BARRE, VT – Late Model stock car rookie Matt White of Northfield earned his first career victory at Barre’s Thunder Road on Thursday night in the 50-lap Charter Communications Trophy Dash. White started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from polesitter Brooks Clark on lap 1, then drove uncontested to the win in a caution-free race.
“That was a lot harder than it looked,” said White in the winner’s circle. “I’m glad there weren’t any cautions, because I was sweating trying to hold on out front. This feels good, it’s already been a long year, but my crew and my sponsors have stuck with me.”
Shawn Fleury of Middlesex scored his best finish of the year in second place after holding off Shelburne veteran Dennis Demers. In a surprise move, Demers announced his retirement in victory lane.
“At my age, you began to appreciate good runs like this because they don’t come very often,” said Demers. “I would have liked to have won, but I’m happy with third. I may be back for one or two races at some point, but I’ve thought long and hard about this and I believe I may be done after tonight.” Demers was a nine-time feature winner during his Late Model career.
Essex Junction driver Dave Whitcomb finished fourth over Morrisville’s Pete Fecteau. Tony Andrews, Gary Caron, Eric Williams, Phil Scott, and Joe Becker rounded out the unofficial top ten in order.
The NAPA Tiger Sportsman division had a rough time getting their 30-lap Charter Communications feature started, but produced a great finish as Barre’s Lance Allen nipped Williamstown teenager James Hebert by less than six inches at the line. Joel Hodgdon of Crafstbury was third over Essex Junction’s Mark Barnier and Hinesburg racer Tom Therrien.
Vern Woodard of Bolton became the Allen Lumber Street Stock division’s first repeat winner, holding off unofficial point leader Lloyd Blakely of Barre in the 25-lap Charter Communications feature. David Allen of North Troy, Jason Corliss of Plainfield, and Greg Adams, Jr. of Hardwick rounded out the unofficial top five finishers.
Berlin driver Scott Weston inherited the 15-lap Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior win after apparent first-place finisher Neal Foster was disqualified in post-race inspection for illegal wheel camber. Chad Brown of Milton, Travis Hull of Graniteville, Jeremy Fleury of Williamstown, and Jamie Davis of Wolcott completed the revised top five finishers, unofficially.
Stowe (VT) Reporter columnist Jesse Roman beat WCAX-TV Channel 3 (CBS-Burlington, VT) Sports Anchor Mike McGill in a best-of-three grudge match race using Junkyard Warrior cars. McGill spun Roman in the final round, and was then disqualified for rough riding, handing Roman the victory, much to the delight of the crowd.
Thunder Road’s 49th season continues on Thursday, July 17 with the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship event, with double points on the line for all four regular divisions. General admission is $9.50 for adults, $3 for children (6-12) and just $20 for a family of four. Gates open at 5:00pm, racing begins at 6:30pm. For more information, call (802) 244-6963 or visit www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com.
UNOFFICIAL FINISH – Charter Communications Night
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl – Barre, VT – Thu., July 10, 2008
(# – denotes rookie)
Late Models (50 laps)
1. #Matt White, Northfield
2. Shawn Fleury, Middlesex
3. Dennis Demers, Shelburne
4. Dave Whitcomb, Essex Junction
5. Pete Fecteau, Morrisville
6. #Tony Andrews, Middlebury
7. Gary Caron, Colchester
8. Eric Williams, Hyde Park
9. Phil Scott, Montpelier
10. Joe Becker, Jeffersonville
NAPA Tiger Sportsman (30 laps)
1. Lance Allen, Barre
2. James Hebert, Williamstown
3. Joel Hodgdon, Craftsbury
4. Mark Barnier, Essex Junction
5. Tom Therrien, Hinesburg
6. Joe Steffen, Essex Junction
7. Tony Rossi, Groton
8. Pete Ainsworth, Middlesex
9. #Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg
10. Brendan Moodie, North Wolcott
Allen Lumber Street Stocks (25 laps)
1. Vern Woodard, Bolton
2. Lloyd Blakely, Barre
3. David Allen, North Troy
4. Jason Corliss, Plainfield
5. Greg Adams, Jr., Hardwick
6. Markus Farnham, Randolph Center
7. Gary Mullen, Tunbridge
8. Dave LaFleche, Graniteville
9. Shawn Powell, Jericho
10. #Brett Pierce, Montpelier
Power Shift Online Junkyard Warriors (15 laps)
1. Scott Weston, Berlin
2. Chad Brown, Milton
3. Travis Hull, Graniteville
4. Jeremy Fleury, Williamstown
5. Jamie Davis, Wolcott
6. Kevin Dodge, Barre
7. Donny Yates, North Montpelier
8. Ken Christman, Cabot
9. Lance Donald, Williamstown
10. Mike Gay, South Burlington