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Laquerre Dominates WDEV 100 at Thunder Road

WDEV's John Noyes (left) and Jack Donovan (right) join the Top 3 Sportsman drivers in victory lane

Veteran stock car racer Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier has been taking the young drivers at Barre’s Thunder Road to school for five decades, and Thursday’s WDEV 100 was no different. The 63 year-old won the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division’s second long-distance event of the season, making it a clean sweep of the 100-lap features in 2007.

Laquerre, who also won the Casella Waste Management Mother’s Day 100 in May, made an aggressive pass underneath leader Matt White of Northfield to take command on lap 21, then held off White’s repeated challenges throughout the final 25 laps to take the victory. Second-generation driver White, who is half Laquerre’s age, tried to repay the favor of Laquerre’s lap 21 bump on lap 80, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to re-take the lead. The Northfield driver settled for second place ahead of Williamstown’s Chuck Beede, Nick Sweet of Barre, and Craftsbury rookie Joel Hodgdon.

“These kids can drive, they’re good,” said Laquerre in victory lane. “I love to run against them, they race so hard but are so respectful. Matt did a good job tonight.”

Sportsman Battles Continue at WDEV 100 on Thursday

A variety of battles in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman stock car racing division will heat up again at the WDEV 100 on Thursday (June 21) at Barre’s Thunder Road.  Clashes in the division between age groups and automobile manufacturers have been spectacular in 2007.  The WDEV 100, which is the second of two extra-distance events for the intermediate Sportsman class this year, is shaping up to provide more of the same.

Sweet (50) and Laquerre (15) each have Sportsman wins for the GM camp this year

With half of the top-10 point drivers combining for an average age of 24.6 and the other half considerably older at an average of 44.8 years old, it appears that some schooling is taking place by both groups.  Young guns Nick Sweet, Pete Ainsworth, and Brendan Moodie lead 63 year-old veteran Joey Laquerre in NAPA Sportsman point standings after four events.  The balance of the top-10 is comprised of drivers ranging in age from 21 year-old feature winner Tom Therrien to multi-time “King of the Road” Chuck Beede, age 50.

While General Motors products have swept the first four events of the 2007 season, three full-time Ford drivers have been in close striking distance throughout the campaign.  Sweet, Therrien, and Scott Coburn have victories for Chevrolet while Laquerre won the Casella Waste Management Mother’s Day 100 in a Pontiac, but Ford racers Ainsworth, Moodie, and Justin Hart have each scored a top-five finish.  Hart is also the defending winner of the WDEV event from one year ago.

Rookie Battles Heating Up at Thunder Road

Hodgdon leads the Sportsman rookie standings

Stock car Rookie of the Year battles are beginning to heat up in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman and Allen Lumber Street Stock divisions at Barre’s Thunder Road.  After four events in 2007, a pair of 19 year-old racers lead in their respective divisions.

In one of the largest NAPA Sportsman rookie classes in recent memory, Craftsbury’s Joel Hodgdon leads ten other freshman racers that earned points this year.  Hodgdon narrowly edged out veteran Craig Bushey of Cambridge to finish an impressive third at the Ferguson Waterworks event one week ago, and leads Hyde Park driver Kyle Tatro in the rookie standings by seven points, 38-31.  Barre’s Shawn Sicard, last year’s Street Stock Rookie of the Year, sits third at 29 points.  Tim Potter of Plainfield (27 points) and Barre’s Lance Allen (26 points) complete the top five.

Like Sicard, Hodgdon is a former Street Stock Rookie of the Year, and was the 2004 recipient of the Dr. G.R. Nielsen Award for outstanding performance by a first-year driver.  Ironically, Hodgdon is currently tied for 12th in overall NAPA Sportsman standings with Bushey.