The 38th running of the Vermont Governor’s Cup 150 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl was a race full of wild action, topsy-turvy pit strategy and a wide variety of leaders. When it was all said and done, the race saw an underdog power by a pre-race favorite with less than 10 laps to go to score his first Governor’s Cup victory.
Bobby Therrien, the Memorial Day Classic winner at Thunder Road earlier this year, had the lead on a late-race restart, leading everyone to believe he would drive away from the field when the green flag waved.
Demers and Therrien put on a spirited battle for about five laps with Therrien doing everything he could possibly do to keep Demers behind him. The only thing Therrien didn’t do was race Demers dirty as he tried to run Demers as wide in the corners as possible to try to keep Demers behind him.
“This track has come in to where there’s two and a half strong lanes,” explained Therrien. “I got him out to the edge of where the rubber is. I’m not going to push him outside of it. Those guys just had a really good car in the end.”
Demers was able to clear Therrien from the outside with less than 10 laps to go and was able to stretch out to a three car-length lead. Therrien closed the gap back to a one car-length lead, but was never able to get close enough to make a last-chance move for the win.
“The reality was my car was stuck. Wherever I put it I was able to stay there,” Demers told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “People could lean on me and try to push me around, but I could actually push back from the outside, and that was the key to the whole thing. I accepted that I was going to get washed up by him in the corners, but I’d have the drive off down the straightaway.”
Demers used that drive to take his first Vermont Governor’s Cup victory. He held off Therrien, Marcel Gravel, Darrell Morin and defending winner Scott Dragon to take the win.
The win was also the eighth of Demers’ career in Late Model competition at Thunder Road.
“This feels exciting and tremendously rewarding,” Demers stated. “Thunder Road is such a difficult race track and I’ve watched Nick Sweet, Derrick O’Donnell and others just make it look easy up here. This year I get to be where they’ve stood so many times and I’m so proud of that.”
For Therrien, a second-place finish was visibly disappointing, but he was classy in defeat. He immediately went to victory lane and congratulated Demers on the hard-fought win.
“My hat’s off to that team. They’ve earned it. To drive right around the outside, I used him up as much as I could, but they were able to drive right by me,” Therrien explained. “To finish second in this race is a huge deal because it’s a good points night for us and the car is in one piece and not many people can say that.”
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch showed dramatic improvement throughout the day in his first career start at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement.” However, after cracking the top 10 late in the race he was involved in an incident that ended his night early and relegated him to a 21st-place finish.
Thursday’s race at Thunder Road was able to be seen live on Speed51.com as part of the Summer Thunder TV series presented by PFC Brakes. An on-demand replay of the event will be available to premium network subscribers soon.
For an on-demand replay of Thursday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by American Racer Tire, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Vermont Governor’s Cup 150
Thunder Road International Speedbowl, Barre, Vermont