The Thunder Road season motors on this Thursday, July 12 with a Consolidated Communications Night program that will feature the biggest names at the speedway ready to do battle. With round 2 of the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series on the card, all eyes will be on a trio of Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Tiger drivers that have been the talk of the division in 2018.
Not a week can go by at Thunder Road this year without two names being uttered. The Lanphear name is one that was expected to make a splash. Morrisville’s Dwayne Lanphear won the first two Flying Tiger events and has topped the standings ever since. His son Brandon snagged a surprise victory in the Triple Crown opener on June 8, and has since proven it was no fluke, going on a torrid run that has him third in the season-long tally.
Sandwiched between them is Craftsbury Common’s Joel Hodgdon, a name that not many fans anticipated hearing in 2018. But the multi-time Thunder Road Flying Tiger winner is having a career year. Hodgdon sits just eight points behind Dwayne Lanphear entering Thursday’s 75-lap Triple Crown showdown and is confident about his chances.
“If we can stay out of trouble, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to beat us,” Hodgdon said. “Everybody seems to use their equipment up pretty early, and then we can just ride it out. We’ve been a contender this year because I’ve got the crew for it. I’ve got four guys that come to the shop, help on the car, and go to the track every week, and we can joke and have fun and run well doing it.”
The trio won’t be the only ones ready to challenge for the win. Grand Isle’s Joe Steffen was one of the fastest Tigers in June and is looking to bounce back after a rough Independence Day doubleheader that included a rollover. Hinesburg’s Trevor Lyman and Barre’s Cameron Ouellette are proven winners and have been solid in recent weeks. Craftsbury Common’s Mike Martin has been coming around after a slow start, and a victory would put him in contention for back-to-back Triple Crown championships.
Consolidated Communications Night will also feature a full card for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Allen Lumber Street Stocks. The Late Model “King of the Road” battle is getting more crowded every week, as just 36 points separate the top-5. Barre’s Cody Blake surged to the top spot after his win last Thursday. But he’s just three points ahead of South Burlington’s Trampas Demers, who is hungry to reclaim the top spot.
Milton’s Scott Dragon sits third and remains a serious contender for a second track championship. Barre’s Jason Corliss slipped to fourth overall after a tough outing on Thursday. Fifteen-year-old Evan Hallstrom of Northfield rounds out the top-5. Stephen Donahue, Brendan Moodie, Darrell Morin, and Jim “Boomer” Morris sit just outside the front five and are each one hot streak away from being title contenders.
In the Allen Lumber Street Stocks, Essex Jct.’s Matthew Smith has reasserted himself atop the standings with a 44-point advantage over Dean Switser Jr. of Lyndonville. Derby’s Tim Hunt, Middlesex’s Logan Powers, and Craftsbury Common’s Stephen Martin ride third through fifth. Defending champion Jamie Davis of Wolcott sits 66 points behind Smith in his quest for three titles in four years, but has time left to make up ground.
The Consolidated Communications event gets underway at 7:00pm this Thursday, July 12. The pits open at 3:30pm and the front gates open 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).