Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Thunder Road Spring Practice

Thunder Road Pit Notes

Nearly 40 stock car racing teams attended Thunder Road’s annual spring practice session on Thursday (April 24) evening. Teams from the track’s top three divisions took their first practice laps of the year in anticipation of this weekend’s Merchants Bank 150 season opener.

·         Just over 20 ACT Late Models were on hand to shake down their rides.

·         The majority of the Late Model teams in attendance were hitting the track for the first time in 2014.

·         Only Bobby Therrien, Brandon Atkins, Lance Allen, Nick Sweet, Mike Ziter, Emily Packard and Jimmy Hebert have already started their seasons at the ACT race at Lee USA Speedway a couple weeks ago.

·         2013 “King of the Road” Derrick O’Donnell looks ready to defend his title. Former champion Nick Sweet as well as a stout group of contenders are poised to spoil his hopes.

·         The Bond Auto Tigers on hand were virtually all veterans of the division. Most competed at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” last season with the exception of rookie Stephen Donahue and Joel Hodgdon, who is returning after a couple years off.

·         Brendan Moodie took to the track in his new ride, while Jason Woodard looked fast as the highest finishing Tiger from 2013 to return this season.

·         The Allen Lumber Street Stocks were led by defending champion Bunker Hodgdon, all-time wins leader Tommy “Thunder” Smith and veteran David Whitcomb. Also on hand were the Perry brothers (Jaden and Jamon) and rookie Thomas Merchant.

The 16th annual Merchants Bank 150 is this Sunday, April 27. Class day ceremonies begin at 1:00pm. Saturday, April 26 is the annual car show in downtown Barre from 9am to noon. The pit stop contest will be held at 10:30am with the parade up to the track at noon.

Tigers and Street Stocks Begin Title Hunts

Thunder Road Tigers and Street Stocks Start 2014 Title Hunts

The Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen and the Allen Lumber Street Stocks will begin their 2014 championship campaigns at Thunder Road this weekend during Merchants Bank 150 weekend. The two perennial Thunder Road support divisions will hit the track for their first point-counting events of the year when they join the American Canadian Tour Late Models on Sunday, April 27.

The Tiger Sportsman division will see a changing of the guard during the 2014 season, as four of the top five in the final point standings from last year have made the jump to the Late Model division. Three-time Tiger Champion Shawn Fleury along with Jason Allen, Mike Ziter and Eric Badore will all compete in the Late Models this season. That opens the door for several veterans looking for their first title.

T-Road ACT Opener Home Track Advantage

Thunder Road ACT Opener Provides Home Track Advantage

The 16th annual Merchants Bank 150 opening event at Thunder Road in Barre, Vermont offers a big advantage for the hometown ACT Late Model race teams. The high banks and famous fourth turn “widow maker” have proven to be major obstacles for generations of “outsiders”. Not so for the regular Thunder Road graduates.

The opening event on the Tour, held at Lee USA earlier this month, was highlighted by some outstanding performances from Thunder Road alumni, including Emily Packard from East Montpelier, VT.  In just her second year of tour racing, the 17 year-old Packard had an impressive two days of racing at Lee USA. Likewise, Rookie of the Year contender Mike Ziter from Williamstown, VT, in his first ever ACT event, was steady throughout the highly competitive 150-lap event won with a late race charge by Rowley, MA veteran Eddie MacDonald.