Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Thunder Road's faithful have a new Late Model driver to cheer for following Monday's Pepsi Firecracker 50 at the Barre speedplant. Twenty-two year Marc Curtis from Worcester, MA earned the admiration of the packed house as he repeatedly held off a pair of veterans, Dennis Demers from Shelburne, and Hyde Park's Eric Williams en route to posting his first career win at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval. Demers' runner-up finish unofficially moves him atop the season-long Late Model point standings. Williams was third, Joe Becker from Jeffersonville and Morrisville's Pete Fecteau completed the top five.

Curtis was understandably emotional during the victory lane interview, "Thunder Road's the best, it has the best fans, and it's worth the 200 miles that I travel each week. Trust me, there's no better place to race. Dennis and Pete (Fecteau) gave me a great run; it was a lot of fun."

During qualifying, Curtis showed that he was a force to be reckoned with when he won the second heat by holding off two-time and defending champion, Cris Michaud. The victory put him in the bonus purse and point Semi-Feature where he took on several veterans. Fecteau, also a former Thunder Road "King of the Road", and Curtis ran neck and neck early in the 15-lap race before Michaud moved in. The former champions took the youngster to school but the Kid learned his lessons well.
In a repeat of last Thursday's Sanel Parts Plus 50, Fecteau and David Chagnon set the early pace. Fecteau moved into the lead with fourth place starter Curtis in pursuit. By the sixth circuit, Curtis was challenging for the lead using the upper groove. On the 19th lap, the Bay State resident was along side Fecteau. The pair swapped the lead back and forth at the stripe several times until the event's lone caution for a front stretch crash involving Cal Poulin and Brett Wheeler slowed the pace. Neither driver was injured.

Curtis, who had nosed ahead on the lap before the caution, lined up in the low groove.
Fecteau was relegated to the upper line with Demers and Chagnon in the row behind. Fecteau's Pontiac wasn't able to hold the line and Demers moved into second. Williams, who had started seventh and Becker made short work of Fecteau's fading car and pushed him further back in the field.

Demers kept looking to the high side to get around Curtis which left the low groove open for Williams. The pair ran side-by-side on Curtis' bumper but were not able to rattle the youngster.

"He's (Curtis) is no kid. He's a hard racer and deserved to win," runner-up Demers commented. "I came up a bit short tonight but Marc raced me like people should be raced." The veteran racer added, "Thunder Road's a wonderful race track. It provides great racing and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Completing the top ten were Trampas Demers in sixth, Chagnon, Phil Scott from Montpelier, Graniteville's John Donahue and Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Ctr. Trampas Demers' finish moved him into second in the standings, 13 points behind his father, while early leader Wheeler is now third.

Pete Ainsworth from Middlesex posted his first win of the season narrowly edging out sophomore driver Nick Sweet from Barre to become the sixth NAPA Sportsman winner in as many events. Brendan Moodie from N Wolcott was third while Chris Gendreau inched ahead of Joe Steffen for fourth. Former champion Steffen settled for fifth.

Josh Lovely led until the first of two cautions slowed the 26-car starting field. When the green flew again, Moodie powered into the lead. Moodie wasn't able to stretch his lead as defending divisional champion, Shawn Fleury kept reeling him in. From his 15th starting spot, Ainsworth masterfully worked through traffic to challenge Moodie on the 20th lap of the 35-lap Pepsi event. Like Curtis in the Late Model event, Ainsworth used the high groove to gain the advantage.

Tommy Smith from Williamstown became the first repeat winner of the 2006 Thunder Road season with his win in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks. Bill Hennequin from Morrisville was second and Westford's Geoff Forsey was third. Fourth went to Steve Quenneville and Tim Potter rounded out the top five.

Jamie Davis from Montpelier scored his first career Power Shift Warrior victory over Bunker Hodgdon and Maynard Bartlett Jr.

Thunder Road's special Monday night program started with the conclusion of the Sanel Parts Plus Allen Lumber Street Stock feature which was rained out on June 29. Travis Ingerson of Lisbon, NH was the winner of the 25-lap event.

Thunder Road continues its 47th season with a return to its regular Thursday night program on July 6. Charter Communications and CMT will present the event which has a post time of 7:00 pm.