Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Lanphear Returns to Thunder Road Winnerís Circle

Rain Washes Sportsmen/Warrior Features Away

Dwayne Lanphear's Kinney Drugs win was his first at Thunder Road since the 2001 Vermont Milk Bowl

Veteran Late Model stock car racer Dwayne Lanphear of Morrisville returned to Victory Lane at Barre’s Thunder Road for the first time in six years with an impressive outside lane run in the 50-lap Kinney Drugs Trophy Dash on Thursday night.  Lanphear battled with Wolcott’s Marcel Gravel, Northfield rookie Chip Grenier, and Essex Junction veteran Dave Whitcomb throughout the event.

Lanphear took the lead from Grenier on lap eight, but surrendered it to Gravel at the half-way point.  A lap 39 caution period brought Lanphear outside Gravel for the restart, and the former Vermont Milk Bowl Champion used the higher, faster groove to his advantage.  Whitcomb made a late charge past Gravel, then pressured Lanphear for the win but ran out of time.  Gravel held on to finish third.

Montpelier’s Dave Pembroke had a productive night, moving from second place in the Thunder Road “King of the Road” Championship standings into an unofficial lead of 34 points with just one event remaining.  Pembroke’s main rivals for the title, Jamie Fisher of Shelburne and Williamstown’s Cris Michaud, suffered their worst finishes of the season in 20th and 17th respectively.  The trio was involved in a crash on lap 40 that vaulted Fisher’s car over the hood of Pembroke’s.  While Fisher and Michaud were forced to pit for repairs, Pembroke continued, finishing an incredible fourth place ahead of Grenier.

Scott, Becker Not Giving Up Thunder Road Title Fight

Phil Scott in victory lane last Thursday

Stock car drivers Phil Scott and Joey Becker are currently chasing a trio of tightly-grouped championship point leaders at Barre’s Thunder Road entering Thursday’s 50-lap Kinney Drugs trophy dash, the final Thursday night event on the Thunder Road schedule.  Veteran racer Scott is a three-time American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model “King of the Road” while Becker is a young up-and-comer, having won the Rookie of the Year title in 2003.

“We’re still in this thing,” said Scott.  “We’ve been on a roll lately, and we’re really building momentum.”  The Middlesex driver picked up his first victory of the season in last week’s Vermont ACE Hardware Dealers feature and now trails leader Jamie Fisher by 57 points.  “We had a tough early season, but we can chase the leaders down, it’s been done before.  The good part is that there’s no pressure from where my team sits; the top three are fighting tooth-and-nail, and my job right now is to sneak into it.”

Fisher, a Shelburne native, leads Dave Pembroke of Montpelier and Williamstown’s Cris Michaud by a total spread of just seven points, the closest three-way battle in Thunder Road’s 48-year history.  Scott paces Becker by two points.  In terms of sheer mathematics, fifteen drivers are still within the championship window with two races remaining.  The final point-counting race for the Late Model division is at next Tuesday’s Fisher/Federated Auto Parts event.

Kinney Drugs to Present Final Thursday Race, Kids Poster Contest at Thunder Road

The familiar scene of orange Kinney Drugs hats that dot the Thunder Road hillside grandstands every year

Kinney Drugs will present the final Thursday night stock car racing program of the summer at Barre’s Thunder Road this Thursday, August 23 at 6:30pm.  With only two championship events remaining for the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model division, the 2007 “King of the Road” title chase is the closest in Thunder Road’s storied 48-year history.

Only seven points separate former Thunder Road Champion Jamie “Hurricane” Fisher of Shelburne, Montpelier’s Dave Pembroke, and three-time “King of the Road” Cris Michaud of Williamstown entering Thursday’s Kinney Drugs event.  Never before has a three-way Thunder Road title chase been so close with only a pair of races left on the schedule.

“The fans have been telling me that it’s a good show between the three of us,” said Michaud, who won Thunder Road titles in 2001, 2004, and 2005.  “We’re all good racers, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch things unfold over the next two weeks.  Our teams are all preparing our cars the best we can, and all we need is some good luck to go along with our efforts.”