Thunder Road SpeedBowl
A pair of young drivers employed different methods to affect the same outcome Sunday at Barre’s Thunder Road in the New England Dodge Dealers season finale. Sophomore NAPA Sportsman competitor Nick Sweet of Barre and Milton’s Eric Badore, an Allen Lumber Street Stock racer were both victorious in their respective added distance main events.

Badore, who started deep in the 34-car field, led only one lap around the high banked, quarter-mile oval and it was the one that counted. The victory, his third of the season, was the icing on the championship cake for the Dodge Daytona driver.

Entering the last race of the year with a 21 point advantage, Badore knew he had to keep season-long nemesis Kyle Tatro of Hyde Park in sight to secure his first division title. Instead of playing it safe, Badore worked his way through the pack. As the laps wound down he moved in to challenge leader Steve Quenneville and was able to nose ahead as the checkers flew.

Quenneville of Barre finished second and early race leader, Underhill’s Dave Fields was third. Completing the top five was freshman competitor David Greenslit from Waitsfield in fourth and Hardwick’s Greg Adams.

Unlike Badore, who seemed to catch a few breaks along the way, Tatro found himself struggling to keep Badore’s machine in sight. To have any chance at the “King of the Road” title, Tatro needed to finish at leads 11 positions ahead of Badore. Unfortunately Tatro never got the chance to mount an attack and finished seventh in the 35 lap NEDD feature.

Following up a break out rookie season is difficult for any stock car driver, especially for one who challenged for the championship and posted wins at four tracks in three states. For Barre’s Nick Sweet it was no different. The young competitor played cat and mouse with the dreaded sophomore jinx all year long. On Sunday, Sweet proved to himself and the rest of the NAPA Tiger Sportsmen that he does have what it takes with an easy win in the 50-lap New England Dodge Dealers Dash. Sweet took the lead on the 12th circuit and never looked back.

Former NAPA Sportsman champion, Joe Steffen of Essex Jct was a strong runner-up while Barre’s Scott Coburn crossed the line in third. N Wolcott’s Brendan Moodie and ageless veteran, Joey Laquerre from E Montpelier completed the top five.

Even though the division’s top three, Shawn Fleury, Matt White and Pete Ainsworth all had to qualify for the feature through the last chance “B” Feature, none let that fact curb their competitive natures. Each knew that to claim the championship, he had to finish ahead of the other.

Fleury’s sixth place effort was enough to secure his second consecutive “King of the Road” championship.