Archive for the 'Thunder Road' Category

Michaud, Malone Purchase Thunder Road Speedbowl

Barre, VT — Thunder Road officials have announced that the sale of Thunder Road Speedbowl to former racer Cris Michaud and local businessman Pat Malone has been completed. The duo has assumed day-to-day operations of the famed quarter-mile oval, which had been owned and operated since 1982 by Ken Squier and Tom Curley.

Michaud is a three-time “King of the Road” and has spent 22 years at and around the high banks as a driver and race director. Malone is the owner of Malone Properties, a Montpelier-based commercial real estate company that has sponsored a number of Thunder Road race teams in previous seasons.

Both had previously explored purchasing the race track separately before joining forces. The two will be equal partners in the track, with Michaud in charge of racing operations and Malone overseeing facility management.
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Griffith has Busy PASS Slate

Derek Griffith of Hudson, NH will pursue a pair of Super Late Model championships in the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) this season.  Griffith will return for his sophomore PASS North season and the complete PASS National schedule.

“I’d love to win some races, redeem myself in the Oxford 250,” Griffith said.

Griffith will be making his first visit to Canadian and southern tracks Autodrome Montmagny, Dillon, Hickory, Orange County, and Speedway 660.

“We seem to excel at tracks we have not been too. I love running at new tracks! Super excited to run over the border and down south!”

Continue reading ‘Griffith has Busy PASS Slate’

2017 ACT Late Model Tour Schedule Announced

2017 ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
Event Day Date Track Location Laps
1 Sa/Sn April 8/9 Lee USA Lee, NH 150
2 Sa/Sn April 29/30 Thunder Road Barre, VT 150
3 Sunday, May 7 Devil’s Bowl West Haven, VT 100
4 Saturday, June 17 White Mountain N. Woodstock, NH 150
5 Saturday, July 15 Seekonk Seekonk, MA 100
6 Saturday, August 5 Beech Ridge Scarborough, ME 100
7 Saturday, August 19 White Mountain N. Woodstock, NH 100
8 Sunday, September 3 Thunder Road Barre, VT 200
9 Sunday, September 10 Devil’s Bowl – VT 200 weekend West Haven, VT TBA
10 Saturday, October 14 Thompson Thompson, CT 75

Continue reading ‘2017 ACT Late Model Tour Schedule Announced’

Sweet Repeat in Northfield Savings Bank 54th Vermont Milk Bowl

Barre, VT – Nick Sweet of Barre successfully defended his title in the Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl at Thunder Road, using a pair of wins in the three 50-lap segments to claim a two-point victory in the combined standings over Jason Corliss of Barre. It was the third Thunder Road Late Model Sportsmen Milk Bowl victory of Sweet’s career.

Corliss needed to finish within three positions of Sweet in the final race to earn the victory. He had a chance to move into fourth place, and claim the Milk Bowl crown, in the final laps of the third race, but couldn’t find his way through traffic and ended up in seventh place in the segment, and second place overall.

Trampas Demers of South Burlington finished in third place, and was followed in the top 10 by Cody Blake of Barre, Kyle Pembroke of Montpelier, 2016 King of the Road Scott Dragon of Milton, Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, Scott Payea of Milton, Shawn Fleury of Middlesex, and Alex Labbe of St-Albert, Quebec.
Continue reading ‘Sweet Repeat in Northfield Savings Bank 54th Vermont Milk Bowl’

Polewarczyk on Pole for 54th Vermont Milk Bowl

Barre, VT – Former Milk Bowl winner Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. of Hudson, NH gave himself a head start on a second crown by earning the Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Pole Award at Barre’s Thunder Road on Saturday, October 1 for Sunday’s 54thVermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank.

The 2014 ACT Late Model Tour champion circled the ¼-mile high banks in 13.169 seconds during time trials, earning himself a $1,000 bonus from Booth Bros. and H.P. Hood in the process. Hinesburg, VT’s Bobby Therrien will start on his outside after turning a fast lap of 13.224 seconds.

Two-time and defending Vermont Milk Bowl winner Nick Sweet of Barre, VT will start third after winning the first of two 50-lap qualifying races. Sweet came out on top of a back-and-forth battle with former Milk Bowl pole sitter Trampas Demers, taking the lead for good on the race’s final restart with three laps remaining.

Continue reading ‘Polewarczyk on Pole for 54th Vermont Milk Bowl’

Martin Takes Triple 25’s, Morris Wins Late Models On Cody Chevrolet Night

Barre, VT – Mike Martin of Craftsbury Common won two segments to claim the Tiger Triple 25’s on Cody Chevrolet Night, while Boomer Morris of Barre made a late move to earn the win in the Thunder Road Late Models.

Martin’s victory was his third of the season in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen division. Mark Barnier of Essex Jct. finished tied with Martin on overall points with 13 each after the three segments, but Martin earned the tiebreaker, and the victory, based on his better finish in segment three.

Brendan Moodie of Wolcott, Jason Woodard of Waterbury Ctr., Cameron Ouellette of Barre,  Mike Billado of Essex, Eric Johnson of Randolph Ctr., Joe Steffen of Grand Isle, Stephen Donahue of Graniteville, and Matt Potter of Plainfield rounded out the top 10.

Continue reading ‘Martin Takes Triple 25’s, Morris Wins Late Models On Cody Chevrolet Night’

Dragon Claims Checkers On WDEV/Calkins Portable Toilet Night

Barre, VT – Patience was a virtue for Scott Dragon on WDEV/Calkins Portable Toilet Night. The Milton driver, who started 17th in the 22-car field, took over the lead with 12 laps to go and pulled away for the win in the 85-lap Thunder Road Late Model feature.

The early part of the event belonged to Eric Badore of Milton, who took over the lead from Darrell Morin of Westford on a 20th-lap restart. Badore opened up 10-car length lead as Morin and Cody Blake of Barre waged a side-by-side battle for second place for over 40 laps. Dragon finally moved into the top three on the 63rd lap, quickly overtook Phil Scott of Middlesex for second, then claimed the lead from Badore on lap 74.

Scott finished second, with Badore third. Nick Sweet of Barre, Jason Corliss of Barre, Kyle Pembroke of Montpelier, Blake, Trampas Demers of S. Burlington, Tyler Cahoon of Danville, and Mike Bailey of South Barre rounded out the top 10.

Continue reading ‘Dragon Claims Checkers On WDEV/Calkins Portable Toilet Night’

Fleury Feeling Fit On CVMC ExpressCARE Night

Barre, VT – Shawn Fleury of Middlesex led from start to finish to pick up his first victory of the season in the Thunder Road Late Models on CVMC ExpressCARE Night.

Starting on the pole, Fleury jumped into an immediate lead over rookie Marcel Gravel of Wolcott, who started on the outside of the front row. Fleury widened his margin as Gravel and veteran Dave Whitcomb of Essex Jct. battled side-by-side for second place. Gravel, who led 38 laps of last week’s feature before falling victim to handling problems late in the race, held onto second, while Whitcomb finished third.

There were no yellow flags in the 50-lap event, and the top three ran away from the rest of the field, which was bottled up behind a battle for fourth place between Jason Allen of Barre and Matt White of Northfield. Allen crossed the finish line in fourth, but was disqualified after failing post-race inspection. Phil Scott of Middlesex, Nick Sweet of Barre, Scott Dragon of Milton, Tyler Cahoon of Danville, Jason Corliss of Barre, White, and Kyle Pembroke of Montpelier rounded out the top 10.

Continue reading ‘Fleury Feeling Fit On CVMC ExpressCARE Night’

Lightning Fast PASS Super Late Models Return To Thunder Road This Weekend

NAPLES, ME (May 25) – After a thrilling debut last year, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North Super Late Models are set to return to Vermont’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl this Sunday afternoon at 1:30 PM.  In addition to 150 laps for New England’s fastest racers, the 54th Annual Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic will feature 100 laps for Thunder Road’s ACT Late Models, plus the PASS Modifieds, Street Stocks, and Tigers.

Center Conway, NH’s DJ Shaw has had a solid start to the 2016 PASS North season, currently sitting second in points on the strength of a win in the Southern Maine Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.  While Shaw is happy with his results so far, the 2014 PASS North champion believes he and his team can be even better.

I think we’ve gotten off to a decent start this season, we’ve had a little bit of inconsistency that we need to work on, but we got a win early and that’s always good,” says Shaw, driver of the HK Powersports/Mulkern Excavating #60.

In PASS North’s first ever trip to Thunder Road International Speedbowl last season, Shaw was a picture of consistency as he challenged eventual winner, Joey Doiron for the checkered flag.  Shaw hopes to turn the tables on Sunday afternoon as he looks to recapture the championship points lead from Mike Hopkins.

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Thunder Road Announces Thirty-seven Thousand Dollar Point Fund

Waterbury, VT – Thunder Road International Speedbowl announces the continuation of a thirty-seven thousand ($37,000.00) point fund program for their weekly competitors’ 2016 season. Started in 2014, the three divisions – ACT Late Models, Bond Auto Tigers, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks – have enjoyed one of the largest weekly point funds in the country.

The Thunder Road Late Model Champion is awarded $7,500.00 at the end of the season. The top 15 positions in both the Late Model and Tiger divisions battle throughout the race season for positions in the point standings. The Late Models receive a total payout of $25,000.00; the Tiger division has a total of over $7,500; the 4-cylinder Street Stock division has a point fund through 20 positions that will pay over $4,400.00 in post season awards.

“Thunder Road has been known for paying some of the best weekly purses around the country, and certainly some of the best point funds. When I was racing the purse for Late Models was around $6,000 on the quarter mile. When you added in the year-end point fund, together it really helped with the expenses to race at the level we raced at. I think the same thing applies to the two other divisions,” said former three time-track champion and current ACT race director, Cris Michaud.

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Weather Forces Postponement of Merchants Bank 150

Rescheduled for Sunday, May 8

Waterbury, VT –The dismal forecast for Sunday, May 1 has forced Thunder Road Speedbowl to postpone the Merchants Bank 150. The race has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 8, post time set for 2:00pm.

More than 40 ACT Late Model teams were expected to try and qualify including defending 2015 ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, NH, along with 2015 Merchants Bank champion Brad Babb and multi-feature winner Nick Sweet.

Almost 70 Late Models, Tiger Sportsman, and Street Stocks lined Main Street in Barre, VT for the annual car show on Saturday, April 30. Race Fans were able to check-out the new race cars and meet the drivers, before the parade up Quarry Hill to the “Nations Site of Excitement”. Drivers were able to get in practice on Saturday and will be ready to go on Sunday, May 8, for the running of the 18th Merchants Bank 150. Continue reading ‘Weather Forces Postponement of Merchants Bank 150’

Excitement Building for Junior Champ Karts at Thunder Road

Barre, VT – Excitement is quickly growing for the return of youth Go-Kart racing at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road in 2016. An informational meeting held on Tuesday, January 19 for the Junior Champ Kart division drew attendance and interest from more than 20 youth competitors and their families throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.

“Everyone at the meeting seemed pretty excited about it,” Thunder Road Race Director Cris Michaud said. “People are really interested in the way that we’re doing it. There won’t be any points awarded, so people can just come out and enjoy racing without the pressure of worrying about points. We think that’s the best way to keep things fun for young competitors.”

The Junior Champ Karts will be open to competitors ages 6 to 14. A 10-event season will run weekly on Tuesday nights at Thunder Road from late June through August, with a Saturday season finale in mid-September.

Continue reading ‘Excitement Building for Junior Champ Karts at Thunder Road’

Kart Racing Set to Return to Thunder Road in 2016

Barre, VT – Thunder Road has announced the formation of a new weekly Go-Kart racing series for the 2016 season. The Junior Champ Kart youth division for competitors ages 6 to 14 will run on Tuesday nights throughout the summer, marking the first time since 2010 that weekly Kart racing will be held on the Barre high banks.

The 10-race series begins on Tuesday, June 21 and will run weekly through Tuesday, August 23, with a one-week holiday break on July 5. The gates will open at 4:30 pm for all Tuesday events with racing beginning at 6:00 pm.

A special event on Saturday, September 10 will close the Karting season. Racing for this event will begin at 1:00 pm with the gates opening at 12:00 pm.
Continue reading ‘Kart Racing Set to Return to Thunder Road in 2016’

ACT Releases 13-Event 2016 Schedule

Waterbury, VT – The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) has announced the release of the 2016 ACT Late Model Tour schedule. The 13-event series will see the Tour visit 12 different tracks in six U.S. states and the province of Quebec as they pursue the $10,000-to-win ACT Championship.

The season will once again kick off with the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 10 and crown the 2016 champion at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway on Saturday, October 15. Other traditional early-season events which have returned include the 18th Merchants Bank 150 at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road on May 1, the Spring Green 116 at Plattsburgh, NY’s Airborne Park Speedway on May 14, and a 100-lap event at Fair Haven, VT’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway on June 4.

The 2016 schedule will again feature three ACT/Pro All Stars Series (PASS) doubleheaders. The two series open the Oxford Plains Speedway racing season on Sunday, April 17. ACT and PASS then travel to Quebec’s Autodrome Montmagny on Saturday, July 23. The 150-lap event is the ACT U.S. Tour’s first visit to the speedway since 1999 and is a combination event with Série ACT.
Continue reading ‘ACT Releases 13-Event 2016 Schedule’

2016 PASS North Schedule Announced

The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North Super Late Model schedule has been announced.

2016 PASS North Super Late Model Schedule
Sat-Sun April 9-10 – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, CT
Sun. April 17 – Oxford Plains Speedway – Oxford, ME
Sat. April 30 – Beech Ridge Motor Speedway – Scarborough, ME
Sat. May 7 – Star Speedway – Epping, NH
Sun. May 15 – Speedway 95 – Bangor, ME
Sun. May 29 – Thunder Road International Speedbowl – Barre, VT
Sat. June 11 – TBA
Fri. June 24 – Lee USA Speedway – Lee, NH
Sat or Sun July 2 or 3 – TBA
Sat. July 9 – Beech Ridge Motor Speedway – Scarborough, ME
Sat. July 23 – Autodrome Montmagny Speedway – Montmagny, PQ
Sat. August 13 – TBA
Fri-Sun August. 26-28 – Oxford Plains Speedway – Oxford, ME The Oxford 250
Fri-Sun Sept. 16-18 – Beech Ridge Motor Speedway – Scarborough, ME
Sat. Oct. 1 – Star Speedway – Epping, NH
Sat. Oct. 15 – Oxford Plains Speedway – Oxford, ME
Dates Subject To Change

Continue reading ‘2016 PASS North Schedule Announced’

O’Donnell, Moodie, Davis Honored at Banquet of Champions

Barre, VT – Thunder Road International Speedbowl honored its 2015 Champions with the annual Banquet of Champions at the Barre Elks Club on Saturday, November 14. Derrick O’Donnell received the top honors for the third consecutive season in the Thunder Road Late Model division, while Brendan Moodie and Jamie Davis earned their first Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen and Allen Lumber Street Stock championships, respectively. 

North Haverhill, NH’s O’Donnell became the second driver in Thunder Road history to win three straight “King of the Road” crowns, joining Chuck Beede’s run from 1992-1994. O’Donnell’s championships came in his first three years in the division. He earned a career-high four wins in 2015, giving him a total of seven for his career. Among the victories was his second Memorial Day Classic triumph as well as a win in the Times Argus Mid-Season Championships. O’Donnell also finished second in the Milk Bowl and third in the Vermont Governor’s Cup. 

Westford’s Darrell Morin received Rookie of the Year honors for the Late Models. Morin won a season-long battle with Scott Coburn for the award.

Continue reading ‘O’Donnell, Moodie, Davis Honored at Banquet of Champions’

Thunder Road Legend Demar Dies after Battle with Cancer

Barre, VT – Thunder Road legend Larry Demar died Thursday, November 12 overnight at his home after a battle with cancer. The Hardwick native made his name at Barre’s Thunder Road as well as its sister track Catamount Stadium in the formative years of both speedways, which included becoming the first driver ever to win all three segments of the Vermont Milk Bowl.

Demar rose to stardom in the early years of the famed Flying Tiger division. He earned the “King of the Road” titles in 1966 and 1967, capping the two-year run by winning the Milk Bowl in 1967. He remains one of only three drivers to sweep the three-segment event in its 53-year history. In addition, he won the Labor Day Classic both years and was the 1966 Memorial Day Classic Champion.

Demar, known as “The Driver for the Common Man”, also found success at Milton’s Catamount Stadium. He was the 1968 track champion and won 19 races at the 1/3-mile oval, including 10 in 1967. Demar totaled 28 career wins between Thunder Road and Catamount, with all of them coming in the Flying Tigers. Alhough Demar retired from racing in the early 1970s, he remained a presence at Thunder Road, most recently making an appearance at the 53rd Milk Bowl in October.

Continue reading ‘Thunder Road Legend Demar Dies after Battle with Cancer’

Sweet Makes Thrilling Final Charge for Second Milk Bowl Win

Barre, VT – Local hero Nick Sweet added to his growing legend on Sunday, October 11, slicing through the field in the final laps to win the final segment and capture his second career Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl win in the 2015 Thunder Road season finale.

The multi-time Thunder Road Late Model Champion entered the final segment trailing rival and three-time defending “King of the Road” Derrick O’Donnell by five points in the overall tally and was running seventh to O’Donnell’s eleventh when the first of three caution flags flew on lap 37 of the 50-lap segment. Seeing the Milk Bowl within his grasp, Sweet seized the moment, needing just seven more laps to charge to the lead.

Sweet’s thrilling dash and Segment 3 win gave him a final score of 13 points, one better than O’Donnell, who could do no better than seventh in the Segment 3 rundown. The comeback victory was greeted by a thunderous ovation from one of the biggest crowds of the 2015 season.

Continue reading ‘Sweet Makes Thrilling Final Charge for Second Milk Bowl Win’

O’Donnell, Sweet on Front Row for 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl

Barre, VT – Thunder Road rivals Derrick O’Donnell of N. Haverhill, NH and Barre’s Nick Sweet will lead the field to the green flag in Segment 1 of the 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl on Sunday, October 11.

Three-time defending “King of the Road” O’Donnell topped a field of 47 challengers in Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Time Trials with a fast lap of 13.229 seconds to take the pole. 2013 Milk Bowl Champion Sweet was right on his heels with a lap of 13.249 seconds and will start outside the front row.

Barre’s Cody Blake was third-fastest, completing a sweep of the top-three starting positions by the three top drivers in the final 2015 Thunder Road Late Model standings. The top 27 cars were separated by just 3/10 of a second.

Continue reading ‘O’Donnell, Sweet on Front Row for 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl’

Laperle, Hoar Each Chasing Fourth Milk Bowl Win

Barre, VT – Two of the most accomplished drivers in Milk Bowl and American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model history look to add to their accolades on Sunday, October 11. Three-time Milk Bowl winners Patrick Laperle and Brian Hoar have both entered the 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl at Barre’s Thunder Road. Both will look to tie Robbie Crouch’s record of four victories in the event known as “the toughest short-track stock car race in North America.”

“Patrick and Brian are really capable of doing it if anyone can,” Crouch said. “I would love to see it.”

St-Denis, QC’s Laperle put his stamp on the Milk Bowl from 2005-2008 when he became the only driver to win three times in a four-year span. Laperle was one of the first to enter this year’s event. In seeking a fourth win, he also looks to erase the sting of failing to qualify in 2014.

Continue reading ‘Laperle, Hoar Each Chasing Fourth Milk Bowl Win’

Hebert Files First Entry for 53rd Annual Milk Bowl

Barre, VT – Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert has filed the first official entry for the 53rd Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl on Sunday, October 11. The 2015 edition of the “toughest short-track stock car race in North America” has more than $60,000 in posted awards with $10,000 guaranteed to the winner of the annual Thunder Road Speedbowl season finale.

The Milk Bowl is one of the most celebrated auto racing events in the United States with its unique race format and tradition. The special event for American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models is run in three 50-lap segments, with the starting grid for the second and third segments set by inverting the finishing order of the previous segment. Drivers receive one point per position, per segment, with the lowest combined finish for all three segments earning the overall win.

“The Milk Bowl means a lot,” Hebert said. “I grew up watching it as a kid, and it was definitely the biggest race at my home track (Thunder Road). We’re excited for it this year – we’ve finally started to figure things out at Thunder Road. We’ve had some tough luck the last couple years and couple of car issues, but I think we’re in pretty good shape this year.”

Continue reading ‘Hebert Files First Entry for 53rd Annual Milk Bowl’

NEAR Media Award to St. Louis

Justin StLouis photoJustin St. Louis, a motorsports writer for three Vermont daily newspapers, is the winner of the New England Antique Racers’ Mitchell/Ratta Award. The prize will be presented at the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame 18thinduction banquet Sunday, Nov. 8 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT. 

A native Vermonter, St Louis is a contributor to the Burlington Free Press, the Rutland Herald and the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. He is also a play-by-play announcer on the Radio Vermont network of stations. A member of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame advisory committee, he has been covering auto racing since attending Thunder Road and Catamount Stadium as a teenager.

The prize memorializes two of New England’s greatest motorsports writers – Charlie Mitchell of the Norwalk (CT) Hour and Jack Ratta of the Manchester (NH) Union Leader. 

Continue reading ‘NEAR Media Award to St. Louis’

Gray Disqualified from Labor Day Classic

Barre, VT – Thunder Road and American-Canadian Tour (ACT) officials have announced the disqualification of Brandon Gray from the Allen Lumber Street Stock feature at the 37th Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic held Sunday, September 6.

Gray crossed the finish line first in the 25-lap feature but was found to have illegal engine components during post-race technical inspection. These parts have been confiscated by ACT.

In addition to losing all points and purse money from the Labor Day event, Gray has been suspended from all Thunder Road– and ACT-sanctioned events for the remainder of the 2015 calendar year. Gray must also pay a fine of an undisclosed amount to be eligible to return to competition.

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Sweet Makes Move Late for Record Third Labor Day Classic Victory

Barre, VT – Local racer Nick Sweet made his move on a late restart to become the first three-time winner of the Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 at Barre’s Thunder Road on Sunday, September 6 while Derrick O’Donnell put the finishing touches on his third straight “King of the Road” crown.

Sweet methodically worked his way through the field after pitting for right-side tires on a lap-78 caution and found himself alongside leader Brett Gervais of Island Pond on a restart with 22 laps remaining after O’Donnell shut down due to fuel pick-up issues while battling for third.

Sweet, who started 13th, got the jump to take the lead and held Gervais off on two more restarts, including one for a red flag with three laps to go after Eric Badore and Jim Morris pounded the turn-4 wall, for his third win of the season and 17th of his Thunder Road Late Model career. N. Haverhill, NH’s O’Donnell, who came into the event having already clinched his third consecutive Thunder Road track championship, recovered to finish ninth.

Continue reading ‘Sweet Makes Move Late for Record Third Labor Day Classic Victory’

Points and Pride at Stake in Thunder Road Labor Day Classic

Barre, VT – Thunder Road will crown its division champions this Sunday, September 6 at the 37th Labor Day Classic 200 this Sunday. The oldest event in Thunder Road’s history doubles as the final point-counting event of the 2015 season for Thunder Road Late Models, Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks, leaving much on the line this Sunday.

The Labor Day Classic, which dates back to 1960, is the longest and most prestigious event of the weekly season for the Thunder Road Late Models. Many drivers will be looking for their first entry on one of the granite monuments that stand at Thunder Road for winners of the Labor Day Classic, Memorial Day Classic, and Vermont Milk Bowl.

“It’d be cool to get up on one of those granite monuments,” Barre’s Cody Blake said. “The goal for our team is to get on one of the stones, and third place last year just didn’t satisfy me.”

Continue reading ‘Points and Pride at Stake in Thunder Road Labor Day Classic’

Thunder Road to Crown Champions at 37th Labor Day Classic

Barre, VT – The 2015 “King of the Road” will be crowned this Sunday, September 6 in the 37th Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200. N. Haverhill, NH’s Derrick O’Donnell is set to claim his third consecutive Thunder Road Late Model Championship, while the title battles in the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen and Allen Lumber Street Stocks will come down to the final laps.

O’Donnell sped to his fourth victory of the season last Thursday at Thunder Road. The win mathematically clinched a record-tying third straight Late Model title. O’Donnell joins Chuck Beede (1992-1994) as the only drivers to be “King of the Road” three years running.

“Each championship has had its own story behind it,” O’Donnell reflected. “It’s been an up-and-down year, and we weren’t really positive for a while whether we were going to run the full season for points. We finally had to make the decision that that we were going to do it and go ‘all in’.

Continue reading ‘Thunder Road to Crown Champions at 37th Labor Day Classic’

Laquerre Elected to New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame

Barre, VT – Thunder Road racing legend and family patriarch Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier has been elected to the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.

The 71-year-old Laquerre is the all-time winningest driver at Barre’s Thunder Road with 45 wins, including a record 17 in the Tiger Sportsmen and 14 in the Late Models. His most recent Thunder Road victory came in a Late Model feature on June 5, 2014. Laquerre was the 1982 “King of the Road” and also won five championships in the Mini Stock division between 1973 and 1980.

In addition, Laquerre was the winningest driver at the former Catamount Stadium in Milton. He currently owns and operates Speedway 51 in Groveton, NH.

Continue reading ‘Laquerre Elected to New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’

NEAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Victories at LeMans and Daytona International Speedway are among the hundreds of checkered flags owned by the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s class of 2015.

Sam Posey, one of America’s top road racers, and Greg Sacks, the winner of the 1985 Daytona Firecracker 400, are part of the class that will be honored at the NEAR Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, Nov. 8 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT.

The class also includes owner/driver Joey Laquerre, car owner the late Paul Dunigan and drivers the late Jim McCallum and Stan Gregor, a quartet that collectively has 27 track championships.

The multi-faceted Lew Boyd, presently a book seller and publisher, and Lee USA Speedway promoter Red MacDonald will also be inducted.

Ticket information for the banquet will soon be available on the New England Antique Racers website (NEAR1.org).

Still to be announced are the Veterans Committee picks, the Pardi Memorial Award and the Mitchell/Ratta (media) Award winners.

A long-time Sharon, CT resident, Posey was a top runner in road racing with strong finishes in Formula A, Can-Am, and Trans-AM. He had a fifth at Indianapolis in 1972, scored at LeMans and Sebring and drove some Formula I before moving to TV with ABC Sports. He is an award winning writer and artist.

In addition to Daytona, Long Island native Sacks has a number of New England victories, notably at Stafford and Thompson but also at Westboro. His 1982 season, which included the Stafford championship, ranks with the best performances in New England racing history.

Vermont’s Laquerre has been a winner over five decades as both an owner and driver. The top winner at the old Catamount Stadium, his resume includes several wins on the ACT Tour and championships at Thunder Road (6) and Catamount (2).

The colorful Dunigan, who passed away in 2004, burst on to the International Super Modified Association scene and won six titles in eight years, adding an Oswego crown as well. His drivers included Bentley Warren, Russ Wood, Mike Ordway, and Joe Gosek.

MacDonald, over six decades, was a successful car owner – drags, cutdowns, Supermodifieds, even an Indianapolis car – before taking over the Lee USA Speedway operation in 1986. He has brought the best in the business to his track often overcoming great obstacles.

Continue reading ‘NEAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015’

Thunder Road Thursday Season Nears Checkered Flag with Jet Service/Acura Night

Barre, VT – The next-to-last Thursday night event of the 56th Thunder Road racing season is this Thursday, August 20 with Jet Service Envelope/Accura Printing Night. N. Haverhill, NH’s Derrick O’Donnell is just three races away from a record-tying third consecutive “King of the Road” title, making each spot critical this Thursday night.

The evening will also feature the annual “Run-What-U-Brung” spectator races, allowing people to race their registered and inspected street vehicles mano-a-mano around the ¼-mile oval. Participants must register at the pit gate by 5:30pm, purchase a pit pass, and wear a full racing helmet.

O’Donnell had a big night last Thursday. Barre challengers Nick Sweet and Cody Blake were both involved in crashes while O’Donnell escaped trouble to secure a fifth-place finish. O’Donnell now has a 42-point lead over Sweet and is 60 points ahead of Blake, putting him in the catbird seat for a third straight championship, a feat accomplished only once in Thunder Road’s 56-year history. John Donahue and Scott Dragon round out the top-five.

Continue reading ‘Thunder Road Thursday Season Nears Checkered Flag with Jet Service/Acura Night’

Tiger Sportsmen Take the Stage on U.S. Army Recruiting Night

Barre, VT – The stretch drive of Thunder Road’s weekly racing season continues this Thursday night, August 13 with U.S. Army Recruiting Night. With just four point-counting events remaining on the 2015 Thunder Road racing calendar, it’s “go time” in the championship battles for the Thunder Road Late Models, Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen, and Allen Lumber Street Stocks.

The famed Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman division will take the stage on Thursday night. Thunder Road officials have announced the Tiger Sportsmen will run twin 50-lap Milk Bowl–style features. The finish of the first 50-lap feature will be inverted to set the starting line-up for the second feature. The driver with the best combined finish in the two features will be the overall winner.

“It’ll be fun to be the main event for the night,” Barre’s Christopher Pelkey said. “Two 50-lappers definitely brings something different. The last time we did segments two weeks ago, there wasn’t really enough laps for the guys who started out back to get to the front. With 50 laps, if you’ve got a good car, you should be able to finish up front in both of them.”

Continue reading ‘Tiger Sportsmen Take the Stage on U.S. Army Recruiting Night’




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