Waterbury, VT – It has taken the better part of the Thunder Road season to get the top dogs positioned to take advantage of the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship double point extra-distance race coming up Thursday, July 14, 2011. Including the American Canadian Tour Merchants Bank opener, there have been eight races with seven (7) different winners in the competitive Late Model division.

There are just 79 points separating the top ten. The Times Argus Mid-Season Championship awards 150 points to the winner. The most recent winner, Dave Pembroke, from Montpelier, VT, is a former Thunder Road champion and he vaulted his team into contention last Thursday, going from eleventh in the standings to third by winning the Charter Communication main event. The Vermont State Employees Credit Union/ Lamoille Valley Ford team is just 45 points out of the lead heading to the mid-season battle on Thursday, July 14th.

“We have had a learning curve this year by changing to the Ford crate engine and a brand new car. We certainly have been off a little, but our team has always enjoyed the challenge it takes to run up front. We needed a good race, and the win this past week really helps our enthusiasm going into the mid-season race. It can make a huge difference. It won’t completely separate the tight field, but if someone has a bad night, it can pretty much take you out of the championship chase,”’ said Pembroke.

Competition is so keen at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” that Pembroke rode his win from 11th position going into last week’s race to 3rd heading into the mid-season race. Veteran Jamie Aube climbed into the top five from 8th place with a solid finish.

Rookie sensation, Jimmy Hebert, from Williamstown, VT, has had an outstanding start to his ACT Late Model career. However, the #58VT team learned quickly just how tough the competition at Thunder Road can be, when he slipped from 3rd in points to 9th with his 21st place finish in the recent 50-lap Charter trophy dash.

Half of the current top 10 know what it takes to become “King of the Road’—they are all former champions. Stacked in the top ten along with Pembroke are two three-time champions: Phil Scott, from Middlesex, Vt. and Cris Michaud from Northfield. Defending Champion Nick Sweet from Barre, VT and the 2003 Champion Jamie Fisher running out of Shelburne, Vt. join the other former champs for the race to the 2011 title.

“With the competition the toughest I have seen since I have been racing here (Thunder Road), it is great for the fans to feel the intensity with every move we make out there,” said Michaud. “We had a horrible start, but after some help from Brian Hoar and Rick Paya with the RPM team at the Governor’s Cup, and a little advice from Scott Guyette, a long-time crew member of mine who is on a kind of sabbatical this season, we hope we have turned the ship around. I don’t know if we can make a miracle comeback and win it all, but really isn’t that what Thunder Road has always been about?” smiled Michaud.

The Times Argus Mid Season Championships will take place at Thunder Road on Thursday, July 14, 2011. The added distance 75-lap event for the Late Models will have the gates open at 5:00, post time is 6:30 and the admission remains the same at just $10 for an adult and $3 for kids 6-12. A family of four (two kids and two adults) can come to the races for just $20 with a family ticket.

For additional information contact the ACT office at 802.244.6963, www.acttour.com, or media@acttour.com.