Contributed by: ACT Staff
Jason Bonnett, winner of Blacktop 100, the second race in the Series, was next in line to take a shot at the freshman racer as he joined Sweet on the front row for the restart. But the St. Albans, VT racer got loose allowing Chip Grenier from Northfield, VT to dive into second one lap later. Grenier was unable to capitalize on his position and mount a challenge in spite of three additional caution periods, all for minor spins. Ironically, the second turn, the site of the trio of yellow flags, as well as another later in the 50-lap race, proved to be the downfall for several racers as their cars failed to negotiate the corner and slid off the track.
Preventing Grenier taking a serious shot at leader Sweet was a group of veterans including, Vermont racers Joe Steffen and Ray Stearns, as well as Jamy Begor from NY and MA runner Chris Curtis, who filled his rearview mirror. Steffen, shadowed Grenier for several laps before making his move on the 30th circuit into the runner-up spot. Stearns was able to make his pass one lap later which moved Grenier, the winner of the Ferguson Waterworks 50 one month ago, back to fourth.
The final caution, on the 32nd lap, put rookie Sweet and former Thunder Road Sportsman Champion, Steffen side-by-side. When the green flew for the final time, the youngster left the veteran in his dust and pulled away for his first career Sportsman Series win. Steffen, who had started 10th, was second. Stearns crossed the line in third after coming from 13th in the field. Sportsman Series point leader Shawn Fleury made a late race charge to capture fourth and retain his position atop the standings. Grenier completed the top five.
"I've got to thank my crew," an exuberant Sweet gushed in Victory Lane, "They gave me a perfect car. We hadn't even been able to finish in the (Series) top ten before today. I guess all of our hard work has paid off."
Steffen, of Essex Jct, VT was gracious to his team as well, "We haven't had the best season so far, but these guys never gave up. It paid off Thursday night (at Thunder Road) and we ran good again here tonight."
The ACT Sportsman Series returns to the Canaan Fair Speedway for the final time this year on Saturday, August 6 for the NH National Guard 50 before moving to White Mountain Motorsports Park, a quarter-mile semi-banked oval in N Woodstock, NH for the Kancamaugus 100, the seventh race of the Series. The last event of 2005 for the Sportsman Series competitors is the REMAX Alliance 50 at Lee USA Speedway (Lee, NH) on September 25.