Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Underdogs Shine in Front of Big Crowd at Thunder Road

A host of “underdog” stock car drivers ruled the night at Barre’s Thunder Road on Thursday in front of a large crowd on Kinney Drugs Night.  Mike “Beetle” Bailey and Jamie “Hurricane” Fisher split a pair of 50-lap Late Model features, while Chris Chambers earned his first NAPA Tiger Sportsman win of the season.

Bailey, of South Barre, notched his first career win in the previously rained-out Calkins Portables/WDEV Radio Late Model 50 to begin the evening.  Bailey had not finished inside the top ten since an eighth-place result on June 19.  He won the Calkins/WDEV race going away in a caution-free affair that took just 12 minutes to complete.  Fisher, of Shelburne, finished second after a long battle with Montpelier’s Phil Scott.  John Donahue of Graniteville finished fourth on Scott’s bumper with rookie Matt White of Northfield fifth.

Fisher, the 2003 Thunder Road Champion, returned to victory lane in the regularly-scheduled Kinney Drugs 50, storming up the outside lane in the manner that earned him his nickname years ago.  Fisher had not won a feature event since July 2006.  He battled Colchester driver David Chagnon side-by-side for the lead for more than 30 laps before he was able to move ahead, then survived late contact from Donahue to take the win.  Chagnon, whose best finish of the season had been 14th, earned a career-best third place finish behind Donahue.  Graniteville’s Chip Grenier and Scott completed the unofficial top five.

Double Features Pivotal for Williams in Thunder Road Late Model Championship

Eric Williams has a lot on the line at Thursday’s Kinney Drugs stock car event at Thunder Road in Barre.  Williams has a narrow lead in the Late Model division’s “King of the Road” championship chase, and is chasing an elusive first title after more than a decade in the headline division; he finished second in points in 1999 and 2002, and third in 1996 and 2003.

Only two more championship race dates remain on the regular season schedule, but with a twist – the Kinney Drugs event will see the Late Model division race two 50-lap features, as the Calkins Portables/WDEV Radio feature, rained out on July 31, is made up in addition to the regular card.

“I don’t lay awake at night thinking about the championship, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to win it,” said Williams.  “I just like to run good, and the fans pay good money to watch me and (second-place driver) Cris Michaud and everyone else race hard.  If we’re putting on a show, that’s all that matters.”

Sicard Inherits Casella 100 Win at Thunder Road

Shawn Sicard of Barre won the Casella Waste Management Tiger Sportsman 100 stock car race at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road on Sunday night, after the car of apparent first-place finisher Pete Ainsworth of Middlesex failed post-race technical inspection.  Sicard started 21st on the 30-car grid, and made a quick last-lap maneuver underneath fellow Barre driver Lance Allen while running with lapped traffic to take second place on the race track.  Sicard and Dave Finck, another Barre native, had traded the third position several times in the closing laps before the move under Allen.

Sicard’s victory was the second of his NAPA Tiger Sportsman career.  Allen, who like Sicard is in his second season in the division, held on for second place.  Finck matched a season-best effort in third.  Eighteen year-old Derrick O’Donnell of Bradford finished fourth over unofficial point leader Craig Bushey of Cambridge.  Barre rookie Cody Blake finished sixth ahead of North Middlesex driver Chris Gendreau, who was making his first start of the year.  Craftsbury’s Joel Hodgdon, veteran Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier, and Mark Barnier of Essex Junction completed the revised top ten in order, unofficially.

Rookie Matt White of Northfield earned his second victory of the year in the Late Model division.  White drove from ninth starting position, avoided a lap 7 wreck that eliminated the top three runners, and then won a see-saw battle with Brooks Clark for the lead in the middle stages of the 50-lap race.  After Clark spun on lap 27 and front-runner John Donahue had a flat tire on lap 30, a razor-close four-car battle developed behind White.