-by Justin St. Louis
It seems like we just had one of those really busy weeks, and we’re gearing up to do it all over again. We hope you relaxed during your break, because it’s time to hit the road and see the biggest shows in the northeast!
Thursday’s Fisher/Federated Auto Parts program at Thunder Road will have a full card of ACT Late Models, Tiger Sportsmen, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Power Shift Junkyard Warriors, plus the first annual “Media Madness” race and an preview of the M&M Beverage Enduro 200 (Sun., July 29) for the first 20 entrants of the race. The Media Madness race will be something to watch, as we try to stuff 6-foot-6 Mike McGill of WCAX-TV (CBS 3, Burlington, VT) into a Junkyard Warrior. McGill might have to race a convertible…
Sunday, it’s the mother of them all, the 34th Annual TD Banknorth 250 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. There’s $150,000 up for grabs, and listen to this entry list: Jean-Paul Cyr, Mike Rowe, Ben Rowe, Travis Adams, Patrick Laperle, Brian Hoar, Donald Theetge, Ricky Rolfe, D.J. Shaw, and Sylvain Lacombe. That’s just a slice of the local veterans. Add in the big guys like Terry Labonte, Mario Gosselin, Kevin Lepage, Brad Leighton, Robbie Crouch, Jamie Aube, Eddie MacDonald, and D.J. Kennington, and there’s some serious star power.
Those 18 drivers would put on a heck of a show by themselves. Now bring in about 85 or 90 more drivers, and you’ve got the greatest spectacle in short track stock car racing.
Just two days after the 250, it’s north of the border to Circuit Ste-Croix for the annual “4 x 25” event on
Tuesday, July 24, the seventh event of 2007 for the Série ACT Castrol. The race will be run in four 25-lap segments, scored Milk Bowl-style (1 point for 1st place, 2 for 2nd, etc.). The driver with the lowest total score after all four segments gets the win. Look for Theetge and Alexandre Gingras to be the guys to beat, along with Karl Allard, Sylvain Lacombe, Laperle, and Claude Leclerc. By the way, Jean-Francois Dery is looking for his first of the season, and he’s been close enough to taste it several times this season.
Only two days after that, it’s back to Thunder Road for the 48th Times Argus Mid-Season Championships. Double points will be on the line for all four divisions, plus the annual autograph session for race fans of all ages is on tap. Make sure to grab a copy of the Times Argus for their annual Mid-Season Championship pull-out. The special insert has become one of Thunder Road fans’ most sought-after possessions each year.
On Saturday, July 28, it’s back north to Autodrome St-Eustache for the ACTion Super Series 200, the first of four big-dollar events on the 2007 ACT schedule. Located just outside Montreal, Autodrome St-Eustache will see the very best of the ACT Late Model Tour take on the Série ACT Castrol stars for a shot at the $6,000 winner’s purse. More than 45 drivers have entered the event!
If you haven’t had enough after that, head on back to Thunder Road for the M&M Beverage Enduro 200 on Sunday, July 29. It’s over 100 cars smashing, crashing, and bashing their way around the high banks for 200 laps, each trying to take home the $2,000 top prize. There’s still plenty of time to file an entry, so call (802) 244-6963 to request one. Also on the palate at the Enduro are the annual special events for the Street Stocks and Warriors, which are worth the price of admission themselves. Speaking of admission, Thunder Road offers the best entertainment value in Vermont with adult tickets at just $9, child tickets at $3, and a family ticket for any two adults and any two kids at only $18! As always, kids under 6 get in free! Come celebrate the second half of the summer with us!
Eric Williams came out on top of one of the Late Model division’s most exciting performances of the year last Thursday. The Hyde Park, VT veteran went wheel-to-wheel with Dave Pembroke and Cris Michaud for the entire CARQUEST Vermont Governor’s Cup 100, and became only the second driver in history to earn back-to-back victories in the race. The first was Robbie Crouch in 1986-87, when the race was held at the former Catamount Stadium.
Rookie Chip Grenier and returning Late Model racer Shawn Fleury continued to impress with top-five finishes in the 100-lap race, but the one the nearly stole the show was veteran Jamie Aube.
Aube, a native of North Ferrisburg, VT now living in Bow, NH, rode the outside rail to the front of the pack from 13th starting position, and was passing Grenier for fifth place when he rode the rail just a little too high. Aube’s Chevrolet slapped the frontstretch wall and spun off the Turn 1 banking on lap 67 to bring out the yellow flag. After returning on the lead lap, Aube finished a disappointing 21st. He was attempting to earn his first CARQUEST Governor’s Cup since 1983, which, by the way, was the first victory of his Late Model career.
Now, Aube will look for his third TD Banknorth 250 victory on Sunday. We’re pretty sure he’d settle for a win in that race if he couldn’t win the Governor’s Cup, but that’s just speculation, of course.
With the exception of Dave Pembroke’s third-place run in the Governor’s Cup 100, CARQUEST Night at The Road was pretty frustrating for the point leaders. NAPA Sportsman point leader Nick Sweet was mired in traffic for much of his 35-lap feature before breaking out late. Sweet made a charge toward the lead pack with a handful of laps remaining, but was only able to finish in fourth place behind Scott Coburn, Joe Steffen, and rookie Derrick O’Donnell. Sweet still leads the standings, though, 556-491 over Joey Laquerre.
Allen Lumber Street Stock point leader Mike Martin was involved in a mini-pileup on the frontstretch, but there was nothing mini about the damage on his car. The entire right side of Martin’s car caved in, among other things, and relegated him to a dismal 28th-place finish. Coupled with Bobby Therrien’s third win of the season, Martin fell out of the point lead for the first time since June 14.
Power Shift Junkyard Warrior point leader Bunker Hodgdon had a bad night as well, tearing his car to pieces and finishing 21st. David Whitcomb made major gains to jump from 6th to 2nd after his feature win, and now sits only nine points behind Hodgdon.
Did you know…?
-Street Stock rookie Bobby Therrien took over the point lead after his third win of the season last Thursday. The last time a rookie driver led point standings in any division at Thunder Road was, ironically, in the Street Stock division in 2005. Steve “Mudflap” Quenneville gained the lead after a fifth-place finish in the Times Argus Mid- Season Championship on July 14 of that year, and held it for four events. Eventual champion Joe Small moved ahead on August 4, Quenneville would ultimately finish third overall.
-Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. (11th) and David Chagnon (14th) earned their best Thunder Road finishes of 2007 last week. Four Tiger Sportsman drivers, seven Street Stockers, and seven Junkyard Warriors joined them with their best runs of the year. Among the best finishes were Joe Steffen (2nd – TS), Derrick O’Donnell (3rd – TS), Greg Adams, Jr., (2nd – SS), David Whitcomb (1st – JW), Ryan Foster (2nd – JW), and Travis Payette (3rd – JW).
-In seven ACTion Super Series races since 2004, only Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT has been able to win more than once. In fact, Cyr did the double in back-to-back events at Thunder Road and Lee USA Speedway in 2005. Other past ACTion Super Series winners include Brent Dragon, Patrick Laperle, Ben Rowe, Eric Williams, and D.J. Kennington, the first-ever Super Series event winner at Lee USA in 2004.
It’s the final week of the TD Banknorth 250 Trivia Contest our the ACT website. Play and you could win a TD Banknorth 250 t-shirt! Check it out at www.acttour.com, or visit the Thunder Road site at