Brooks Clark holds up the granite trophy for winning the 43rd Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road. (Alan Ward photo)
Brooks Clark holds up the granite trophy for winning the 43rd Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road. (Alan Ward photo)

Clark Banks Labor Day Classic Prize

BARRE, Vt. — Brooks Clark continued his rise among the American-Canadian Tour elite by pulling the season sweep at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl on Sunday.

Clark took the lead from Derek O’Donnell with 23 laps remaining in the 43rd Optical Expressions Berlin Labor Day Classic 200 and never gave it up to bank the $5,000 top prize that came with the victory.

The win came four months after Clark captured the Community Bank N.A. 150 on Thunder Road’s opening day. For sweeping the season series, Clark will take home more than $9,000 in combined purse money and contingency awards.

O’Donnell had led the event ever since a lap-three caution for Kyle Pembroke’s turn three slide for life. After he had gotten the lead from polesitter Matt White, O’Donnell and Jimmy Hebert led a breakaway from the field until Gabe Brown tagged Jason Corliss to bring out the caution with 69 laps complete. Two more quick yellows followed, which culminated with a turn-three melee involving Cody Blake, Tyler Cahoon, and Cooper Bouchard on lap 84.

Those yellows allowed Christopher Pelkey, Bobby Therrien, and Clark to enter the conversation. O’Donnell kept all of them in his rear view mirror until the next caution on lap 118 when ACT point leader D.J. Shaw with a flat right front tire. Therrien was one of a handful of cars to gamble on taking fresh right-side tires during the caution. However, the move backfired as Therrien got tangled up with Jimmy Renfrew Jr. and Derek Gluchacki on the backstretch seven laps later.

Following the seventh caution on lap 134 for another hard wreck that saw White climb the turn one wall, things got serious at the front. With laps winding down and the potential for rain, Herbert gave it all he had on the outside while Clark put the heat on down low. Once his bid for the lead failed, Hebert was initially able to get in line with the second spot — until Clark pinned him behind a lapped car a few circuits later.

Clark then set his sights on O’Donnell. He first looked to the outside with 35 to go, keeping a fender alongside for several laps before having to drop back. After gathering himself for another charge, Clark ducked beneath O’Donnell coming off turn four to complete the 177th circuit. O’Donnell tried to slam the door entering turn one, but Clark kept his foot in, and O’Donnell ended up sideways. Clark backed off enough for O’Donnell to regain control and then scooted through to the top spot.

Behind them, Pelkey had been able to get past Hebert for third. He then took a try inside O’Donnell — but broke loose with 16 laps to go and spun to bring out the final caution. Hebert stuck the nose inside O’Donnell on the restart for second, but by the time he had gotten clear for the spot, Clark was already gone. Corliss then snaked past O’Donnell and got into a side-by-side battle with Hebert for second, which sealed the deal for Clark.

Hebert fended off Corliss to take the runner-up spot, which continued his late-season rebirth on the ACT Tour. O’Donnell settled for fourth with Scott Dragon fifth. Darrell Morin, Pembroke, Pelkey, Shaw, and Marcel J. Gravel completed the top-10.

Colin Cornell snapped a long winless streak with a victory in the 40-lap Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger feature.  

The RK Miles Street Stocks ran a pair of 25-lap features to make up for a rainout earlier this season. In the double-purse feature to start the night, Jamie Davis pulled a checkers and wreckers to snag his 13th career Street Stock victory.

In the regularly-scheduled Labor Day feature, Michael Gay did himself one better by picking up the win after finishing second in the first feature.  

Rodney Campbell capped the program with his first Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warrior victory.

The finish:

Brooks Clark, Jimmy Hebert, Jason Corliss, Derek O’Donnell, Scott Dragon, Darrell Morin, Kyle Pembroke, Christopher Pelkey, D.J. Shaw, Marcel J. Gravel, Ben Rowe, Bobby Therrien, Tom Carey III, Shawn Swallow, Brendan Moodie, Erick Sands, Matt Anderson, Cooper Bouchard, Brandon Lanphear, Matt White, Tyler Cahoon, Jimmy Renfrew Jr., Derek Gluchacki, Cody Blake, Gabe Brown, Chip Grenier, Jesse Switser, Stephen Donahue.

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