Milton’s Scott Payea and Hinesburg’s Bobby Therrien topped the practice charts at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl on Saturday, April 29 as part of an open practice day for the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Merchants Bank 150. Payea set the fast time in the opening practice session at 13.304 seconds. Therrien was right behind in the session at 13.369 seconds, and later ran a lap of 13.392 that led the final session.
The ACT Late Models had five practice sessions on the day with a different driver topping each session. Northfield’s Matt White paced the second practice session, while Fayston’s Brook Clark sat atop the third session. Eddie “The Outlaw” MacDonald of Rowley, Mass. paced the fourth session.
Thirty-five ACT cars officially took practice laps on Saturday. Vermont Governor Phil Scott was among those in attendance and ranked in the top-six in each session. Defending “King of the Road” Scott Dragon, Lee USA Speedway winner Dillon Moltz, multi-time Thunder Road winner Jason Corliss, and Série ACT star Jonathan Bouvrette were also on hand. Defending Merchants Bank 150 Nick Sweet was not at the track due to other commitments, but has stated he will be in action on Sunday.
Richard Lowery III had high hopes for the Thunder Road season opener after his team acquired a car previously piloted by multi-time ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. in the offseason. However, those hopes were hit by cold reality when his engine expired during the opening practice session. Meanwhile, Chris Riendeau went sailing off the top of turn three near the end of the fourth practice session and contacted the barriers, sustaining both front and rear damage. MacDonald and Kyle Pembroke made contact during the second session as MacDonald was headed to pit road, but both teams quickly made repairs.
In the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, 2015 Champion Brendan Moodie of Wolcott was the man to beat, leading both the first and third practice sessions and setting the quickest overall time. Rookie Jaden Perry of Hardwick got up to speed quickly and posted the fastest time in the second session. Craftsbury Common’s Mike Martin topped the final session.
Morrisville’s William Hennequin was best in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks as the veteran held the best time in both of the first two practice sessions. Sophomore competitor Brandon Lanphear, also of Morrisville, led the third session while Fairfax’s Alan Maynard was quickest in final practice.
Thunder Road takes the grid for its 58th season opener on Sunday, April 30 with the 19th Merchants Bank 150 for the ACT Late Model Tour. The front gates open at 10:00am with a 1:00pm post time. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids age 12 and under.