Barre, VT – Waterbury’s Clement “Desperate” Despault has been named the grand marshal for the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series finale on Thursday, August 8. The longtime veteran of the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tiger division will help introduce the starting field, wave the green flag to start the 75-lap main event, and assist with trophy presentations.
Despault spent more than 50 years racing and winning at Thunder Road. He first rose to prominence as part of the first-generation Flying Tiger class that competed from 1963 to 1969. He won the 1969 “King of the Road” title and scored nine wins during that period. The total is tied with legends Larry Demar and Russ Ingerson for the most in the “original Tigers”.
When the Flying Tigers were revived in 1982, Despault returned to the spotlight along with them. He captured his second “King of the Road” crown in 1983 after winning four straight Flying Tiger features during the month of July. Despault posted four more wins throughout the 1980s, giving him 17 under the Flying Tiger banner. He also won a Late Model feature in 1995.
Despault continued to compete in the Flying Tiger ranks throughout the 2000s and well into the 2010s. He made his last Tiger start in 2017 just days shy of his 80th birthday. To this day, he remains a weekly presence in the Thunder Road pit area. Despault received the Ken Squier Award in 2015 for his contributions to the track and the sport of auto racing.
“Clem has been a big part of Thunder Road’s history,” Thunder Road managing partner Cris Michaud said. “You can’t tell the story of the Flying Tiger division or of Thunder Road without mentioning Clem. Our Director of Competition Dean Gallison, who used to race against Clem, first brought up the idea of making him the Grand Marshal for this event. We both quickly realized it was the perfect way to honor him for what he’s meant to Thunder Road. We’re happy to have him be part of crowning the first champion of our 2019 racing season.”
The Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series finale is part of Thunder Road’s Cody Chevrolet-Cadillac Night this Thursday, August 8 at 7:00pm. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers have a 75-lap feature to decide the Triple Crown championship while the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Allen Lumber Street Stocks also have a full card of championship action. 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).