Plattsburgh Bucko Branham had one of his biggest nights of what’s becoming a very memorable season Saturday night at Airborne Speedway. The Plattsburgh driver of the Bud Lite/Liquor & Wine Warehouse No. 20 won the USA/Canada Limited Late Model Masters Series “4-20’s” event convincingly, posting two wins, a 4th and a 2nd in the four 20-lap sprints in which the line-up was inverted after each segment.
Branham earned his sixth overall win of the season with a total score of 8 points, five points better than runner-up Steve Cote of Bizard, Quebec, the current Series point leader. Robin Wood of Plattsburgh placed third over Maxime Pelletier by virtue of the tie-breaker rule of having the better 4th-segment finish.
Cote won the final segment, but Branham breezed by the rest of the field to make Cote’s final effort insufficient. Branham won a caution-filled, full-body contact opening segment that started 26 cars with Cote second and Martin Goulet third.
Jamy Begor won the second segment in a photo finish over Wood, but in the third segment, he narrowly survived a bout with an infield light pole that swayed when he hit. Branham swooped Jean-Francois Bouvrette late in the third segment for second 20-lap win.
Pat McGrail of Candiac, Quebec, struck for win number three by overtaking Kris Vernold on lap 23 of the 30-lap Ernie’s Discount Tools Modified feature. Vernold held up under pressure from point leader Todd Stone to claim runner-up honors. Greg Atkins and Roger Labreche were a close fourth and fifth respectively.
McGrail appeared to have the race finally in hand when the second yellow of the race came out as the final lap was about to start. A single file restart followed and McGrail got home free while Vernold was being swarmed by Stone.
McGrail’s win unofficially trimmed Stone’s point lead to 14 points.