Contributed by: ACT Staff
2012 Thunder Road Title Contenders
Each week www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com will check out three 2012 Thunder Road title contenders from one of its three primary divisions. The contenders are in no particular order:
LATE MODELSDave Pembroke (#44VT): The two-time and defending “King of the Road” has finished inside the top five in the final standings each season since his first title in 2007. During 2011, he earned eight top tens in 13 starts, including back-to-back wins. One of those wins came during the double-point mid-season championship. After dialing in their new Ford-powered ride during the first half of the season, the VSECU/Lamoille Valley Ford team finished outside the top ten just once in the final seven events. Pembroke sits tied for second on the Thunder Road all-time Late Model wins list, and is also one of just five drivers to have his name on each of the four granite monuments (King of the Road, Milk Bowl, Labor Day, Memorial Day), joining Dave Dion, Jean-Paul Cabana, Larry Demar and Bobby Dragon. During the 2012 season, Pembroke will look to become the first back-to-back “King of the Road” since Cris Michaud in 2004-2005.
Nick Sweet (#88VT): The 2010 “King of the Road” was the early favorite in the 2011 title hunt after winning his second straight season-opening ACT Merchants Bank 150. Sweet also earned the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic win, but both events awarded ACT points and not Thunder Road points. Sweet earned eight top tens in 13 starts, including two runner-up finishes to claim fourth in the final 2011 standings. No one finished the 2011 season with more momentum than Sweet, with his Labor Day win and a runner-up finish in the People’s United Bank Milk Bowl capping off the year. During the off-season, Sweet has taken over the head wrench duties for ACT veteran Eric Chase. The new job and a new shop near the base of Quarry Hill could play a big role in Sweet’s 2012 season. At the end of April, Sweet will attempt to become the first ever driver to win three straight Merchants Bank 150 season openers and jump start his 2012 title run.
Phil Scott (#14VT): Scott is a three-time “King of the Road” and tops the all-time Thunder Road Late Model wins list with 27. The Lt. Governor of Vermont finished the season second in the final standings and was tied for the most top tens on the year with 10 in 13 starts. Scott had a solid finish to 2011 with three podium finishes in the final four events, including a win during the Aubuchon season finale. He also claimed fourth in the year-end 49th Annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl. The veteran has competed in all 20 Thunder Road Late Model seasons (1992-2011). His first top ten finish in the final standings came in 1996 when he earned his first title. Since then he has finished outside the top ten just once. During his 20 seasons he has now finished in the top three 12 times, the top five 14 times and the top ten 15 times. He also has at least one win in 16 of the 20 seasons. With the continued support of car owner and mastermind Pete Duto, Scott is among the early favorites for the 2012 crown.Check back next week for more 2012 Thunder Road Title Contenders.