Waterbury’s Kelsea Woodard drives her No. 55 car during a race at Thunder Road.

BARRE – Victory Lane was the site of an impromptu family gathering at Thunder Road on Friday night.

Waterbury’s Jason and Kelsea Woodard were the stars of a high-speed Daddy-Daughter Dance in the 75-lap  Flying Tigers feature. They finished first and third, respectively, in the main event of the night. The race was the first round in the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series.

East Calais driver Tyler Austin led the opening 22 laps from the pole position, but Kelsea Woodard – who graduates from Harwood Union High School on Saturday – waged a side-by-side war with Austin and traded the lead with him no less than four times near the one-third mark of the race. Austin benefited from a caution at lap 27 that stalled the younger Woodard’s progress, and he regained the lead for the next 20 circuits.

But that’s when her father hit the afterburners. Jason Woodard blasted his way around the outside to pass both his daughter and Austin in back-to-back laps, taking command with 47 laps complete. A final caution period with eight laps remaining proved to be no challenge for him, and he held off late-charging Hardwick driver Jaden Perry for the win. Kelsea Woodard finished third.

“She’s a tough runner. I’m so proud of my kids,” Jason Woodard said, also noting big improvement from his son Tanner, a Street Stock rookie. “Kelsea graduates Saturday, and she’s a hard worker. She’s so structured, and she’s gonna be good. And Tanner is doing a heck of a job. He had some tough luck at the end of his race, but it was a good night. It’s all I could ask for. I think we made history here tonight as the first dad and daughter in victory lane together.”

Kevin Streeter made a rally in the final stages of the race to finish fourth, while Austin faded to fifth place. Rookie Stephen Martin had a solid outing in sixth place ahead of Jason Pelkey, Kevin Boutin, Mike Martin, Robert Gordon and Cooper Bouchard.

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