Thunder Road SpeedBowl
In recent memory no one can remember a battle for the King of the Road title that has been as close as this season in all divisions at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl. With only three point counting races remaining for the Late Model division, the chase for the championship title is coming to a close. The NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and PowerShift Warriors each have five events left on the schedule for their battles which leaves little time to climb atop the standings.

Late Model point leader Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Center appears to have the upper hand over second place points man Dennis Demers from Shelburne. Not only is Wheeler currently the leader of the season long standings, but he has consistently finished higher than Demers to keep him in the top spot. However, Demers, like his fellow competitors, continues to chase Wheeler and the dream of becoming the next “King of the Road”.

John Donahue of Graniteville became the twelfth different Late Model winner in as many events at Barre's Thunder Road Thursday night. The veteran racer held off the race-long challenges of eventual runner-up Chad Wheeler of Waterbury Center and Montpelier's David Pembroke to post his second career victory. Joey Laquerre from East Montpelier was fourth and Middlesex driver, Phil Scott completed the top five finishers.

Rookie contender, Marcel Gravel from Wolcott started on the pole of the Calkins/Windshield World Trophy Dash and held the lead for the first six circuits of the 50-lap race. Donahue, a two-time NAPA Sportsman Champion at the high-banked quarter-mile oval, used the high groove to pass Gravel. Wheeler, the Late Model point leader entering the race, followed Donahue up the outside and set off to close the gap.

A caution on the 30th circuit closed the distance between the front runners and set up a duel that had the huge crowd on their feet. Donahue had the inside line with Wheeler on the outside. Pembroke lined up behind Donahue with Laquerre along side. The lead pair swapped the top spot back and forth as they circumnavigated the track. Pembroke and Laquerre poked the noses of their cars in to the battle with Pembroke crossing the line as the second place car several times.

The yellow flag flew for the second and final time with two laps remaining which set up a drag race to the finish. The top four crossed the line under a virtual blanket to the roar of the fans' approval.

"Even though Chad (Wheeler) and I bumped a couple of times on the backstretch, we gave each other plenty of room (to race). My father (spotter Paul, a former racer) told me to do what the car would give me," the winner stated in Victory Lane.

Wheeler, who still looks to carry the checkered flag in 2006, remarked, "My car was great tonight but I couldn't quite get John (Donahue). It sure was great racing!"
Defending Late Model Champion, Cris Michaud from Williamstown was sixth, Trampas Demers (S Burlington), Dennis Demers, Jamie Fisher (both from Shelburne) and Jeffersonville's Joe Becker completed the top ten.

Hey kids do you have a favorite driver? Flex your creative muscles by making a poster for the annual Kinney Drugs poster contest at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl. Celebrate the final Thursday race of the season on August 24th by bringing your artwork to the race track and show it to the sponsors and crowd. Children who qualify for one of the three age groups may participate (6 and under, 7, 8, 9 and 10-12.)

The contest will take place during intermission and three from each age group will be selected and presented with a trophy. All participants will receive an award. Kids, sharpen your colored pencils, crayons and get your markers ready to draw. You can use any type of material for your poster, but it can not be computer generated and must be the original artwork of a child.

The Kinney Drugs event on August 24th has a post time of 7:00 pm. Pit gates open at 4:00 pm. Spectator gates open at 5:00pm. Adults are nine dollars, children (ages 6-12) are only three dollars and a family of four (two adults-two children) is just 18 dollars.