Thunder Road SpeedBowl
“Outlaw” Eddie MacDonald Enters Bond Auto Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road

Eddie MacDonald returns to Thunder Road Sunday

Outlaw stock car racer Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, MA is the latest to file an entry for Sunday’s 29th Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200, part of the American-Canadian Tour’s ACTion Super Series at Thunder Road in Barre.  The 27 year-old MacDonald has copped victories on the ACT Late Model Tour and the NASCAR Busch East Series this season, and will make his first trip to “The Nation’s Site of Excitement” since running with the Busch East Series in the 2003 Labor Day Classic.

MacDonald has been looking forward to returning to Thunder Road since his ACT victory at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on August 11 – his only ACT start of the season.

“We’re going to go home and start getting this car ready for Labor Day at Thunder Road,” MacDonald said in victory lane at Oxford.  “We love that place.”  In his last foray to the Quarry Hill oval, MacDonald finished fifth behind winner and five-time ACT Late Model Tour Champion Brian Hoar of Williston.

Pembroke Crowned “King of the Road”

Demers Fends Off Title Contender Michaud for Fisher/Federated Auto Parts Win

2007 "King of the Road" Dave Pembroke

Montpelier stock car driver Dave Pembroke was crowned the 2007 “King of the Road” at Barre’s Thunder Road on Fisher/Federated Auto Parts Night on Tuesday.  Pembroke joins a list 48 years in the making as champion of the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model division at the historic quarter-mile high-banked oval.

“It means so much to my family to win this championship,” Pembroke said as he celebrated his triumph.  “We all grew up here at Thunder Road, and to win the championship a year after Chad Wheeler, whose family has been close with mine forever, is really special.  To have raced down to the last race with drivers like Cris Michaud and Jamie Fisher, it makes everything that much sweeter.”

Pembroke entered the Fisher/Federated Auto Parts event with a 34-point lead over Fisher and a 40-point cushion over Michaud.  While Pembroke and Fisher struggled in their qualifying heats, Michaud advanced to transfer into the bonus-points semi-feature, making up precious points before the main event.

Pembroke finished ninth in the 25-car Fisher/Federated Auto Parts field, and spent the entire 50-lap race trying to reach Michaud, who rocketed toward the front from the 14th starting position.  Michaud contended for the win with South Burlington driver Trampas Demers until the closing laps.  Demers ended a month-long streak of bad luck with his victory.

In Memory - Dr. Gordon R. "Doc" Nielsen

Dr. G.R. "Doc" Nielsen, 1930-2007

Thunder Road mourns the passing of Dr. Gordon R. “Doc” Nielsen.  Doc was the chief scorer for the Thunder Road (Barre, VT) and American-Canadian Tour organizations from 1963 to 1998, and was responsible for innovations used in all types of auto racing to this day.  An intimidating figure with a piercing gaze, Nielsen had a soft spot for rookie racers, often tutoring them in procedural – and life – lessons.

Following his retirement from racing, the highly-respected insect expert and Pesticide Coordinatior (Nielsen received a B.S. in forestry and a Ph.D. in entomology) was honored with the creation of the Dr. G. R. Nielsen Rookie Achievement Award, presented to the top-performing freshman driver across all ACT/Thunder Road racing divisions each season.

Mike Martin, a Street Stock rookie at Thunder Road, was given the honor in 2006.  Other previous winners include Scott Payea, Nick Sweet, Jamie Fisher, and Billy Herring, the inaugural winner in 1998.

Doc passed away at home on Saturday following a courageous battle with cancer.  He was 77.