Thunder Road SpeedBowl
PEMBROKE GETS HIS FIRST 2006 WIN
Joining ACT's Sportsmen Series Sunday at Thunder Road in the Casella Mother's Day event were the track's Late Model, Allen Lumber Street Stock and PowerShift Warrior divisions. (For Sportsman Series story and information go to www.acttour.com)
Dave Pembroke from Montpelier narrowly edged Jeffersonville's Joe Becker and John Donahue for his first Late Model victory of the young 2006 season. Becker, the 2003 Thunder Road Late Model Rookie of the Year started on the outside pole along side Colchester's David Chagnon. The pair battled for the several laps before Becker was able to complete the pass and move into the lead.
Pembroke, who won the track's 2000 freshman title, took off after Becker with Donahue in tow. Former Thunder Road Champion, Dave Whitcomb and ageless veteran Joey Laquerre were in the hunt as well. The front group circled the high banked quarter-mile oval for lap after lap in a tight group until the first caution came out on the 22nd lap of the 50-lap main event.


On the restart Donahue was able to edge ahead of Becker, only to have Becker return the favor on the 23rd circuit. Riding the rail, Donahue pushed the nose of his machine ahead for two more laps. Becker fought back yet another time. Donahue had to switch his concentration from attack mode to defense as Pembroke moved in to challenge for the runner-up spot.
Pembroke was able to take advantage of a 31st circuit restart following the event's second caution to capture second place for a short time but Donahue battled back. Another yellow flag flew on the 36th lap which did not alter the running order of the drivers. With ten laps remaining, Becker had moved to a couple of car lengths advantage while Pembroke and Donahue continued their battle.
With five to go, Pembroke had second. Becker survived the restart following a caution on the 47th lap for a three car incident. He was not so lucky on the 48th circuit when Jamie Fisher brought out the caution for a lost wheel. Pembroke powered ahead when the green flew for the final time and held the spot until the checkers.
A melee in the first and second turns involving drivers running in the front pack developed on the final lap. The finishing positions shuffled dramatically for a host of competitors as drivers picked their way through the carnage. Some eventually limped across the stripe; others were removed from the track on the business end of a wrecker.
Cal Poulin from Randolph, and Waitsfield's Grant Folsom completed the top five in their best career finishes.
Unlike last Thursday's Allen Lumber Street Stock main event, which had no less than three flipped race cars and a multitude of caution periods (no one was injured in any of the carnage), Sunday's 25-lap Casella feature was relatively calm. A single yellow flag flew on the fourth circuit for the "Crunch Bunch" and it was, again, for a two car incident with roll-over. Neither driver was injured.
Once racing resumed, Tom Smith from Williamstown, led wire to wire for his first win of the season. Eric Badore and Steve Quenneville completed the top three. David Allen from N Troy lengthened his point lead with a fourth place finish and Barre's Lloyd Blakely rounded out the top five
Maynard Bartlett Jr of Wolcott posted the win, his first of the year and second of his career in the PowerShift Warrior class over Jeremy Perkins and Kevin Streeter.
The old-style Coupes from Bear Ridge Speedway made their first appearance at Thunder Road's high banks with Mike Gendron from Newbury, VT claiming the inaugural victory.
The ACT Sportsmen Series continues its season with the third of seven 2006 events back at Thunder Road on Thursday (June 22) with the WDEV Radio Twin 75s. Post time at the high banked, quarter-mile oval is 6:00 pm.