Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Thursday night’s Times Argus Mid-Season Championship event at Barre’s Thunder Road could go a long way in determining who will win the 2006 “King of the Road” titles in each of the stock car racing track’s four divisions. Or maybe not. The standings are remarkably close which means that, for the most part, each competitor has been keeping his closest challengers within sight. All races - heats, semi-feature and main event - will award double the normal amount of points, and all divisions will have a longer than normal feature race.

Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Ctr leads the Late Model standings over fellow veteran, Dennis Demers from Shelburne by seven points (616-609). Ironically, the frontrunners have a very similar statistical record thus far this season. Neither has won a race yet in 2006 although both have posted a runner-up finish as best on the year. Both have five top five finishes. Wheeler has a couple of more top ten finishes than Demers, but Demers has more starts in the bonus purse and point Semi-Feature. Each is sure to keep his eyes peeled on the other in Thursday’s bonus point event.

As close as the standings are among the top two, they don’t have a monopoly on tight battles. Only 115 points separates the top ten drivers, and a single point is the difference between fifth and sixth place! A missed set-up, poor performance or someone else’s mistake could weigh heavily on standings once the points are tallied after the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship.

Joe Becker from Jeffersonville, who’s in the midst of a career best performance on the year, rides third (578). Like Wheeler and Demers, Becker has yet to win. Shelburne’s Jamie Fisher vaulted two spots, from sixth to fourth last week following his victory in the Fisher/Federated Auto Parts 50. The 2003 Thunder Road Late Model Champion has 553 points. Rounding out the top five is John Donahue from Graniteville (536).

There’s still time to enter the 22nd Annual M&M Beverage Enduro at Barre’s own Thunder Road Speedbowl! This Sunday’s, (July 30th) event will consist of friends, neighbors, relatives and more than 100 other non-notables in a 200 lap endurance race where consistency and driver skill, not speed, are the key to success. If you think driving through construction at rush hour is bad, wait ‘til you see the virtual parking lot of cars at the Enduro. The fans turned racers thrill the spectators as they are given the initial green flag lined-up three-wide around the track. The event, will run caution free, requiring drivers to avoid competitors whose car has either expired or crashed on the speedplant. The winner of the event will take home a prize of two-thousand dollars, as well as serious bragging rights. This crash filled event is a must see for race fans of all ages!

The winner of Thunder Road’s Power Shift Warrior division special Fisher/Federated Auto Parts team race event was announced Friday following a complete tabulation of each driver’s performance in the competition. The winning team consisted of Sean McCarthy from Washington, Barre’s Ken Stridsberg and Maynard Bartlett Jr of Wolcott. The trio amassed a cumulative score of 20 points in the 25-lap feature race.

Team #3, represented by Frank Sanborn (Waterbury Ctr), Richard Gravel (Wolcott) and David Whitcomb (Elmore) raced to a total of 28 points to nab the runner-up spot. Neal Foster (Moretown), Kevin Utton (Worcester) and Bunker Hodgdon (Hardwick), Team #2 scored 32 points for third.

Completing the top five was Team #8 (Leonard Sanborn, David LaFleche and Jayme Lee) with 34 points and Team #5 scoring 35 points (Buster Porter, Scott Weston and Jared Henry).

The eight teams were each comprised of competitors from each of three handicap levels (high, middle and low). Drivers competed in the feature race which was made up of several racing components on the high-banked, quarter-mile speedplant.

(PHOTO: The middle handicap drivers wait in the infield for a tag from a teammate to begin the second component of the PowerShift Warrior Team race.)

All 24 drivers were scored as individual racers and placed in order according to the distance each covered. Team members earned points based on their placement in the finishing order (the winner received one point, second got two, etc). The scores of the three team members were added together and the group with the lowest cumulative total was declared the winner.

The PowerShift Warrior division, along with Thunder Road's Late Models, NAPA Sportsmen and Allen Lumber Street Stocks return to the "Nation's Site of Excitement" next Thursday (July 27) for the double-point Times Argus Mid-Season Championships. Post time is 7:00 pm.