Barre, VT — Barre’s Thunder Road and the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) are ready to get back to racing this Saturday, September 14 with the 41st Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic. After a two-week interruption, racers will return to the high banks to battle it out while also celebrating the 60th season of competition at Thunder Road.
The Labor Day Classic was postponed partway through qualifying on Sunday, September 1 after an accident involving two race officials. With both officials making excellent progress in the week that has followed, drivers, teams, and fans are all ready to finish what they started and continue a busy September of racing at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement”.
The ACT Late Model Tour, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors are on the action-packed card for this Saturday. Following the Labor Day Classic, there will be a post-race pit party featuring live music from the 40th Army Band “Iron Sights”. Everyone in attendance is invited to come meet their favorite drivers, swap stories, and reminisce about the past 60 years of Thunder Road racing while looking towards the next 60.
The stakes will be high for every competitor this weekend. The ACT Tour was partway through qualifying at the time of the postponement. After they finish setting the field, the best Late Model racers from around the region will go 200 laps in Thunder Road’s oldest event.
Point leader Rich Dubeau of Plainfield, NH is already off to a strong start. Dubeau unofficially gained two points on challenger Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown in the heat races to get a little padding on his lead. Defending Labor Day Classic winner and current Maplewood/Irving Oil Late Model point leader Jason Corliss of Barre charged from ninth to fifth in his qualifying heat while reigning “King of the Road” Scott Dragon of Milton did the same. In doing so, both served notice they will again be ones to watch come feature time.
Several other big names are geared up to try and put their name on a granite monument. Former Thunder Road and ACT Late Model Champion Nick Sweet of Barre, two-time ACT Champion Scott Payea of Colchester, 2017 “King of the Road” Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, and 2019 Vermont Governor’s Cup winner Brooks Clark of Fayston all looked strong before the postponement. Danville’s Tyler Cahoon, Milton’s Dylan Payea, and E. Bridgewater, MA’s Ryan Kuhn won the heat races to set themselves up for solid starting spots in the feature.
The Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers will go 50 laps in the penultimate event of their 2019 championship chase. Waterbury Center’s Jason Woodard comes into the event with a 29-point lead over rookie Stephen Martin of Craftsbury. Woodard already has captured two titles this year by taking the Myers Container Service Triple Crown Series at Thunder Road and the Flying Tiger Triple Crown Series at N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park. He is now in prime position to go for the trifecta.
He’ll have plenty of challengers on his potential path to victory. Morrisville’s Brandon Lanphear and Waterbury Center’s Kelsea Woodard have both defied the idea of the sophomore slump. Meanwhile, juniors Tyler Austin of East Calais and Jason Pelkey of Barre have blossomed into two of the top racers in the division. Veterans Joe Steffen and Mike Billado of Grand Isle have helped the elder Woodard represent the old guard.
The Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors have had two extra weeks to prepare for their biggest race ever. The inaugural Road Warrior Challenge will be 50 laps of non-stop thrills and excitement for Thunder Road’s entry-level division. Mike Mitchell, Eric Chase, Fred Fleury, Dan Garrett, and Kylar Davis are just some of the drivers already slated to start Saturday’s event.
The 41st Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic gets back underway at 5:00pm on Saturday, September 1. The ACT Late Model Tour goes 200 laps while the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors each have 50-lap features on the card. Racing will be followed by the 60th Season Post-Race Pit Party featuring the 40th Army Band “Iron Sights”. The pits open at 12:00pm and the front gates open at 2:15pm. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under. All ticket stubs and pit bracelets from the original September 1 event will be honored on Saturday.
-Thunder Road Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51