Current point leaders Derrick O’Donnell (60VT) (2nd) and Nick Sweet (88VT) (1st). Credit Alan WardBarre, VT – The annual 150 lap Vermont Lottery Governor’s Cup stock car race at Barre’s Thunder Road takes on added consequence this Thursday night (July 11). Not only will it be a showdown for local racing talent against celebrated national stock car star Clint Bowyer, but for Thunder Road regulars there is a lot more at stake.

Bowyer, in last Saturday’s Daytona 400, sped to 2nd in the NASCAR National Championship Standings 49 points behind 5-time national champion Jimmy Johnson. Johnson has dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup series this season, but for Thunder Road regulars their track point battle is one of the wildest in memory and it has just been turned topsy turvy… again.

Montpelier native Dave Pembroke swept into Thunder Road’s point title lead last week after a stunning performance, charging from 19th to 1st in a fifty lap main event. Now Pembroke finds himself relegated to 4th following a frantic Sunday meet which ended for Pembroke hooked to a wrecker. A multi-car crash destroyed his momentum and nearly the car. It’s now a race for the Pembroke team to finish major repairs for this Thursday night, while their driver focuses on his Barre nemesis Nick Sweet. Sweet is trying for two straight track titles and leads the intense Thunder Road 2013 Championship standings. If Sweet or Pembroke win another T-Road crown they would tie Cris Michaud, Phil Scott and Chuck Beede for the most Thunder Road Late Model Championships at three.

Sunday night’s main event winner, Bradford native Rookie Derrick O’Donnell moved up to 2nd and 7-time American Canadian Tour Champion Jean-Paul Cyr climbed to 3rd.

Then her is the Vermont State Late Model Championship for which this Thursday’s Thunder Road race is the 3rd of 4 events. Nick Sweet leads Chip Grenier by just 13 points 143 to 130. Trampas Demers is 3rd and 16 year-old Emily Packard, with strong finishes in the first two events, is 4th. The series ends in September with a final race at Devil’s Bowl in the Greater Rutland, VT area.

“There’s a lot on the line for sure Thursday night at my home track,” says Defending Thunder Road Champion Sweet, “but I’d be ok just saying my Saint J Auto Buick finished in front of Clint Bowyer’s 802 Toyota.”

The Governor’s Cup race presented by the Vermont Lottery Commission opens its gates Thursday at 3:00pm, with qualifying heats commencing at 6:00pm at the Quarry Hill track in Barre.