Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Happy New Year to everyone! Now that the calendar has officially turned the corner, let the 2007 season begin!!

Tons of rumors are flying around as drivers, teams and race fans get together for some off-season bench racing. Some actual facts are out in the marketplace as well. For instance ….

Chip Grenier from Northfield and Brooks Clark of Fayston, dabbled in the Late Model division toward the end of last season. Both look to increase their participation in 2007. Grenier is a past recipient of the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division's Sportsmanship Award.

Reports from the Dave Pembroke camp are that he's opting to concentrate on his weekly efforts at Thunder Road in hopes of a first Late Model "King of the Road" title. The Montpelier driver was the division's Rookie of the Year in 2000 after securing the NAPA Tiger Sportsman "King of the Road" crown the previous year.

Speaking of the Pembroke clan, Steve Pembroke (Dave's uncle) will own the NAPA Tiger Sportsman machine which will be piloted by Rick Garand. Garand (a Pembroke nephew and cousin) last raced in the division in 1996, his sophomore season. In '95 he was Thunder Road's Tiger Sportsman Rookie of the Year. Apparently Garand will be behind the wheel for 90-95% of the events while head wrench, Eric Pembroke (also a former Sportsman competitor) may opt to run a few times.

Baby Boom …
Congrats go out to the new race fans (and maybe future drivers?) and their parents who arrived on the scene after the 2006 season wrapped…

Caroline "Carly" Mancini arrived in November. The proud parents are Carrie (Guyette) and Tom Mancini. Carrie is a scorer at Thunder Road. Grandparents are Thunder Road staffers Marcia and Tommy Guyette.

Donovan Charles Sicard arrived in early December. The proud parents are Renee (Beede) and Shawn Sicard. Renee is a former Street Stock and Tiger Sportsman driver and Shawn is the 2006 Allen Lumber Street Stock Rookie of the Year.

Rachel Beede, also a former Street Stock and Tiger Sportsman driver and Dan Laggner welcomed Riley Daniel at the end of December. Multi-time Thunder Road Champion, Chuck Beede and wife Francine are the excited grandparents.

Speaking of Sicard, he and fellow Allen Lumber Street Stock competitor Joel Hodgdon will turn their efforts to the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division in 2007.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the other motorsports shows in the next few months that you might consider attending.

Racin' Preview - Portland (ME) Civic Center
Fri, Feb 23 (4 - 10 pm), Sat, Feb 24 (9 am - 9 pm)

Speedway Expo - Eastern States Exposition, W. Springfield, MA
Better Living Center and Stroh Building
Fri, Mar 2 (2 - 9 pm), Sat, Mar 3 (10 am - 9 pm), Sun, Mar 4 (11 am - 5 pm)
(Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated Magazine is resurrecting the annual early March show at the Big E - for more info go to

The annual ACT and Thunder Road Car Show at the University Mall, S. Burlington, VT is slated for March 17-18. If you are interested in having your car on display, please contact the office (802-244-6963). Space is limited. Move-in will be on Friday (March 16) after the mall closes. This is a great opportunity to give your sponsors some extra visibility.

Reminder - today is the last day for ballots to be submitted for the season-ending awards. Also, reservations are also due if you plan to attend the annual Banquet of Champions

Blast From The Past - 1974

Joey Laquerre, shown here at the former Catamount Stadium in Milton, VT in 1974, was almost unbeatable in the Mini Stock division of the 1970s and early '80s.  During the life of the division, Laquerre won over 50 feature races at Thunder Road, Catamount, and various other tracks in the region.  Between the two Vermont tracks, Laquerre won seven track championships and three Vermont State titles.

Joey “Pole” and Brendan Moodie each receive two nominations

Seventeen year-old Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk from Hudson, NH is the lone driver to appear on both of the ACT Tour’s season end special award ballots. In his second year of ACT action, the Granite State competitor finished the 2006 season with an impressive third place in Thunder Road’s historic Milk Bowl after he stunned the competition by establishing a new Late Model track record and winning the Booth Brothers Pole Award. The youngster’s name is on both the “Most Improved” and “Sportsmanship” ballots.

Final ballots for several season-ending awards are in the mail to licensed competitors and officials. The ballots were formulated following a preliminary nominating ballot distributed earlier this year. Drivers who received the most nominations in the various categories are on the final ballot. Licensed ACT Late Model Tour, and ACT Sportsman drivers, as well as those competing weekly at Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road, can vote for their peers.

Twelve different names appeared on nominating ballots for the Late Model “Most Improved Driver” award, with those receiving the highest number of mentions transferring to the final ballot. Making the final cut are drivers representing three different states. Roger Brown from Lancaster, NH, the 2003 ACT Tour Rookie of the Year has captured the attention of his fellow competitors since he graduated to a Late Model, having appeared on the Most Improved ballot in each of the past four years. Brown posted his second career Tour win in 2006 with a victory at Seekonk (MA) Speedway en route to fourth in the standings was the award’s recipient last year. Vermont’s David Chagnon had a career best season during weekly competition at Thunder Road which included four top 10 finishes. Mark Lamberton from Mooers Forks, NY ran his first full season with the ACT Tour with impressive results. The veteran racer and former Airborne Raceway Late Model Champion finished fifth in the final tally. Polewarczyk is the final nominee.

Past recipients of the Late Model Most Improved Driver Award include Steve Fisher, Trampas Demers, Chad Wheeler (twice), Phil Scott and multi-time Thunder Road Late Model King of the Road, Cris Michaud (twice), among others.

Five names are listed on the Late Model “Sportsmanship” award ballot. Massachusetts racer, A.J. Begin scored his first nomination in the category. Last year he was nominated as a candidate for the most improved award. Ron Henry the 2004 and 2005 Late Model Sportsmanship Award winner is on the ballot for a third consecutive year as is current and a multi-time ACT Tour Champion, Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT. The Sportsmanship award is one of the few honors Cyr has never won. Brent Dragon, the award’s 2003 winner is back on the ballot. Polewarczyk rounds out the nominees. In addition to Henry and Dragon, other Sportsmanship Award winners include Dave Whitcomb, Dave Wilcox, Herb Drugg, and Eric Williams, to name a few.