Tag Archives: Thunder Road International Speedbowl

Ryan Preece to Enter Vermont Governor’s Cup at Thunder Road

Barre, VT — Thunder Road announced today that NASCAR Cup Series racer and Tour-type Modified standout Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT will compete in this year’s Essex Equipment Vermont Governor’s Cup on Thursday, July 15. Preece will drive a car prepared by American-Canadian Tour and NASCAR Busch North Series legend Dale Shaw, who will also serve as his crew chief for the event.

Preece is in the middle of his third full-time season with the NASCAR Cup Series. He currently sits 24th in points driving for JTG Daughtry Racing. Prior to joining the team, Preece won two Xfinity Series races for Joe Gibbs. The Governor’s Cup will be Preece’s first time racing at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” and his first time in an ACT Late Model.

“I’ve never run at Thunder Road, so I’m pretty excited about it,” Preece said. “It will be nice, being able to jump into one of those cars, it seems like quite the racey track. I’m excited about it, and the ACT Late Models always put on a great show.”

Preece first came to the racing community’s attention an accomplished Modified racer. He earned his chance in NASCAR’s top series by winning multiple Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park championships and the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title. Preece also helped Ed and Connie Partridge win the 2017 Whelen Modified Tour owner’s championship. He has 22 wins on the series.

Even with his NASCAR Cup schedule, Preece continues to compete in Modified events around the region. He ran the NASCAR Modified event at New York’s Oswego Speedway this past Saturday and is planning to run multiple Outlaw Open Modified Series events at Thompson Speedway. Preece also won a SMART Modified Tour event at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway in early April.

Come July 15, he will turn his attention the Barre high banks. Although the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models are far different from the NASCAR Cup cars and Tour-type Modifieds he’s used to, Preece is eager to get to up to speed.

“To me, I’ve always looked at it as every race car is the same, and they all want to go left,” Preece said. “You just have to get them driving right. Thunder Road looks like a track I can relate to with all the tracks that I’ve been to. I don’t really know what to expect, but I can honestly tell you I’m going to show up and give 120 percent and try to win. That’s what I do as a race car driver, right? So I’m excited about it.”

Preece will be the latest NASCAR star to try their hand at Thunder Road. Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, and David Ragan have all come to the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” over the past 15 years. Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell, who won his first NASCAR Cup race in February, was the most recent invader with a ninth-place finish in 2019.

However, a NASCAR “ringer” has not won at Thunder Road since the mid-1970s, when Butch Lindley and Bill Dennis win Vermont Milk Bowls as part of the Northern NASCAR circuit. For Preece, winning is the main goal whenever he shows up at a racetrack, so he’ll be set on breaking that drought.

 “I love racing, I like competition, but I race because I want to win — just like any other race car driver, right?” Preece said. “But that’s what really drives me, is success and winning. That’s what I enjoy. I like trying out different racecars, but I want to be able to say that I’ve won in that type of car. Pretty much all the way up until this point, every different type of racecar I’ve driven, I’ve won in except for a Cup car. I’d like to continue going with that and have the ability and the chances to do those things.”

Thunder Road is next in action this Thursday, June 17 at 7:00pm for Casella Waste Systems Night. The RK Miles Street Stocks will run double features to make up their Memorial Day Classic event. They’re joined by full card for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. The annual Kids Rides are also scheduled from 4:00-4:45pm for youngsters ages 12 and under to take a ride around the high banks.

Admission to Casella Waste Systems Night is $15 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12, and $30 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids). Advance tickets are available at www.happsnow.com/event/Thunder-Road-Speedbowl. All Thunder Road events are also live-streamed on FloRacing for those with a monthly or yearly subscription.

For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, media@thunderroadvt.com, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT. For more information about FloRacing, visit www.FloRacing.com.

Massive Field Turns Out for Thunder Road Practice Day

Photo Alan Ward

Barre, VT — A huge field of cars filed through the pits for the Thunder Road Car Show and Practice Day on Saturday, May 1. When all was said and done, 119 drivers across 4 divisions took to the track in preparation for the Community Bank N.A. 150 on FloRacing this Sunday, May 2. The speeds were as big as the fields with racers storming out of the gates after a long, cold Vermont winter.

The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models saw 32 drivers on-hand. For many, it was their first session on the new Hoosier Racing tire. Whether it was the tire, the track conditions, or the eagerness to go racing again, the Late Models set a blistering pace. Times were noticeably quicker than last year with several drivers setting marks in the sub-12.3 second bracket.

Not only that, but the herd was remarkably close together. In the fourth of five practice sessions, the top-25 cars were less than half a second apart. It’s a recipe that points to a competitive 150-lap feature ahead on Sunday.

Still, several racers managed to stand out. Former “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, VT set the day’s fast time right out of the box, clocking a 12.266 in the first ACT session. He then ranks first and second in the following two sessions; satisfied with where they were at, the FastOne Motorsports team elected to call it a day early.

Shelburne’s Trampas Demers and Center Conway, NH’s D.J. Shaw were also consistently near the top of the charts throughout the day. Shaw led the fourth session; Demers was strong early before his times dipped later as the team experimented with setups. Three-time defending Community Bank N.A. 150 winner Jason Corliss started the afternoon slow, but was consistently in the top-10 by day’s end.

There were also a few pleasant surprises. Northfield, VT’s Matt White led the third session with 12.317-second time that was in the top-5 for the day. West Burke, VT’s Jesse Switser and Montpelier, VT’s Kyle Pembroke gained steam as the afternoon went on while former Memorial Day Classic winner Tyler Cahoon was consistently in the top-10 each session. A lot can change over 150 laps, though, meaning the favorites for Sunday’s main event are far from decided.

In the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, 34 different drivers came to shake down their machines for the season ahead. Like with the Late Models, times were fastest early on, with Craftsbury Common’s Mike Martin setting a breathtaking 13.775-second time in the first session. Rich Lowery, Derrick Calkins, and Jason Pelkey also cracked the 14-second barrier throughout the day.

Also like the Late Models, the Flying Tiger field was incredible close together. Only half a second separated the top-24 cars in the final session of the day. Veterans like Jason Woodard, Cameron Ouellette, Jaden Perry, and Mike Billado were running competitive times — and they know a 40-lap car is more valuable than a 1-lap car.

A few newer drivers to the Tiger ranks also showed potential. Rookie Cooper French only needs two sessions before his was running within a few tenths of the leaders. Ryan Boutin had a top-10 car to start the day before going for a solo spin in the third session.

The RK Miles Street Stocks had 29 cars take time. To no one’s surprise, defending Rookie of the Year Kaiden Fisher of Shelburne, VT was the most consistently fast throughout the day. He capped it off with a 14.668-second time in the final session.

However, two returning veterans weren’t far behind. Williamstown, VT’s Tommy “Thunder” Smith, the all-time winningest Street Stock driver, unveiled a new car that was second-fastest on the day. Lyndonville, VT’s Dean Switser Jr., who took the 2020 season off, picked up right where he left off in 2019.

Two-time Street Stock champion Jamie Davis was a late arrival, but showed he didn’t need the extra practice time as he was fast right off the trailer. Josh Lovely, Kyler Davis, Will Hennequin, and Jacob Roy were among the other drivers to keep an eye on for Sunday’s race.

The Street Stocks also had the day’s only major incident, as rookie Tyler Whittemore of Barre flipped his #74 in turn four during the final practice session. Whittemore was not injured, but his time will have a lot of work to do before tomorrow’s event.

The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors also had a strong turnout with 24 cars on hand. Many of them were new racers getting their feet wet before competing at Thunder Road for the first time, such as Bill O’Connor and Taylor Sayers.

Plenty of old hands were there to show them the ropes. Warrior favorites such as Sean “Chubby Rambo” McCarthy, Frank Putney, Nate “Tater” Brien, and Paige Whittemore are tuning up for another season. Putney was the most noticeable in his Scooby Doo tribute “Mystery Machine”. Mark Beaulieu, Bert Duffy, Josh Vilbrin, and Fred Fleury also turned in notable practice days.

The Hebert Motorsports team of defending ACT champion Jimmy Hebert won the pit stop competition. They changed two tires and added fuel in 38.45 seconds, beating out the Thunder Road championship teams of Jason Corliss, Jason Woodard, and Brandon Gray.

Thunder Road opens its 2021 season this Sunday, May 2 at 1:30pm with the 23rd Community Bank N.A. 150. The ACT Late Model Tour and Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models have a 150-lap showdown at the 62nd Thunder road season opener. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, RK Miles Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors join them on the schedule.

Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under. Tickets are available at the gate. All Vermont state attendance, health, and safety guidelines are in effect. The event will also be live streamed worldwide on FloRacing via their website, mobile app, and most smart TV platforms.

For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, media@thunderroadvt.com, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT. For more information about FloRacing, visit www.FloRacing.com or www.FloSports.tv.

Entries Continue to Arrive for Community Bank N.A. 150

Corliss, Lanphear, Pelkey Among Latest Commitments to Season Opener

Barre, VT — The 23rd Community Bank N.A. 150 at Barre’s Thunder Road this Sunday, May 2 has gotten a little bigger for Vermont racing fans. The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) entry list swelled even further this week with six more top Thunder Road racers throwing their hats into the ring for an event being broadcast worldwide on FloRacing.

To no one’s surprise, Barre’s Jason Corliss is now officially entered for the Community Bank N.A. 150. Corliss has won the last three editions, something no other driver has done in the event’s 22-year history. He’ll look to continue the streak with another win on Sunday.

A fourth straight victory is far from in the bag, though. In addition to the elite names planning to be in Barre, five other notable locals are now locked in. Rookie Brandon Lanphear of Morrisville, VT will make his debut with the Richard Green Racing team. The new partnership pairs the defending Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series champion with a car and crew that have won two “King of the Road” titles.

Graniteville, VT’s Christopher Pelkey has emerged from a quiet offseason to file an entry. Pelkey finished in the top-10 in points last year for both the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and the ACT Late Model Tour, making him one to watch for Sunday’s event.

Entries have also come in from Danville, VT’s Tyler Cahoon, Montpelier, VT’s Kyle Pembroke, and Graniteville, VT’s Chip Grenier. All three are multi-time Thunder Road winners, with Cahoon and Pembroke being regular top-10 points finishers. Grenier has run select events in recent years but is reportedly planning to return to the weekly Late Model wars for the first time in nearly a decade.

They join a slew of other local and regional stock car racing standouts converging on Barre, VT this weekend. Reigning ACT champion Jimmy Hebert, multi-time Pro All Stars Series champions Ben Rowe and D.J. Shaw, defending Rookie of the Year Derek Gluchacki, and Northeast Classic podium finisher Tom Carey III lead the touring charge.

On the Thunder Road side, you have 2017 “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien, perennial title contender Trampas Demers, multi-time winners Brooks Clark and Stephen Donahue, and rookie Cooper Bouchard. They’re just some of the Late Model heavyweights who will help open Thunder Road’s 62nd season of racing.

Thunder Road opens its 2021 season on Sunday, May 2 at 1:30pm with the 23rd Community Bank N.A. 150. The stars of the ACT Late Model Tour and Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models will go at it for 150 green-flag laps in the 62nd Thunder road season opener. The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, RK Miles Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors join them with a full card of racing.

Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under. All Vermont state attendance, health, and safety guidelines are in effect. The event will also be live streamed worldwide on FloRacing via their website, mobile app, and most smart TV platforms.

The weekend begins with the annual Car Show at Thunder Road on Saturday, May 1 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. An open practice is slated for Saturday afternoon followed by the 2020 ACT/Thunder Road Banquet of Champions at 6:00pm.

For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, media@thunderroadvt.com, or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT. For more information about FloRacing, visit www.FloRacing.com or www.FloSports.tv.

Alan Ward photo