Seventeen-year-old Stephen Donahue of Graniteville was not to be denied at Thunder Road on Thursday, August 13 as he took the overall win in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen Twin 50s on U.S. Army Recruiting Night.
The rookie won the first 50-lap feature after Wolcott’s Brendan Moodie blew a right-front tire while racing with Donahue coming to the white flag. But Donahue had a right front of his own go down on lap 12 of the second feature after contact with point leader Jason Woodard.
Undeterred, Donahue stormed through the field, eventually grabbing the second position on the final lap for a winning overall score of three points. It was the second win of the year for the third-generation driver.
“Woodard came down a little on me, and I just lost my temper,” Donahue said of the incident that set him back. “I kept driving it in, and I deserved what I got. My dad (John) calmed me down in the pits, and I went back out, and once I got the new right front heated up, the car was great from then on out.
“This win means a lot more to me than the first one,” he added. “Anytime you win is great, but when you can start from the back and move to the front, even when you don’t win, that’s the best feeling in the world to me.”
The race was a wild affair, with nine cautions in the first segment and 13 overall. The carnage led to wild swings in position throughout the night, with multiple cars going from the front the back, then back to the front again.
Milton’s Dylan Payea took second overall after finishing second in the first segment and fourth in the second segment. Joe Steffen was third with 10 points followed by Christopher Pelkey and Kyle Streeter, who was making his first Tiger Sportsman start at Thunder Road. Second-segment winner Moodie, Woodard, Mike Billado, Shawn Fleury, and Brian Delphia completed the top 10.