Thunder Road is less than two weeks away from the Community Bank N.A. 150 on Sunday, April 29. As part of an action-packed card currently scheduled, the Allen Lumber Street Stocks will be one of the divisions kicking off their 2018 season. The popular 4-cylinder division has been a mainstay at the speedway since 1993, but will see many new faces this coming season when they tackle the high banks.
A combination of rookie drivers and competitors returning from a high banks hiatus are in line to join the Street Stocks in their 26th season. They will replace the fleet of racers who have moved up to either the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers or Maplewood/Irving Late Models, assuring the division will continue to provide the thrills fans expect.
Defending champion Jamie Davis of Wolcott is one of the established veterans who will lead the Street Stocks in 2018. Davis has won two of the last three titles and should be a frontrunner for a third championship this season.
“I hope this year is better than the last year I came back to try and defend a title,” Davis said. “That year we couldn’t buy luck. We’d be running up towards the front and have a part failure, or cut a tire down, or get tangled up in a wreck with lapped cars. It always seemed like something was happening. Hopefully we have some better luck while we try to defend this title.”
As is often the case in the Street Stocks, a mix of veterans and rising stars will mix it up in pursuit of the title. Davis will be joined by 2014 Champion Tommy “Thunder” Smith and 2010 Champion Gary Mullen in seeking another Street Stock crown. South Burlington’s Michael Gay finally broke into Victory Lane in 2017 and says he is looking for more in 2018. Lincoln’s Garry Bashaw cut back to a partial schedule in 2017 but was a top runner in 2016.
Sophomore competitors Stephen Martin of Craftsbury Common and Logan Powers of Middlesex head up the herd of young hard chargers. Martin was the 2017 Street Stock Rookie of the Year while Powers captured two feature wins. Essex Jct.’s Matthew Smith returns to the division after a short stint in the Late Model ranks and has the speed to make a championship charge.
Meanwhile, several racers will be moving up from the Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors, including 2017 winners Jeffrey Martin, Tyler Pepin, Jared Blakely, and Edward Bowen Jr. Regional racer Brandon Gray of East Corinth currently plans to run the full season after competing at select events in previous years. Former Street Stock winners Thomas Merchant, Justin Town, Patrick Tibbetts, and Troy Kingsbury are each returning on at least a part-time basis after extended absences.
It’s going to be interesting,” Davis said. “A lot of the drivers who are moving up are from the Warrior division, and the Warriors are a completely different animal than the Street Stocks …it’s good for the division to get some new blood flowing into it, though. The last few years, we really hadn’t had a lot of new drivers coming in. It’s definitely going to help the division out for the future.”
The Allen Lumber Street Stocks will be part of Thunder Road’s season-opening 20th Community Bank N.A. 150 on Sunday, April 29 at 1:30pm. The event will feature the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Maplewood/Irving Late Models along with the Street Stocks, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. The pits open at 8:00am and the front gates open at 10:00am. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids age 12 and under.
The annual Downtown Barre Car Show will kick off the weekend on Saturday, April 28 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. The show will feature all Thunder Road divisions and is followed by a parade to the race track. An open practice day will follow.