Thunder Road SpeedBowl
It seemed only fitting that Shelburne’s Jamie Fisher scored his 13th Late Model feature win Thursday night at Barre’s Thunder Road in the Fisher/Federated Auto Parts 50. Fisher, who started eighth in the 24 car field, first took the lead at the half-way mark after a side-by-side duel with rookie competitor Marcel Gravel of Wolcott that lasted some nine laps. Fisher nosed ahead but the first year driver refused to be intimidated by the former track champion.

(PHOTO: Jamie Fisher (yellow car in front row) and Dave Pembroke
(white car & black car in front row) lead their heat race to the green during Late Model qualifying action)

With seven laps remaining, the complexion of the race changed. As the field entered the first turn the front runners encountered a slower moving car. Gravel tried to switch lanes but his Pontiac lost traction and was hit by Montpelier’s Phil Scott who was running third at the time. Several others were received varying degrees of damage to their cars in the incident including John Donahue, Marc Curtis, Cris Michaud and Mark Norris. Fisher escaped unscathed.

(PHOTO: Eric Williams (7), Joey Laquerre (15) and Marc Curtis (27) were involved in a lap four incident with sevferal other cars. Of the three, Curtis was the only one who returned to competition)

Michaud was able to continue and inherited second on the restart only to find that his car had sustained more damage than originally thought. Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Ctr quickly overtook Michaud and went on to finish second.

Wheeler’s runner-up finish coupled with his performance in the semi-feature and the qualifying heat unofficially moves him atop the season-long point standings. Dennis Demers of Shelburne, the point leader entering the Fisher/Federated event was third. Completing the top five were Dave Whitcomb from Essex Jct and Rich Lowrey from Charlotte.

“I’m glad to get back in victory lane but I feel badly for Marcel (Gravel). He had given me plenty of room (to race). It was too bad for his day to end like that. Next week I’ll have my work cut out for me since I’ll have to start in the back as the previous winner but I’ve been to the back before. I think I can make it back up front since I like to run a higher groove than everyone else,” Fisher commented.

Defending Sportsman track champion, Shawn Fleury of Montpelier posted his second win of the year in convincing style. Fleury who started 13th was the man on the move as he used all lanes of the ¼ mile oval to work his way through the 25 car field.

Pole-sitter, Matt Potter of Plainfield battled for the lead on the outside of Kevin Campbell of Fairfax until lap 25 when Fleury made a daring move from third to capture the top spot The 2005 “King of the Road” took second from the rookie driver on the bottom lane then dove to the high groove to take the top spot from Campbell. “A hole just opened up on the bottom and I decided I was going for it!” Fleury commented in the Winners Circle.

Pete Ainsworth of Middlesex proved that Fleury wasn’t the only driver capable of making tricky maneuvers. In the final ten laps, Ainsworth made moves in the high groove on Potter, Campbell and Justin Hart of Williamstown to take the runner-up position. Ainsworth’s performance moves him within nine points of leader Matt White of Northfield in the season long standings. An excited Ainsworth commented, “I am having such a great time racing here every Thursday. My car has been great. Thunder Road is just an amazing place.”

Campbell, who had been the race leader until Fleury and Ainsworth made their late race moves to the front, finished third. Rounding out the top five were Potter and White. It was a feat that White was even able to compete in the event. Earlier in the week he tore a tendon in his foot and has been unable to walk, but the sophomore driver proved that he could still drive.

Eric Badore of Georgia won the Allen Lumber Street Stock feature and regained the point lead after falling victim to a mechanical failure last week. “With three laps to go last Thursday (July 13th) I had a coil break and was unable to finish the race.” Badore stated. “I’m having a lot of fun this season and leading the points has been great, this win should put me back on top.”

Randolph’s Scott Perkins was second in his best career performance and freshman racer Alan Maynard from Fairfax completed the top three. Lloyd Blakely of Barre who entered the night as the entry-level division point leader finished 15th which shuffled him to third in the overall standings, just eight points behind second place points driver Steve Quenneville of Barre.

The Power Shift Warrior class competed in a special team event. The winning trio will be announced on Friday.