Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Eric Williams won the 20th annual New England Dodge Dealers VT Governor’s Cup stock car race Thursday night at Barre’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl before a huge crowd at the high banked, quarter-mile paved oval. Defending Late Model Champion, Williamstown’s Cris Michaud, nearly caught Williams as the leaders threaded their way through lapped traffic over the final circuits but the Hyde Park driver was able to pin Michaud behind a lapped car which guaranteed him the win. Michaud settled for the runner-up spot while point leader Dennis Demers from Shelburne, who led the race three different times, was third. Completing the top five finishers were Jamie Fisher also from Shelburne and Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Ctr.

(PHOTO AT LEFT: Eric Williams hosts the VT Governor's Cup trophy after winning the 20th annual event)

Williams commented, “Dennis (Demers) was really hooked up tonight. I really had to earn this (win). These guys (Demers and Michaud) are great to race with.” He continued, “I don’t know what happened to Jay (Laquerre), he had a rocket ship tonight.”

Williams accepted the VT Governor’s Cup from the state’s Commander-in-Chief, the Honorable James Douglas. It was the second meeting between the two – Douglas previously presented Williams with the New England Dodge Milk Bowl several years ago also at Thunder Road.

(PHOTO AT RIGHT: Phil Scott (left) loaned Kenny Schrader one of his Ford Fusion race cars for the New England Dodge Dealers VT Governor's Cup.)

Visiting Nextel Cup racer, Kenny Schrader, who had hoped to take the VT Governor’s Cup back to Fenton, MO, was sixth. Schrader, who will compete this weekend at New Hampshire Int’l Speedway, was making his second appearance at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” in two years. Following last year’s 50-lap feature race, where he finished ninth, Schrader remarked that he’d really like to return to Thunder Road for a 100 lap race. He improved his performance by three positions.

Wheeler started on the pole with Williams along side. The pair battled back and forth for the lead early until Williams gained the advantage. Jay Laquerre from E. Montpelier moved in to challenge Williams and overtook him on the 46th circuit. While out front, Laquerre grazed the front stretch wall which sent him off the first turn. He was able to return to competition but was never a factor again.

The race turned into a battle between Williams and Demers with the pair swapping the top position back and forth some seven times. Michaud was able to get around Demers for second in the waining laps using the inside groove when Demers drifted up and left an open lane.

Completing the top ten were Rich Lowrey in seventh, Marc Curtis, Joey Becker and Trampas Demers. (PHOTO: Dave Wilcox's 2006 Thunder Road debut ended up on the frontstretch wall)

Tom Therrien from Hinesburg was a convincing winner in the NAPA Sportsmen division’s 35-lap feature. Therrien, 20, started third in the 26 car starting field and by the 12th circuit was in the lead. Once at the head of the pack, the youngster was never challenged. In fact, he held off eventual runner-up Jeff French from Northfield on two restarts following a pair of minor on track incidents. Both times, French was left to do battle to protect his second place position while Therrien extended his lead.

Williamstown’s Justin Hart was a close third. Completing the top five were Travis Calkins from Danville and Waterbury’s Brian Delphia. Matt White’s 11th place finish, coupled with his earlier qualifying performance, was enough to keep the Northfield resident atop the division’s point standings.

After challenging for the lead in nearly half of the the Allen Lumber Street Stock division’s 25-lap New England Dodge Dealers dash, Hardwick’s Joe Fecteau was able to nose ahead for the final two circuits to score his first win of the year. Jericho’s Shawn Powell,a sophomore driver, was second and Lloyd Blakely from Barre was third. Rounding out the top five were Jason Corliss of Plainfield in fourth and Barre’s Steve Quenneville. Blakely moves into the point lead over Quenneville by seven. (PHOTO: Geoff Forsey (white car) heads to the pits while Kyle Tatro bounces off the frontstretch wall during the Allen Lumber Street Stock's main event)

Maynard Bartlett Jr from Wolcott won his second Power Shift Warrior feature of the season. Waitsfield’s Kevin Streeter was second and Hardwick’s Bunker Hodgdon was third. The victory allowed Bartlett to lengthen his point lead to 74 points.

Thunder Road’s next event, the Fisher/Federated Auto Parts Sash is slated for Thursday, July 20. Post time is 7:00 pm