 laps. Joe Warren beat Lance Rabtoy to the line by a foot to claim third place. Jason McClatchie completed the top five.
Erick Sayles took advantage of the extra-distance 25-lap Busch Mini Modified feature to post his fifth win. After the normal 15 laps, Sayles sat sixth, but a restart on lap 17 improved his chances and he took the lead from Josh Lavarnway a lap later. Rob Clark wound up second. Jayson Criss, Ty Drown and Josh LaPorte finshed 3-4-5.
Lonnie Rivers of Cadyville tightened up the Adirondack Water Sportsman Modified title chase with his third win, besting Travis Bruno, point leader Nick Heywood, Joe Daniels and Jessey Meuller.