CARIBOU — Frenchville native Shawn Martin won the third annual Spud 150 race for the second time in a row at Spud Speedway under gray skies Saturday.
St. John Valley drivers have dominated the Spud 150 with Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault winning the inaugural race in 2009 and Martin taking the last two.
“The race was one of the best Late Model Sportsman races this year at our track,” said track owner Troy Haney. “The fans got a good show with Andy Saunders of Ellsworth giving Martin all he could handle.”
Saunders took the lead from Martin just before the mandatory race stoppage at lap 75, taking the $200 bonus for leading at the halfway point.
A field inversion then took place, forcing both Martin and Saunders to battle their way back to the front. Martin held onto the lead and brought his Bombardier Recreation Products Late Model across the stripe ahead of Saunders by a little over a car length.
“I am really excited to repeat as the Spud 150 winner,” said Martin, who now lives in Turner. “The competition was very good, especially Andy Saunders in the No. 01 car.
“Andy had the lead at the halfway mark and we knew we needed to step up our game if we wanted to repeat. We made some adjustments that made our car the car to beat in the second 75 laps.”
Martin added that he was also impressed with Connor Thibeau of Fort Fairfield.
“With a little more seat time he will be hard to beat,” Martin said.
“Connor was right there all evening with Andy and Shawn,” said car owner Keith Thibeau. “It seemed that they had more pull on the straights and the Thibeau Farms Ford would catch them in the corners. The finish was close with Martin winning by a car length or so over Saunders and we were right on Saunders rear bumper.”
Thibeau added, “We attribute our success to good equipment, set up time at Distance Racing and good notes, plus Connor is getting more and more experience behind the wheel after moving up from the Fast Four division.”
This is the first full season racing Late Models for Connor Thibeau, 17-year-old Fort Fairfield High School senior. Before the race Thibeau was awarded the John Phippen Late Model Sportsmanship Award.
In other racing the “Best of the Best” Super Streets title was clinched by Hermon’s Kris Watson after his second-place finish in the 20-lap feature. Another Fort Fairfield teenager, Dillon MacDougal, won the race.
Keith Thibeau II won the Fast Fours feature, automatically qualifying him for the Long John 4 cylinder race at Unity on Oct. 9.