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Gravel Doubles Up in Front of Monster Crowd at Thunder Road, NASCARís 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.

Thunder Road and ACT Turn Up Summer Heat

Thunder Road in Barre and the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) are teaming up for a busy early summer stock car racing schedule. With six race events in just ten days, the summer action will heat up in a hurry.

Beginning with Sanel Parts Plus Night this Thursday (June 28), NASCAR star Kenny Wallace will take on the “Kings of the Road” behind the wheel of an ACT Late Model. Thunder Road’s low regular ticket prices remain in effect for the special event, with general admission only $9 for adults, $3 for children, and just $18 for a family of four. Green flag qualifying action for Street Stocks and Warriors begins at 6:30pm, with the traditional Thunder Road Post Parade rolling out at 7:00pm.

Also highlighting the schedule is an action-packed Independence Day week doubleheader at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement” in Barre. Pepsi presents the annual Independence Day fireworks extravaganza at Thunder Road on Tuesday, July 3 with a full card of Late Models, NAPA Tiger Sportsmen, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Power Shift Junkyard Warriors. Just two days later, all four divisions return for Charter Communications Night on Thursday, July 5. Street Stocks and Warriors begin qualifying at 6:30pm at both events, with the Post Parade at 7:00pm.

Former M&M Beverage Enduro Champion Paul Wells Files First Entry

Paul Wells of Enosburg has filed the first entry for “The People’s Race”, the 23rd annual M&M Beverage Enduro 200 on Sunday, July 29 at Barre’s Thunder Road.  The Enduro is a 200-lap, no-holds-barred event where over 100 amateur drivers race virtually street-legal automobiles for a top prize of $2,000.

Wells won the race in 1996, and will try to duplicate the feat in a car considerably different than his first winning mount.  The 48 year-old will drive a compact 1993 Dodge Colt, much smaller than the full-sized Chevrolet Monte Carlo he drove to the win over a decade ago.

“My crew chief, Steve Morriseau, talked me out of retirement,” said Wells with a chuckle.  “We don’t care whether it goes well or not, we just want to have fun, which is really what it’s all about.  At first, I wasn’t sure about that little Dodge Colt we’ve got, but a lot of the recent winners have been smaller cars.  I guess it could do it.”