Thunder Road SpeedBowl
In recent memory no one can remember a season when the point battles at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre have been as close as this season. In the track’s 47 years of operation, the hunt for the championship’s have been outstanding in at least one division but never has it been seen in all four. With only six points separating the Late Model point leader and runner-up, four points in the NAPA Tiger Sportsmen, seven in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks and 74 in the Power Shift Junkyard Warriors, the battle will continue until the checkers fly at the final event in late August and a champion is crowned.

Thursday, July 20th local heroes will compete in the Fisher/Federated Auto Parts event and will set themselves up for the remainder of the season. A tight points battle in all divisions makes the halfway mark which is only a week away, a dream maker or a deal breaker.

The Late Model class has yet to produce a repeat winner in the eight points counting events at the quarter-mile oval. Brent Dragon of Milton captured the first checkered flag followed by victories from: Trampas Demers, Dave Pembroke, Phil Scott, Cris Michaud, Marc Curtis Jr, Joey Laquerre and Eric Williams. The competition is tough in the Late Model class and the points battle demonstrates that the fight for position doesn’t stop on the track.

Dennis Demers of Shelburne has yet to win a Late Model feature event in however, he leads early front-runner, Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Center, by only six points (538-532). Jeffersonville’s Joey Becker remains in third with 516 points just 22 points out of the top spot. Trampas Demers of South Burlington is in fourth with 507 and John Donahue of Graniteville who sits in fifth with 476 points.

The highly competitive NAPA Tiger Sportsman division is also thrilling fans with their dash for the crown. Northfield’s, Matt White has regained the top spot with 441 points just four points over youngster, Nick Sweet of Barre. Middlesex resident, Pete Ainsworth is currently in third trailing White by 17 points. Consistency is the key to being a contender in the points chase according to 21-year-old Sweet, “After qualifying for a race my main goal is to finish. The season is far from over and there’s still a lot of racing left, the plan each week is to stay consistent.”

Lloyd Blakely Jr. of Barre has taken over the Allen Lumber Street Stocks point lead with 541. Blakely finished the New England Dodge Dealers 25 lap dash last Thursday night third, which boosted him over former point leader Eric Badore of Georgia. Badore is currently third with 524 points. Steve “Mudflap” Quenneville also of Barre is currently second in the standings with 534 just seven behind Blakely.

Wolcott’s Maynard Bartlett Jr continues to lead the Power Shift Junkyard Warriors with 578 points. Bartlett, who has already won two feature events this season, leads neighbor Jamie Davis by 74 points. David Whitcomb of Elmore trails the pair with 495 points.

The heated point chases will continue this Thursday, July 20th at Thunder Road for the Fisher/Federated Auto Parts event. The Times Argus Mid-Season Track Championship event which awards double points to all divisions making it one of the most important races in the weekly stock car racing season, will take place on Thursday, July 27th. Pit gates for both events open at 4pm, spectator gates open at 5pm. Post time for these events are 7pm. Adult tickets are just nine dollars, a child (ages 6-12) is only three dollars and a family of four (two adults two children) is only eighteen dollars.

Image 1- (Left to Right) Late Model competitors Eric Williams, Marc Curtis Jr and Dennis Demers following the PEPSI Holiday Firecracker 50.

Image 2- NAPA Tiger Sportsman action

Image 3- Allen Lumber Street Stock's

Image 4- Three-wide Power Shift Junkyard Warrior action.