Thunder Road SpeedBowl
In recent memory no one can remember a battle for the King of the Road title that has been as close as this season in all divisions at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl. With only three point counting races remaining for the Late Model division, the chase for the championship title is coming to a close. The NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and PowerShift Warriors each have five events left on the schedule for their battles which leaves little time to climb atop the standings.

Late Model point leader Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Center appears to have the upper hand over second place points man Dennis Demers from Shelburne. Not only is Wheeler currently the leader of the season long standings, but he has consistently finished higher than Demers to keep him in the top spot. However, Demers, like his fellow competitors, continues to chase Wheeler and the dream of becoming the next “King of the Road”.

Wheeler leads Demers by only 48 points (838-790). The pair have traded the top spot back and forth throughout the season. A late comer to the dance is defending Champion Cris Michaud of Williamstown (764). “The season isn’t over yet” Michaud stated, “Chad and Dennis have had a great battle all season. I’m really proud of my crew, we didn’t have the best start to the season but I think we have proved that we are still a contender for the title.”

Rounding out the top five are Joey Becker from Jeffersonville with 745 points and Graniteville’s John Donahue with 740 points. Becker who has not dropped from the top five all season will likely be a challenger for the title as he is only 93 points behind Wheeler. Donahue who picked up his first victory of the season has also been within striking distance all season and as he is 98 points behind Wheeler, a margin which could be shortened over the next few events.

Defending NAPA Tiger Sportsman Champion, Shawn Fleury has set himself up to repeat his reign as King of the Road. The Montpelier resident took the point lead from Pete Ainsworth of Middlesex following his third victory of the season. Fleury, who in the early events seemed to struggle, has turned his race program around and will certainly be a favorite to wear the crown as the season winds down.

Fleury’s victory on August 3rd, launched him from third in the standings over Ainsworth and atop the standings for the first time all season. Sophomore contender, and early point leader Matt White of Northfield (684) trails Fleury by only six points. Ainsworth remains within striking distance despite his drop to third (676), only 14 points behind Fleury who leads with 690 points.

“My car has been a real pleasure to drive most of the season.” Fleury stated following his win on Calkins/Windshield World night. “I’m just having a great time racing, trying not to drive over my head. It seems to be paying off.” He concluded, “With five races remaining, a lot can happen. The points lead has bounced around to several drivers, it’s far from over.”

The Allen Lumber Street Stock top spot has been swapped among Lloyd Blakely of Barre, Eric Badore of Georgia and now Kyle Tatro of Hyde Park. The 17 year-old took over the point lead following his sixth place finish last Thursday (August 3rd) and leads Badore by just three points (813-810). The pair is followed by the 2005 rookie of the year, Steve Quenneville of Barre who shows no sign of a sophomore jinx by remaining third with 806 points.
Maynard Bartlett Jr. of Wolcott has the largest points lead of all divisions at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement.” The PowerShift Warrior driver leads Hardwick’s Bunker Hodgdon by 87 points (897-810). The pair is trailed by David Whitcomb of Elmore with 805 points. To date, Bartlett Jr. has overcome the quirky racing antics of race director Tom Curley which has included everything except going backwards around the track!

The countdown to the championship continues this Thursday with the NAPA Auto Parts/Make-A-Wish event featuring the return of the ever popular Run What-U-Brung. The fan favorite event is a single elimination race, the winner advances to the next round while the loser leaves town. All participants must register at the back gate by 6:30 pm. To participate in Run What-U-Brung you must be 18 years of age, have a valid registration, license and inspection. Studded tires will not be permitted. Don’t forget your helmet!

Adult tickets for the NAPA Auto Parts/ Make-A-Wish event are nine dollars, children (6-12) are just three dollars and a family of four (two adults, two children) is only 18 dollars. Spectator gates open at 5:00pm, post time is 7:00pm.

The Late Model champion will be crowned on Thursday, August 24th following the Kinney Drugs 50 lap Trophy Dash which will feature a poster contest for children during intermission. All children participants will leave with a prize but only one Late Model driver will leave that evening as “King of the Road”.


Image 1- Late Model competitors (Left to Right) Dennis Demers, Jamie Fisher and Chad Wheeler following the Fisher Federated Auto Parts event.

Image 2- Tiger competitors. Matt White (42) chases Shawn Fleury (31) down the backstretch

Image 3- Street competitor Kyle Tatro carries the checkered flag earlier in the season

Image 4- Warrior driver Maynard Bartlett Jr (23) leads the way during qualifying rounds.