Thunder Road SpeedBowl
NAPA SPORTSMAN ROOKIE CLASS GROWING
The number of freshman racers registered for the 2007 NAPA Tiger Sportsman class at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl has swelled to seven competitors with additional forms expected. The division, the oldest in action at the 48 year-old high-banked, quarter-mile oval, is known for its competitiveness.

The elder statesman of the rookie class is 47 year-old Bob Adams from Milton, VT. Adams comes to the division after competing in the Renegade class at Plattsburgh, New York’s Airborne Speedway for four years. “I used to race at Catamount and Thunder Road years ago in the Grand American division and finished third in the state in the early 70s,” Adam said. “I’ve been out of racing for about four years. Last winter I built Shannon Tomasovich’s car, then went to Thunder Road at the end of the season and caught the (racing) bug again,” he explained.

Unlike some of his fellow freshman competitors, Adams has not raced a Tiger Sportsman car, “Other than driving the car in and out of the garage, I’ve never been in a Tiger car before. One of the hardest things will be getting back into racing and the driver’s mind set. I want to be competitive,” he finished.

A trio of 2007 rookie candidates tested the waters last season in preparation for their assault on the Sportsman Rookie of the Year crown. Second generation racer Joel Hodgdon from Craftsbury, VT, and Eric Badore of Milton, VT as well as Lisbon, NH driver, Travis Ingerson each gained valuable seat time while attempting to qualify for a limited number of events in 2006.

Hodgdon, an 18 year-old who’s attending college in Maine, acquired the 2004 championship winning car of Bill Sawyer. In the two Sportsman races he attempted last season, the Allen Lumber Street Stock veteran qualified for both and even posted a top ten finish in the last race of the year. “I’m going to watch and pay attention to the veterans,” the second generation competitor recently commented between classes.

“Last year I had the opportunity to be on the outside of (two-time Sportsman champion) Shawn Fleury on a restart and I got schooled badly,” Hodgdon laughed. “There’s so much to learn, there’s a lot of difference between the Street Stock and the Sportsman,” he finished.

(PHOTO at right - Joel Hodgdon won the Allen Lumber Street Stock main as part of the Mekkelsen Rv Memmorial Day Classic events)

THUNDER ROAD’S MILK BOWL RECEIVES OUTSTANDING EVENT AWARD
LAKE MARY, FL – The Vermont Milk Bowl stock car race held annually at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl received the 18th annual National Speed Sport News Award for the Outstanding Annual Short Track event. The award was presented on Monday (Feb 12) by veteran Motorsports journalist Al Robinson on behalf of National Speed Sport News at the 31st Racing Promotion Monthly (RPM) workshops which are held as part of the Speedweek National Workshops Series.

Nominations for the Outstanding Annual Short Track event are submitted by attendees at the December RPM Workshops in Reno (NV) as well as by the readers of the RPM newsletter, the idea newsletter for auto racing promoters. A list of the top vote getters is compiled and forwarded to management at National Speed Sport News where the final selection of the annual short track event is made.

The Milk Bowl joins such notable short track events as the WISSOTA 100’s, the East Bay Winternationals, the IMCA Super Nationals (Boone Speedway, IA), the Knoxville Nationals (Knoxville, IA) and the All American 400 (Nashville, TN), among others.

(PHOTO - at right - surrounded by his brothers and crew, 2005 Milk Bowl winner Patrick Laperle hoists the rotating trophy high overhead in celebration of his victory)

Thunder Road and ACT Tour Fans Should Weigh In
Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated Magazine is bringing back the late winter car show at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. A new, exciting race car and trade show called SpeedwayEXPO will debut on Friday, March 2 through Sunday, March 4 (visit www.speedwayexpo.com for more details).

As part of the revised and expanded show format, the founders will be celebrating Northeast racing with the “Speedy Awards”. The Speedy” is a prestigious honor that will be bestowed by you, members of the racing community. Members of the Speedway EXPO staff have compiled a list of candidates in each of nine categories (go to www.speedwayexpo.com/speedy.htm to find their suggestions), but racers and fans are encouraged to make their own nominations. To nominate someone in one or more of the categories (a brief explanation is below of the criteria accompanying each category) you need to send in a brief explanation why your nominee is most deserving. Nominations can be e-mailed to racingpr@aol.com or use the “submit here” button from on their website. Each submission must be accompanied by the nominating person’s name and a valid e-mail address.

The “Speedy Awards” are not a popularity contest, where the most votes will guarantee an award. The awards will be presented following a review of each nominating statement by a distinguished panel of judges. A special presentation will be held on Sunday, March 4 at the SpeedwayEXPO to honor the recipients.

To the entire ACT and Thunder Road contingent of racers and fans in the US, Canada and farther afield, we need your help to make nominations of the drivers you feel are most deserving. There needs to be representation from the northern part of the Northeast!

The categories:

Break-Out Racer of the Year (Roger Brown for his exceptional season, a top five point finish and a win at Seekonk comes to mind as does Joey Pole who set a new Thunder Road track record in the Milk Bowl for the pole and ran to a third place finish come quickly to mind as possibilities although there are more who fit the bill). Weekly racers are also eligible for this award

Long Haul Award (for the driver who has exhibited major “Staying Power” in the sport for prolonged and continued high-level performances). How ‘bout Joey Laquerre, Claude Leclerc or Yvon Bedard – all are legends in the sport although they might not like to be reminded of their longevity behind the wheel.

Best Weekly Racer – the list of potential nominees from Thunder Road long.

Best Northeast Touring Racer – Another long list of ACT racers comes to mind.

Best Weekly Show – ‘nuff said!

Best Individual Performance in an Event – Pick any of the events on the 2006 ACT Tour or the Quebec Late Model Series as well as at Thunder Road and the list is almost endless.

Best Individual Promotion – The Merchants Bank 150? ACT’s return to Sanair? The Bond Auto Labor Day Classic? The Milk Bowl? Take your pick of one of these or a different one and submit your suggestion.

Best Series or Track Coverage – This can be for a newspaper (daily or weekly) or a website.

Best Fan of the Year – Nominate yourself or someone you know who is dedicated and why.

Outstanding Contribution Award - Who makes a difference?

The Solid Lifter – An award for a non-racer. Recognizes the strength of a behind the scenes person.

There you have it! Put on your thinking caps and make some submissions to make sure ACT is represented. Nominations will be accepted until February 18 (that’s next Sunday!).