Thunder Road’s longest-running four-cylinder division is back to bring the thrills in 2019. The Allen Lumber Street Stocks begin their championship season on Sunday, May 5 at the 21st Community Bank N.A. 150 and will once again feature a dynamic mix of longtime veterans of the sport and youngsters starting their climb up the racing ladder.
The Street Stock division adopted its four-cylinder incarnation in 1993, making this season the 27th for the current iteration. While season-to-season and even race-to-race outcomes are often unpredictable, two constants have made the class a fan favorite. One is that that the Street Stocks regularly have one of the most diverse rosters in the Thunder Road pits. The other, of course, is that they put on some of the best racing at Thunder Road week after week.
Both truths are apparent again in 2019. With defending Street Stock Champion Stephen Martin moving up to the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, the door is open for either a new champion or for a previous titleholder to return to the throne. Three former Street Stock champions are back for another go-round but will have to hold off a thundering herd if they want to hold the big trophy once again. Regardless, all are excited for another season on the high banks.
“What I’m looking forward to this season is doing well,” Tunbridge’s Gary “The Flying Farmer” Mullen said. “It’s always in the back of my mind that I’d like to win another championship, but I still just want to do well. I’d like to win another race if I could and just have a lot of fun.”
Mullen, the 2010 Street Stock Champion, joins 2014 Champion Tommy “Thunder” Smith of Williamstown and two-time Champion Jamie Davis of Wolcott in seeking another title. Mullen and Smith both were top-10 point runners in 2018 while Davis struggled to 11th-place overall. However, Davis is known for putting up much better results in odd-numbered years, meaning 2019 could be his time again.
They’ll have to contend with a host of top drivers looking to join the circle of champions. Derby’s Tim Hunt; E. Kingston, NH’s Bryan P. Wall; and St. Johnsbury’s Kasey Beattie are all returning to the Street Stocks after top-10 point finishes in their first full seasons. Hunt and Beattie both earned wins while Wall was the 2018 Rookie of the Year. Three-time 2018 winner Jeffrey Martin of Barre has verbally committed to the season but has yet to officially file his application as of press time.
The rest of the roster is a smorgasbord of ages and experience levels. Several other racers are returning for their sophomore season, including Barre’s Tyler Pepin, Pittsfield’s Juan “Paco” Marshall, and Graniteville’s J.T. Blanchard. Berlin’s Kasey Collins is back after a year on the sidelines while veterans Mike “Biffer” Gay of S. Burlington and Scott Weston of Berlin will strap in for another season. There are also a host of incoming rookies and youth racers – something Mullen anticipated even before seeing the roster for himself.
“I don’t really keep track of it during the wintertime, so I can’t say for sure, but I can guarantee there’ll be some young gun that’ll come along and do really well – or maybe half a dozen of them,” Mullen said. “Man, there’s some good young drivers. Hopefully us old fellows can keep up and still be competitive, too.”
It’s anybody’s guess who the leading “young guns” will be in 2019. In addition to the standout sophomores, four registered rookies are already on the roster, including Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warrior graduates Kyle MacAskill and Derek Farnham, third-generation racer Tanner Woodard, and Boston native Luke Marcheski. Several other new names such as Hunter King and Eric MacLaughlin will introduce themselves to Thunder Road fans.
“It’s kind of fun, in way, as long as you know and can keep track of who the young fellows are,” Mullen remarked. “I remember being a rookie, and I made some rookie mistakes. And even the young ones that do well still make rookie mistakes. Having all these years of racing under my belt, I can sometimes anticipate what’s going to happen – and sometimes not. But it makes it interesting, that’s for sure.”
The Allen Lumber Street Stocks open their season as of the Community Bank N.A. 150 on Sunday, May 5 at 1:30pm. The American-Canadian Tour and Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models go toe-to-toe for 150 green-flag laps and are joined by the Street Stocks, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under.
Opening weekend begins with the annual Thunder Road Car Show on Saturday, May 4. Cars will be parked on the track from 9:00am-12:00pm for fans to view while meeting their favorite drivers. There will also be a pit stop competition, a bounce house from Sky High Slides N Such, face painting, and live music from local band Rumblecaddy. An open practice is scheduled from 1:00-5:00pm.