Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Stockwell Comes “Home” to Thunder Road’s Victory Lane

Veteran stock car racer Kip Stockwell of Braintree arrived back “home” in victory lane at Barre’s Thunder Road in the 50-lap Pepsi Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular on Tuesday night.  Stockwell took the fifth Late Model division win of his career, but it was his first trip to the winner’s circle since 1997.

After a successful stint at Thunder Road in the 1990s, Stockwell competed on the NASCAR Busch East Series for nearly a decade, and raced at places as far away as California.  The 2007 season marked Stockwell’s return to Thunder Road, and the Pepsi victory puts a stamp on his arrival.

“There’s no place like home,” said a jubilant Stockwell following his win.  “I’ve raced all over this country against all kinds of people, and Thunder Road has the most respectable drivers and the best competition anywhere.  Being in victory lane at Thunder Road has always been my dream.  This is better than Daytona.”

Stockwell passed early leader Mike Bailey of Barre for the top spot on lap 29 and never looked back.  Former NAPA Tiger Sportsman division champion Shawn Fleury of Middlesex passed Bailey for second place on lap 42, followed closely by Trampas Demers of South Burlington and Phil Scott of Middlesex.

Thunder Road Doubleheader on Tap This Week

Stock car racing fans in Central Vermont are getting ready for an action-packed doubleheader race week at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement,” Barre’s Thunder Road.  Pepsi presents the 48th Annual Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular on Tuesday, July 3, with green flag racing action for the ACT Late Model, NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stock, and Power Shift Junkyard Warrior divisions, plus the region’s biggest and best holiday fireworks extravaganza.  Preliminary qualifying rounds for the Street Stocks and

Marcel Gravel has been on a tear lately... Can he go 3-for-3 on Tuesday?

Warriors begin at 6:30pm, with the traditional Thunder Road Post Parade kicking off the regular program of events at 7:00pm.

Just two days later on Thursday, July 5, Charter Communications presents a full card for all four racing divisions.  Like Tuesday’s race schedule, Street Stocks and Warriors begin qualifying at 6:30pm, with the regular program beginning at 7:00pm. 

Wolcott’s Marcel Gravel will look for his third consecutive victory in the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model division at Tuesday’s Pepsi event.  Gravel made history on Sanel Parts Plus Night last week, becoming the first driver ever to earn the first two wins of his career in back-to-back races.  Dave Whitcomb, the 1995 “King of the Road” from Essex Junction, leads the division with 328 points after five events.  Dave Pembroke of Montpelier and Joey Becker of Jeffersonville are tied for second place, just three points behind Whitcomb.  Past champions Cris Michaud (312) and Jamie Fisher (307) round out the top five drivers.

Gravel Doubles Up in Front of Monster Crowd at Thunder Road, NASCAR’s Wallace 12th

The Sanel Parts Plus Late Model feature lineup in front of a huge T-Road crowd

Marcel Gravel of Wolcott made stock car racing history at Barre’s Thunder Road on Sanel Parts Plus Night on Thursday. In front of the largest crowd of the season, Gravel became the first driver since the inception of the ACT Late Model division in 1992 to take the first two wins of his career in consecutive events. The defending Thunder Road Rookie of the Year started fifth on the 26-car field, which included NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

Kenny Wallace (left) joined Late Model winner Marcel Gravel in victory lane

driver Kenny Wallace of St. Louis, MO, and passed leader Jerry Lesage of Winooski on a lap 31  restart.

“The car was great tonight,” said Gravel in victory lane. “I wanted to adjust the setup, but my crew chief said not to. He was right, and the car was really strong.”

Veteran racer Lesage held on during the remainder of the 50-lap Sanel Parts Plus Trophy Dash to finish second for his best result of the year, while former track champion Dave Whitcomb of Essex Jct. was awarded third place in the technical inspection line. Apparent third-place finisher Gary Caron was disqualified for an illegal carburetor spacer. Shelburne’s Dennis Demers was moved up to fourth place ahead of Hyde Park driver Eric Williams.

Joey Becker, Rich Lowrey, Trampas Demers, Dave Pembroke, and Kip Stockwell completed the unofficial Top 10 finishers in order. Wallace fought an ill-handling car to finish in 12th place.