Thunder Road is set to kick off a summer of racing with Casella Night this Thursday, June 15. After a trio of Sunday events, the quarter-mile oval opens its traditional Thursday night racing schedule with an action-packed program featuring double features for the Late Models and the annual appearance of the New England Antique Racers (N.E.A.R.).
The Thunder Road Late Models open the program with their Harvest Equipment make-up feature that was originally scheduled for June 4. They will then have a full round of qualifying and semi-feature action before ending the night with the Casella main event. The doubleheader could go a long way toward setting the stage for the 2017 “King of the Road” chase.
“There’s definitely a lot on the line, especially for a team like ours,” multi-time Late Model winner Matt White said. “We’ve been so fast all year, but we haven’t been able to prove anything yet. Wrecking out of (Memorial Day) put us way behind. It’d be nice to get out of there with a couple of top-five finishes. If we can pull off a win, that’d be awesome, but the main thing is to have a solid night to get set back up for the rest of the season.”
Hinesburg’s Bobby Therrien has been the man to beat so far this year. After winning the Memorial Day Classic, he copped heat and semi-feature victories prior to the Harvest Equipment feature rain-out, putting himself in position to capture the Maplewood Triple Crown in the make-up feature. After a hard crash while leading Sunday’s Community Bank 150, Therrien stated Tuesday that many of the repairs have been completed and the team intends to be at Thunder Road on Thursday.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott has committed to the event as well and will have two chances at becoming the first sitting governor to win a Vermont stock car race. The rest of the weekly Late Model stars are expected, including defending “King of the Road” Scott Dragon along with multi-time winners Jason Corliss, Shawn Fleury, Kyle Pembroke, and Eric Badore.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and Allen Lumber Street Stocks join the action-packed card. 2015 Tiger Champion Brendan Moodie of Wolcott is on top of the standings after a win and a second-place to open the season, with 1991 Champion Dwayne Lanphear of Morrisville hot on his heels. Trevor Lyman came back from a long hiatus and showed he still has what it takes with a win in Sunday’s event. Perennial contenders Mike Martin and Jason Woodard are in the hunt early, while rookie brothers Jaden and Jamon Perry have quickly gotten up to speed.
The Allen Lumber Street Stocks have a family battle atop the standings, with Morrisville’s Brandon Lanphear ahead of cousin Reilly Lanphear by just two points. Reilly’s sister Peyton led both to the finish line on Sunday, while veterans Alan Maynard, Michael Gay, Will Hennequin, and Gary Mullen are off to strong starts.
Post time for the first Thursday night event of the 2017 Thunder Road season is 7:00pm, with the Late Model Harvest Equipment make-up feature followed by the regularly scheduled Casella Night card featuring the New England Antique Racers. The pits open at 4:00pm with the general admission gates opening at 5:15pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).