Thunder Road SpeedBowl
THREE'S A CHARM - FATHER'S DAY GIFTS ABOUND AT THUNDER ROAD
BARRE, VT -- . For Cris Michaud, Mike Bailey, Eric Johnson and Chris Hodgdon the third time was a charm at Barre's Thunder Road Sunday as the quartet all delivered first place trophies on Father's Day the Green Mountain Office Machines/Imagistics Trophy Dash. Originally scheduled for Thursday, then Friday, the event was finally held under near perfect Father's Day skies at the "Nation's Site of Excitement.


The Late Model's 50-lap feature turned out to be two different races in
one. The first half of the race belonged to David Chagnon and Jerry Lesage.
The front row starters battled until just past the halfway mark. First
Winooski's Lesage held the advantage until the eighth circuit, then Colchester's
Chagnon powered into the lead for the next nine trips around high banked,
quarter-mile stock car track. With no cautions in sight, the pair extended their
advantage to a quarter track lead. Lesage moved back in front on lap 17 and the
duo extended their advantage to the length of a straight-away
While the front two were putting on their battle for the lead, the other
20 cars in the Green Mountain Office Machines/Imagistics feature race were
looking for any possible hole or mistake by their fellow competitors. Jamie
Fisher, Dave Whitcomb and Dave Pembroke, running third through fifth, all looked
to break from the pack only to get shuffled backwards. Former Thunder Road
champion Pete Fecteau worked his way into third only to have it also slip from
his grasp. Williamstown's Cris Michaud, with neighbor Cooper MacRitchie in tow,
moved past Fecteau and started to reel in the front-runners.
The first of four cautions flew on the 31st circuit for 10th and 11th
place runners, Fisher and Eric Williams who tangled in the third turn. The
incident tightened the field and changed the event's complexity. On the restart,
Lesage still had Chagnon to contend with. The pair had a slight buffer in the
lapped car of Cal Poulin but Michaud and MacRitchie made short work of the
back marker passing him within a single circuit.
Two cautions flew on the 37th lap, the first for a minor tangle between
Phil Scott and Fecteau. The second involved Poulin who hit a Jersey barrier
retaining wall on the backstretch. His racecar took the brunt of the impact and
had to be removed in a 'sling' between two wreckers. Poulin was able to walk
away slightly shaken.
On the restart Michaud, the defending Late Model Champion jumped into the
lead with MacRitchie in hot pursuit in the high groove. Five laps later early
race leaders Lesage and Chagnon collided in the second turn ending their night
on the 41st lap. Lesage's elimination put Rich Lowrey into the battle for the
win. Chad Wheeler and Trampas Demers were running fourth and fifth.
When the final checkers flew, Michaud was in front with MacRitchie and
Charlotte's Lowrey in tow. Wheeler, from Waterbury, and So. Burlington's
Trampas Demers completed the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Dave
Pembroke, John Donahue, Dennis Demers, Ryan Nolin and Eric Williams. The Late Model
results are unofficial pending additional technical inspection.
The NAPA Sportsman 35-lap feature went flag-to-flag without any
caution periods with Mike Bailey claiming his second career win over Josh Lovely and
Mark Barnier. Lovely, who started second, led the first 24 laps with Bailey,
fourth place starter Bailey attempting to run him down. Without benefit of a
caution to regroup the 26 car-starting field Bailey had his work cut out for
him.
Finding the right grip in the outside groove Bailey, from Montpelier,
powered into the lead with ten laps remaining and never looked back. Over the
final circuits, Barre's Lovely found himself protecting his runner-up
position from a hard charging Barnier from Essex Jct. Completing the top five were
Chip Grenier and Pete Ainsworth. Completing the top ten were Marcel Gravel,
Justin Hart, Chris Gendreau, Joe Steffen and Travis Calkins.
The Sportsman's main event gave the Father's Day fans a taste of
what's on tap for the division Thursday night in the WDEV Radio 100, the third of
eight races for the Sportsman Series. Thunder Road's oldest division will take
center stage as the headliners in a 100-lap race and 40 cars were in the pit
area Sunday making final preparations. Additional cars are expected from
Plattsburgh's Airborne Raceway as well as New Hampshires Canaan Fair Speedway,
both earlier stops on the Sportsman Series.
Eric Johnson from Randolph Ctr became the first two-time winner of the
season with his victory in the Allen Lumber Street Stock 20-lap Green
Mountain Office Machines/Imagistics main event. Johnson, who started seventh in the
29-car field, caught up to pole sitter and early leader Lloyd Blakely and
second place runner Benjamin Bushey by the seventh circuit. In an impressive move
on lap eight, Johnson passed both cars and took the front spot. He was able
to hold his advantage on a restart following the race's lone caution for a
minor incident just after the halfway mark.
From his mid-field starting spot, Dave Allen from N. Troy moved in to
challenge Johnson late in the race but settled for the runner-up spot.
Morrisville's William Hennequin crossed the line in third. Hennequin's hold on the
third place trophy was short lived as he was found to have illegal suspension
components in the post-race technical inspection. Joel Hodgdon from
Craftsbury inherited the spot. Bushey and Garry Bashaw rounded out the top five.
The PowerShift Warrior division was as exciting as usual and after 20
hard fought laps Chris Hodgdon was the winner, the first of his career. Mike
Martin finished second and Maynard Bartlett Sr. was third.
Martin's performance earned him the Booth Brothers Dairy "Cream of the
Crop" award and it's $100 bonus. The second year Warrior competitor drove a
near perfect race from his 31st starting position in the 34-car field to
finish as the runner-up.
The Thunder Road competitors are back in action Thursday night for the
WDEV Radio event. Post time is 6:00 pm. Admission for the 100-lap Sportsman
Series feature plus races for Thunder Road's three other divisions will be
$10 for adults, $3.00 for kids (ages 6-12) and $20 for the "Family Fare" (2
adults and 2 kids). Spectator gates will open at 4:00 pm.