Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Two-time defending Thunder Road Late Model Champion, Cris Michaud from Williamstown, rebounded from a savage wreck one week ago to win Thursday’s Sanel Parts Plus 50 at Barre’s Thunder Road. Michaud held off Shelburne’s Jamie Fisher and Joe Becker from Jeffersonville who challenged him for the lead over the final ten laps. Second place Fisher was followed across the line by Becker, Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Ctr and Dennis Demers, also from Shelburne completed the top five.

(PHOTO: The restart with ten laps remaining caused a shuffle of the running order)

Morrisville’s Pete Fecteau and David Chagnon of Colchester started on the front row of the 25-car main event and waged a ferocious battle for the top spot. Ironically the pair had gone head-to-head earlier in the night in the bonus point and purse semi-feature. Fecteau won the semi-feature battle in the fourth turn of the final lap.

It looked like Chagnon was on his way to a career first feature win after he pulled ahead of Fecteau and left the former Thunder Road champion to battle with Essex Jct’s Dave Whitcomb, also a past title holder. Once Whitcomb bested Fecteau, he set off after leader Chagnon. A caution on the 16th circuit for Trampas Demers’ front stretch spin slowed the field.

When the green flew, Chagnon attempted to hold off the veteran, but he was no match for Whitcomb, who surged into the lead. Whitcomb, who with Phil Scott, last week’s winner, is tied for the most career Late Model feature wins at 19, set his sights on breaking the tie. A pair of cautions at the half-way mark for minor incidents, erased Whitcomb’s advantage and put Michaud within striking distance.

While the frontrunners were battling for position, Michaud, who had started eighth, used his favored high groove to march toward the front. He leapt past Chagnon for second on the lap 24 restart and set off after Whitcomb. It took Michaud until the 33rd circuit to gain the lead. After Michaud’s Ford passed Whitcomb it moved the Chevrolet driver into the high groove, a place where his car didn’t handle as well.

Jamie Fisher used a risky three-wide move in the low groove to gain third. A restart with 10 laps remaining in the 50-lap Sanel Parts Plus main event further shuffled the running order. Michaud and Whitcomb lined up on the front row with Fisher and Dennis Demers in the row behind. When racing resumed, the inside line got the jump and left Whitcomb and Demers fighting for control of their race cars.

Chad Wheeler, point leader entering the race, vaulted into the fray with Becker, who had fought through traffic all night. Wheeler’s fourth place effort kept him unofficially atop the standings over Trampas Demers (341-333).

A final caution with four lap remaining sealed the top positions. Rounding out the top ten were Whitcomb in sixth, Trampas Demers, Marcel Gravel, Mike Bailey and Dave Pembroke.

The Late Models were the only division to complete their entire race card as a thunderstorm rolled in with six of 25 laps complete for the Allen Lumber Street Stock class. The Streeters will complete their feature race on Monday (July 3) as part of the Pepsi Firecracker event. The NAPA Sportsmen and PowerShift Warrior classes will do double duty next Thursday (July 6) as part of the Charter Communications/CMT race.

Post time for both events is 7:00 pm.

Official Finish of the Sanel Parts Plus 50
1) 6 Cris Michaud Williamstown, VT
2) 18 Jamie Fisher Shelburne, VT .
3) 16 Joey Becker Jeffersonville, VT
4) 92 Chad Wheeler Waterbury Ctr., VT
5) 86 Dennis Demers Shelburne, VT
6) 25 Dave Whitcomb Essex Jct., VT
7) 85 Trampas Demers So. Burlington, VT
8) 5# Marcel Gravel Wolcott, VT
9) 00# Mike Bailey So. Barre, VT
10) 44 Dave Pembroke Montpelier, VT
11) 26 John Donahue Graniteville, VT
12) 59 Rusty Berger Williston, VT
13) 75 Pete Fecteau Morrisville, VT
14) 23 Joe Perreault Plainfield, VT
15) 87 Cal Poulin Braintree, VT
16) 46 David Chagnon Colchester, VT
17) 0 Gary Caron Shelburne, VT
18) 20 Brett Wheeler Waterbury Ctr., VT
19) 27 Marc Curtis Jr. Worcester, MA
20) 95 Craig Bushey Cambridge, VT
21) 14 Phil Scott Middlesex, VT
22) 7 Eric Williams Hyde Park, VT
23) 07 Sam Caron Colchester, VT
24) 8 Rich Lowrey Charlotte, VT
25) 15 Joey Laquerre E. Montpelier, VT

Unofficial Point Standings after Sanel Parts Plus 50:
1) 92 Chad Wheeler 341
2) 85 Trampas Demers 333
3) 86 Dennis Demers 330
4) 26 John Donahue 315
5) 16 Joey Becker 310
6) 44 Dave Pembroke 309
7) 18 Jamie Fisher 298
8) 8 Rich Lowrey 286
9) 25 Dave Whitcomb 282
10) 14 Phil Scott 277
11) 6 Cris Michaud 258
11) 5# Marcel Gravel 258
13) 75 Pete Fecteau 251
14) 00# Mike Bailey 250
15) 46 David Chagnon 243
16) 87 Cal Poulin 229
17) 27 Marc Curtis Jr. 222
18) 95 Craig Bushey 221
19) 15 Joey Laquerre 211
20) 59 Rusty Berger 190