Barre, VT – Barre’s Thunder Road is just days away from crowning its 2019 “King of the Road”. Barre Granite Association Championship Day this Sunday, September 22 will decide which drivers get to lay claim to track titles in Thunder Road’s landmark 60th season of competition.
All four Thunder Road divisions will be in action with added-distance formats that pay homage to the track’s 60 seasons. The Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers will each run 60-lap main events while the Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors have 30-lap features. The extra laps could go a long way towards deciding who will reign in both the day’s events and the championship standings.
The event is also part of a stretch of three big shows in as many weeks on the Barre high banks. Championship Day is sandwiched between the Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic this past Saturday and the 57th Vermont Milk Bowl on September 28 and 29. It’s a non-stop stretch of high-stakes action that has the biggest contenders ready and raring to go.
“It’s nice that these big races are all in September, so you can get geared up for the final push,” Barre’s Jason Corliss recently said. “Me and my race team have typically had our most success at the beginning and end of the season, so I’m really excited now that the temperature is cooling off a little bit. Hopefully we can rekindle some of our previous success.”
Corliss leads a multi-way “King of the Road” battle that will come down to the final laps for the second straight year. Once again, Corliss, Shelburne’s Trampas Demers, and Milton’s Scott Dragon are the top-three in the standings. This time around, however, the roles have shifted. Corliss has the top spot going into the finale with a 15-point lead over Demers. Dragon, the two-time and defending “King of the Road”, is 17 points behind Corliss.
Montpelier’s Kyle Pembroke also has a puncher’s chance at the championship. The veteran is 30 points back of Corliss and has been a contender ever since winning the double-point Midseason Championships. Barre’ Cody Blake is 32 points out of first but is not expected to be at the event after a hard crash early in the Labor Day Classic.
Because of how close the battle is, Corliss will not know until after heat race points are awarded what he must do in the 60-lap feature. As things stand, Corliss could theoretically finish second in the feature and still lose the title if Demers has a perfect day. As a result, everyone both in the cars and the grandstands will be on the edge of their seat waiting to see what unfolds.
The championship picture is much clearer in the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers. Waterbury Center’s Jason Woodard needs only to start the main event on Sunday in order to clinch his third Flying Tiger title. Woodard already has this year’s Triple Crown Series championship trophies from Thunder Road and N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on his mantle. On Sunday, he will join Shawn Fleury as the only drivers to win three Thunder Road Flying Tiger championships.
However, the rest of the field still has plenty to race for. Just 34 points separate second through seventh in the standings. Stephen Martin, Tyler Austin, Brandon Lanphear, Kelsea Woodard, and Logan Powers will all be racing hard trying to finish in the overall top-five. The competition is also tight for the final spots in the top-10 with Cooper Bouchard, Mike Martin, Colin Cornell, and Mike Billado among those in contention for an invite to the season-ending banquet.
In the Allen Lumber Street Stocks, Barre’s Jeffrey Martin is one trouble-free Sunday afternoon away from his first Thunder Road championship. The veteran enters the event with a 33-point lead over 2014 Champion Tommy “Thunder” Smith of Williamstown. A 10th-place finish in the feature would give Martin the title no matter what Smith does. Martin already has 13 top-10 finishes this year – but anything can happen at any given event.
There will be plenty of other duels to watch throughout the 30-lap Street Stock feature. Jamie Davis, Kasey Beattie, and Dean Switser Jr. are just eight points apart in the fight to finish third overall. There is also a five-driver battle for the final three spots in the top-10 with Juan “Paco” Marshall, Bryan P. Wall, Kasey Collins, Tyler Pepin, and Scott Weston all in the hunt.
The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors round out the card for their 10th event of the year. They come off a thrilling Labor Day doubleheader where Essex Jct.’s Mike Mitchell and Middlesex’s Haidyn Pearce each got their first career wins. Todd Raymo, Chris Davis, Fred Fleury and Dan Garrett are among those expected to try and hold off the division’s best and join the winner’s club.
Barre Granite Association Championship Day gets underway at 1:30pm on Sunday, September 22. The regular season finale includes “Twin 60s” for the Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Models and Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers plus “Twin 30’s” for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. The pits open at 10:00am and the front gates open at 11:45am. Admission is just $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).
For more information, contact the Thunder Road offices at (802) 244-6963, [email protected], or visit www.thunderroadvt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @ThunderRoadVT.
-Thunder Road Press Release
-Photo credit: Alan Ward