Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Tad Kingsbury of West Topsham, VT was victorious in the 22nd running of the M&M Beverage Enduro at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl. The Sunday (July 30th) “People’s Race” included entries from Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. A field of 104 cars took the green flag three-wide around the ¼ mile asphalt oval. The 200 lap endurance race required drivers to be consistent, as skill, not speed, was the key to success. The one day heroes were forced to avoid competitors whose car had either expired or crashed on the speedplant as the event does not pause for cautions.

The annual event was the second “People’s Race” for nineteen-year-old fan turned racer. Sunday, Kingsbury was battling 103 other drivers and a horrendous summertime cold which consisted of a cough that would not cease during the victory lane ceremony. His illness forced him to reconsider participating in the event however, due to his success in the first attempt he and his pit crew, parents Mark and Sharon, decided it was worth attending. Kingsbury led most of the 2005 event and was taken out of contention by a slower car. He finished the event in the fifth position gaining knowledge that proved to be useful en route to the win.

Morrisville’s Pete Fecteau raced and won all three of his Late Model events Thursday night at Barre’s Thunder Road to score a rare “Triple Crown” at the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship. Fecteau’s feat launched him from 11th in the season-long point standings to fifth due to the double points available at the Mid-Season event. Fecteau, the 1997 Thunder Road Late Model “King of the Road” held off multi-time Champion, Phil Scott from Montpelier after a back and forth duel for the lead in the closing laps of the 60 lap feature. Trampas Demers of So. Burlington was third. Rounding out the top five was Williamstown’s Cris Michaud and Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Center.

Wheeler was able to extend his point lead over Shelburne’s Dennis Demers to an unofficial 35 with his performance in the double-point Mid-Season event (766-731). Demers kept Wheeler in sight but was unable to capitalize on the extra points available. He finished tenth in the feature.

“My car was fast all night although it did fade a bit at the end. I had all I could do to keep it ahead of Phil (Scott),” said the winner of his 15th career Late Model victory.

Runner-up Scott used the high groove to move through the pack from his 12 place starting spot, “It was a great race. We gave Pete a good run on the outside. I thought I might have something for him at the end, he raced me clean but I just couldn’t get it done.”

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).