SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – Late Model stock car racer Dave Pembroke of Montpelier was honored as the 2007 “King of the Road” of Barre’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl at the Banquet of Champions at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington, VT on Saturday night.  Pembroke shared the awards stage with the champions, rookies of the year, and special award winners from Thunder Road’s four racing divisions, as well as drivers from the American-Canadian Tour.

      Pembroke withstood an onslaught of challenges from several competitors during the season to claim his first Late Model championship.  Driving the #44 VT State Employees Credit Union/Cabot Chevrolet, he won the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 in May and earned a season-best 12 top-ten finishes in 14 starts.  He narrowly defeated Cris Michaud of Williamstown, Joey Becker of Jeffersonville, Jamie Fisher of Shelburne, and Phil Scott of Middlesex for the title.  Chip Grenier of Northfield finished sixth overall and was honored as the 2007 Rookie of the Year.  Grenier posted two main event victories.

      Nick Sweet of Barre drove to his first Thunder Road Championship in the intermediate NAPA Tiger Sportsman division.  Sweet captured three victories in the #50 Fortier’s Community Care Home/SymQuest Group Chevrolet, including the season-opening Merchants Bank event in May and the finale on Chittenden Milk Bowl weekend in September.  He beat Craig Bushey of Cambridge and Joel Hodgdon of Craftsbury for the championship.  Hodgdon, who won the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship, was also crowned Rookie of the Year.

       Twenty year-old Hinesburg freshman Bobby Therrien collected the most hardware of the evening, picking up awards for his Allen Lumber Street Stock Championship and Rookie of the Year title.  Therrien set an all-time rookie record at Thunder Road with six victories in his #1 A.H. Fence/Pioneer Motors Dodge.  Therrien was also named the winner of the Dr. Gordon R. “Doc” Nielsen Rookie Achievement Award for outstanding season-long performance by a first-year driver at Thunder Road and/or on the American-Canadian Tour.  Therrien joins an impressive list of previous winners that includes Fisher, Sweet, Joel Hodgdon, ACT Late Model Tour driver Scott Payea, and 2006 winner Mike Martin.

       Archie “Bunker” Hodgdon, III of Hardwick was honored as the Champion of the Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior division.  Hodgdon posted two victories and 11 top-five finishes in his #20 Lazy Lions Campground/MH Cleaning Service Volkswagen.  Hodgdon is the fifth driver in the entry-level division’s five-year history to claim the championship.

       Special “Sportsmanship” and “Most Improved Driver” awards were also handed out during the ceremonies. Late Model competitor Shawn Fleury of Middlesex was voted by his peers to receive the headline division’s Sportsmanship award, while Mike Bailey of South Barre was voted Most Improved.  Fleury was the runner-up on Pepsi Fireworks Night in July before ultimately finishing 13th overall.  Bailey posted four top-fives in his sophomore season on his way to 8th place for the year.

       Second-generation NAPA Tiger Sportsman driver Justin Hart of Williamstown was named the Sportsmanship award winner for his division.  Hart joins his father, Alex (in 1989), and uncle, Rod (in 1998), as a winner of the Sportsmanship award.  Brookfield sophomore driver Chris Chambers was the overwhelming winner of the Most Improved Driver award in the Tiger Sportsman class.  Chambers took his first career victory on Fisher/Federated Auto Parts Night in August.

       Mike Martin of Craftsbury Common was named the winner of the Ed Carroll Memorial Sportsmanship Award in the Allen Lumber Street Stock division.  Martin finished third in points with two victories.  He won the Dr. G.R. Nielsen Rookie Award in 2006, and was the 2005 Power Shift Warrior Champion.

       Neal Foster of Moretown was given the first annual Sportsmanship award in the Warrior division.  Foster was joined on the nominating ballot by Lenny Sanborn, Mark LaFleche, Dale Bickford, and Champion Bunker Hodgdon. Foster finished fifth in points in 2007.

      Thunder Road’s 49th season as “The Nation’s Site of Excitement” begins on Sunday, May 4 with the 10th Annual Merchants Bank 150 for the ACT Late Model Tour.  For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit  To review other awards handed out during the Banquet of Champions, visit


Thunder Road Late Model Top 5
1. Dave Pembroke, Montpelier
2. Cris Michaud, Williamstown
3. Joey Becker, Jeffersonville
4. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne
5. Phil Scott, Middlesex

Rookie of the Year – Chip Grenier, Northfield
Sportsmanship Award – Shawn Fleury, Middlesex
Most Improved Driver – Mike Bailey, South Barre

NAPA Tiger Sportsman Top 3
1. Nick Sweet, Barre
2. Craig Bushey, Cambridge
3. Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury

Rookie of the Year – Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury
Sportsmanship Award – Justin Hart, Williamstown
Most Improved Driver – Chris Chambers, Brookfield

Allen Lumber Street Stock Top 3
1. Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg
2. Lloyd Blakely, Barre
3. Mike Martin, Craftsbury Common

Rookie of the Year – Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg
Ed Carroll Memorial Sportsmanship Award – Mike Martin, Craftsbury Common

Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior Top 3
1. Bunker Hodgdon, Hardwick
2. Jamie Davis, Wolcott
3. David Whitcomb, Elmore

Sportsmanship Award – Neal Foster, Moretown

Dr. Gordon R. “Doc” Nielsen Rookie Achievement Award – Bobby Therrien