Thunder Road SpeedBowl
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.

Did you miss the Ferguson Waterworks event?  You sure missed a barn-burner, but you can catch up on all the action by checking out the video highlights posted on the WCAX and WPTZ websites!  Click here to see the WCAX Channel 3  video, or visit the Sports page on for the NewsChannel 5 video!


Dennis Demers in Ferguson Waterworks victory lane

Stock car driver Dennis Demers of Shelburne came out on top of a thrilling 50-lap Late Model division feature on Ferguson Waterworks Night at Barre’s Thunder Road on Thursday. Demers recovered from a lap 2 spin, then drove through a disastrous crash on lap 41 to steal the lead from Dave Whitcomb of Essex Junction with seven laps remaining.

Whitcomb, driving a Ferguson Waterworks-sponsored Chevrolet, led the majority of the race, and held off strong challenges from Phil Scott, Demers, and Demers’ son, Trampas. As Dennis and Trampas Demers battled for second position on lap 41, Scott attempted to push the pair three-wide

Trampas Demers (85) slams the "Widowmaker" wall.  Phil Scott (14) was also involved, but Cris Michaud (6) escaped

in Thunder Road’s treacherous fourth turn. As the three cars made contact, Trampas Demers veered directly into the outside wall, taking Scott with him. Dennis Demers spun to avoid the melee, as did Jamie Fisher. No drivers were injured in the wreck.

As green flag action resumed, Dennis Demers swiftly out-maneuvered Whitcomb to take over the top spot. Whitcomb attempted several times to rattle Demers, but had settle for second place. Cris Michaud of Williamstown nipped Fisher at the finish for third place. Dave Pembroke of Montpelier, who entered the night as the Late Model point leader, completed the unofficial top five finishers.

NAPA Tiger Sportsman winner Scott Coburn

Hometown drivers swept the top two finishing positions in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman feature. Scott Coburn took the lead from Josh Lovely near the halfway mark of the 35-lap event, and sped to his second career win. Lovely held off a great battle for third place between Craig Bushey of Cambridge and rookie Joel Hodgdon of Craftsbury. Hodgdon made a last-turn bid on the inside to grab the position from Bushey. Chuck Beede of Williamstown finished fifth.

Chad Stewart of Barnet nailed down his first career Allen Lumber Street Stock victory, narrowly edging out Bruce Melendy of Danville. Rookie Mike Ziter finished a career-best third, unofficially.

James Dopp of Montpelier earned his first Power Shift Junkyard Warrior win of the year to close out the Ferguson Waterworks event. Jared Henry of East Barre backed up a Memorial Day victory with a second- place finish. Neal Foster of Waterbury was third.

Thunder Road’s 48th season of exciting stock car racing continues with the WDEV 100 for the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division next Thursday (June 21), with an early start time of 6:00pm. Late Models, Street Stocks, and Warriors will also be in action. For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit