Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Washington County Senator Phil Scott of Middlesex became the first Late Model repeat winner of the summer at Barre’s Thunder Road on Thursday. Scott was joined in the Winner’s Circle by runner-up Rich Lowery of Charlotte and Williamstown’s Cris Michaud. Rounding out the top five finishers in the Vermont ACE Hardware Dealers Trophy Dash were Joe Becker of Jeffersonville and Eric Williams from Hyde Park.

(PHOTO AT RIGHT: Phil Scott's #14 and the #8 of Rich Lowrey pass under the checkered flag of Chief Starter, Mike Wilder after 50 grueling laps in the VT ACE Hardware Dealers Trophy Dash)

Veteran racer, Gary Caron from Shelburne lined alongside freshman driver Mike Bailey of Barre for the start of the 50-lap Late Model feature. After battling back and forth for the initial circuits, youth bested experience as Bailey was able to complete the pass in the outside groove on lap five. He held the position the first of three caution flags flew on lap 14 for a minor incident.

Lining up alongside Bailey for the restart was Lowrey, another of the experienced weekly racers. Experience prevailed on this start and before the 15th circuit was half complete, Lowery had passed the rookie driver. A long stretch of green flag racing allowed Lowery to distance himself from the field as he carefully maneuvering his Chevrolet through heavy traffic.

The second yellow came out on lap 24 which brought Lowrey back to the field. Despite the disruption, the leader again pulled away from the field when action resumed. Lowery and crew anxiously awaited the laps to tick down as they aimed for his first victory of the season. A yellow for David Chagnon’s spin in the first turn brought out the caution for the third and final time with just three laps remaining. This time Lowery had a new dance partner in Scott. The two veterans battled door-to-door over the final laps which brought the packed house to their feet.

Scott, who had started the race 17th in the 28 car field, massaged the high groove as he worked his way through the field and moved into contention for the lead. When Lowery and Scott crossed the finish line on the 50th circuit, Scott’s Ford was in front by a paint job.

“Rich (Lowery) had a good car and it was a lot of fun to race against him tonight. If that last yellow hadn’t come out, I don’t think that I would have caught him,” Scott said.

Lowery was less pleased with the final caution, “I thought we had a great car tonight. I don’t know what brought out the last yellow, but someone better tell me who it was,” he said with a grin. “I really had a great time here tonight and I look forward to being in the Winner’s Circle next week.”

Rounding out the top ten was John Donahue of Graniteville, Trampas Demers from Shelburne, Barre’s Mike Bailey, and Shelburne residents Jamie Fisher and Dennis Demers.

The Late Models will complete their summer long point battle at next week’s Kinney Drugs Trophy Dash, the last Thursday event of the year. In spite of a rare mediocre outing, Chad Wheeler (952) maintains his points lead. Michaud’s third place finish in the feature and his semi-feature outing moves him into second with (915) over Dennis Demers who drops to third with (905).

The NAPA Tiger Sportsman feature mirrored that of the Late Model Trophy Dash with a photo finish at the stripe. Chris Chambers of Brookfield and Milton’s Shannon Tomasovich led the field to the initial green. It wasn’t long before Travis Calkins of West Danville completed a pass in the high groove to take the lead from Chambers on the second circuit. Calkins distanced himself from the field and began to maneuver through slower traffic, while the rest of the field attempted to catch the veteran racer. A caution for a minor incident on lap 14 brought Calkins back to the field to restart alongside Chambers. Once again Calkins, like Lowery had earlier in the evening, left the field behind him and eagerly anticipated his first victory of the season. That was until the second and final caution on the 25th circuit forced Calkins to rejoin the field for a final time. Tom Therrien of Hinesburg lined up alongside Calkins for the final restart. The scene appeared to be déjà vu of the Late Model battle between Phil Scott and Rich Lowery.

Therrien who started in 11th position had worked his way into contention for the win by passing cars in the outside groove. Therrien challenged Calkins in the high lane and the two ran door-to-door for the remaining laps. The packed house once again rose to their feet to determine which driver crossed the finish line first on the final circuit. After awaiting word from scoring it was announced that Therrien edged out Calkins by a paint job for the win.

Therrien’s victory in the 35-lap ACE Trophy Dash for the NAPA Sportsman division was his second of the season. Joining the pair in victory lane was Brendan Moodie from North Wolcott. Completing the top five was defending Sportsman champion, Shawn Fleury of Montpelier and rookie contender, Plainfield’s Matt Potter

“He (Travis Calkins) ran me hard and clean, I really appreciate that. It was a great race and I had a lot of fun tonight” stated an excited Therrien in the Winner’s Circle.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in victory lane,” Calkins said. “I knew the finish was close and I knew that it was either going to be fence or finish for both of us. It was a great race for me and Tom (Therrien). I really enjoyed racing with him tonight.”
Rounding out the top ten was two time NAPA Sportsman champion, Reno Gervais from Island Pond, Middlesex’s Pete Ainsworth, Chip Grenier of Northfield, Ray Stearns from East Corinth and Northfield’s Matt White.

(PHOTO: The NAPA Sportsmen division's margin of victory by Tom Therrien was among the closest all season in any division)

Early season Allen Lumber Street Stock point leader, Eric Badore of Georgia also won his second feature of the year. He made a late race pass on youngster Tim Potter from Plainfield for the victory. Accompanying the pair to the Winner’s Circle was current point leader, Hyde Park’s Kyle Tatro. Badore’s victory moves him ahead of 17 year-old Tatro by just five points (941-936).

Waterbury Center’s Frank Sanborn scored his first career win in the PowerShift Warrior division over Jayme Lee of Montpelier and hometown favorite Scott Weston.
Maynard Bartlett Jr of Wolcott (1041) leads Bunker Hodgdon (911) and David Whitcomb (896) into their final three point counting events. Bartlett who seems to be well on his way to his first PowerShift Warrior championship tested a Allen Lumber Street Stock car on Thursday evening. Mike Martin of Craftsbury Common who won the PowerShift Warrior title last season also tested a Street Stock while leading the Warrior points, this may be a sign of things to come for Bartlett.

As part of next week’s Kinney Drugs event, there will be a children’s poster contest during intermission. Kids are encouraged to create a hand-made poster of their favorite driver. Spectator gates open at 5:00 pm. Post time is at 7:00 pm.

The NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Power Shift Warriors will crown their respective champions following the 47th annual New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl on October 1st.