Thunder Road SpeedBowl
DENNIS DEMERS NOT DENIED AT THUNDER ROAD
Shelburne, Vermont's Dennis Demers wasn't to be denied the Late Model win Thursday night at Barre's Thunder Road. Demers, who has posted several runner-up finishes, was able to fight off the challenges of John Donahue and Chad Wheeler en route to victory in the NAPA Auto Parts/Make-A-Wish 50 lap main event. Wheeler, from Waterbury Ctr, VT held on for second. Graniteville, Vermont's Donahue, faded to finish 11th after leading the first 17 laps.


"We've been close a couple of times," Demers recalled in Victory Lane, "But we've haven't had the luck. Tonight we seemed to have the strongest car."
Demers, who started fourth in the 23-car field, moved to Donahue's rear bumper on the second lap. The veterans put on a masterful show of side-by-side racing for 16 circuits until the caution came out for Joey Laquerre's brush with the front stretch wall. The E. Montpelier, VT racer was able to continue.
Donahue had the lead on the restart but Demers nosed ahead on the following circuit. Donahue rebounded three laps later but Demers powered back in front the next time around. It took several laps for the eventual winner to complete the pass for the lead. With Demers out front, Donahue's position turned from that of aggressor to defender. In his rearview mirror was Chad Wheeler, a top 10 finisher in every race this year except two. Wheeler made the pass stick on the 32nd circuit and set his sights on Demers.
A pair of cautions, on the 35th and 36th laps briefly kept the field close, but as the green flag racing period continued after the last restart, Demers was able to cushion his lead. Eric Williams of Hyde Park, VT overtook Donahue for third. Late Model point leader, Cris Michaud retained his position atop the standings with a fourth place finish. Former two-time Thunder Road champion, Phil Scott completed the top five.
The NAPA Sportsman division's winner was Pete Ainsworth of Montpelier, VT in a caution slowed 35-lap event. Jeff French, Brian Delphia, Justin Hart and Brendan Moodie rounded out the top five.
Rookie runner Jeff Bousquet and Adam Maynard started on the front row and wages a spirited battle for the lead for the first 7 laps. All eyes stayed on the front of the field as French over took teammate Bousquet, then moved on to challenge Maynard. Delphia then got the best of Maynard as the first of four caution flags flew.
Ainsworth used the restarts to his advantage and positioned himself to take the lead from Delphia on the 26th circuit. Once in front it was smooth sailing for the Ford driving veteran as he left the balance of the field to battle for position.
David Allen of N. Troy, VT won his season Allen Lumber Street Stock main event of the season. He passed freshman racer, Ron Gabaree of Barre, VT for the lead following the 25-lap event's lone caution. The rookie held on for second, his best career finish. Garry Bashaw was third. Melinda Gervais and Alex Perkins completed the top five.
The Power Shift Warrior victory went to Chris Hodgdon of Hardwick, VT. Hodgdon passed Waitsfield, Vermont's Kevin Streeter in the final few feet of the race for his third win of the year. Point leader Mike Martin was third.