Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Barre's Thunder Road opened it's weekly Thursday night card with intense race action that featured several roll-overs and two tightly contested feature races.

Trampas Demers of South Burlington, VT narrowly edged out the competition for his third Late Model career victory Thursday night at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in the high banked quarter-mile oval's 47th weekly season opener. Driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Demers, 34, was able to hold off Charlotte's Rich Lowrey and John Donahue from Graniteville, who crossed the line in a photo finish for the runner-up spot. The nod went to Lowrey by the closest of margins. Completing the top five were Dave Pembroke from Montpelier and Morrisville's Pete Fecteau.

Demers, who started fifth in the 26 car field, wrestled the lead Joe Becker from Jeffersonville on an 11th lap restart in the 50-lap Hannaford Supermarket/ Pelletier Quick Lube Trophy Dash. When the green flew, Demers was off like a rocket leaving Becker to contend with the balance of the pack. Becker, the track's 2003 Late Model Rookie of the Year, had started third on the grid but was able to power past pole sitter Rusty Berger and David Chagnon before the conclusion of the first lap.

The eventual winner set a brisk pace during the middle of the race. A lack of cautions allowed him to build up a substantial lead. His advantage was threatened though when the fourth and final yellow flag flew on the 42nd circuit for a minor two-car incident on the front stretch. On the restart Lowrey lined up next to Demers hoping to outwit the veteran. While his car had earlier performed flawlessly in the high groove during his march to the front from his 12th place starting position, Lowrey was not able to affect the pass for the lead.

Lowrey's offensive stance quickly became defensive as Donahue battled back to challenge for the runner-up spot. When it mattered, Lowrey was able to push the nose of his Dodge Charger was inches ahead of Donahue's for second.
"He raced me clean and I thank him for that," stated Demers about runner-up Lowrey. "It's been a while since I've been in the Winners Circle, what a great way to kick off Thunder Road's weekly Thursday racing!"

Completing the top ten were Dennis Demers (Trampas' father) in sixth, Chad Wheeler, Cris Michaud, Joey Laquerre and Marcel Gravel.

A replacement driver caused excitement among the fans in the Late Model division when it was announced that two-time NAPA Sportsman champion; Reno Gervais from Island Pond, VT was at the wheel of Phil Scott's Ford Taurus. Scott, a three-time Late Model Champion at the Barre, VT speedplant used the track's "Proxy Provision," introduced during the off-season, to attend his youngest daughter's high school graduation. The provision allows each Late Model team a one-time substitution for their driver by a Sportsman competitor according to the established criteria. Any championship points earned by the "Proxy" are awarded to the driver of record.
Gervais was more than happy to help out Scott, "These Late Models are a lot of fun" the Island Pond, VT resident exclaimed. "I'm honored that I was asked to fill in for Phil, those are big shoes to fill." Gervais started the feature event in the 26th position and advanced to the 15th spot.

Northfield's Chip Grenier had more than the usual reasons to celebrate his NAPA Sportsman victory "I am so happy that I won tonight, my dad just returned from Iraq on Tuesday, and I just got word that he will be back home either tonight or tomorrow. I wish he was here but I guess I will just come out and win it on Sunday for him." Grenier was joined in the Winner's Circle by Travis Calkins of Danville. North Middlesex, resident Chris Gendreau rounded out the top three.

The Sportsman division's 35-lap feature followed a plot line similar to the Late Models'. Veteran Grenier took the lead from the outset and pulled to a comfortable advantage while the balance of the field shuffled for position.

Calkins and Gendreau, along with Jeff Bousquet and Dick Lowrey kept the fans' attention as each struggled to gain a clear cut advantage. With the laps winding down, veterans Calkins and Gendreau finally cut loose from the pack and set out after the leader. The pair swapped the runner-up spot back and forth several times before Calkins nosed ahead in the final circuits.

The entry level Allen Lumber Street Stock division lived up to their "Crunch Bunch" nickname in their Hannaford Food & Drug/Pelletier Quick Lube main event. Three of the four caution periods in the 15-lap race were brought out for rolled over race cars. While the incidents, which all took place on the front stretch, looked spectacular, no one was injured.

Kyle Tatro of Hyde Park, a recent graduate of the Green Mountain Technology Center, gave himself a graduation present by capturing the Streets Stock win. "I've been doing so well lately, it's almost as if I've caught on fire. I hope to keep it going for Sunday's event."

Tommy Smith from Williamstown was second and sophomore competitor, Steve Quenneville from Barre was third. Eric Badore and Tom Potter completed the top five.

Bunker Hodgdon was the unofficial Power Shift Warrior winner.

Hoping that the third time's a charm, Thunder Road's competitors return to action Sunday for the Casella Mother's Day 100 for the American-Canadian Tour's (ACT) Sportsman Series. The track will celebrate Mother's Day on Father's Day after having the race rained out twice. Post time will be 1:30. Spectator gates open at 10:00 am.