BARRE – One of the most iconic cars of the past two decades at Barre’s Thunder Road has a new pilot. Richard Green Racing has announced that Morrisville’s Brandon Lanphear will drive the #16VT Chevrolet with sponsorship from Richard Green Trucking, Green’s Ace Hardware, and Pro Driver Training during the upcoming Late Model season.
Since early 2014, Milton’s Scott Dragon had been behind the wheel of the familiar blue machine. In that time, he won the 2016 and 2018 “King of the Road” titles, along with 12 feature events. However, Dragon recently decided to step away from the #16VT and pursue interests outside of racing.
Now, the 26-year-old Lanphear is taking the reins. Brandon, the son of former track champion Dwayne Lanphear, is coming off a year where he won the Triple Crown Series title and finished fourth in Flying Tiger points.
“We had a team meeting a couple weeks ago and looked over the rosters,” team owner Richard Green said. “We felt that Brandon was probably the best choice among up-and-coming, soon-to-be Late Model drivers who were available. We had a meeting with him a week ago and told him what we were all about, and he’s excited about the chance.”
“We had a great run with Scott,” Green added. “We spent seven years in the hunt for championships. We want to thank him for all his hard work and dedication to our team. We’re still on good terms, and if we ever want to do something later on, we’ll get back together.”
“I’m already excited for the season,” Lanphear said. “It makes a world of difference for me having their knowledge and experience. They’ve been racing for almost 20 years now. They’re definitely a proven team — their stats speak for themselves. It’s really exciting just to have the opportunity to drive a Late Model, and to have it be a good one at that.”
Since 2002, Richard Green Racing has been a constant presence at Thunder Road and on the traveling American-Canadian Tour (ACT). The team debuted with Dave Wilcox as its driver before Joey Becker took over the seat midway through the 2003 season. Becker spent more than 10 years as the team’s weekly Thunder Road racer. Dragon joined the team early in the 2014 season with Becker remaining as a crew member.
Mark Lamberton and Travis Stearns have also piloted Richard Green Racing cars in ACT Late Model Tour competition. Together, RGR drivers have combined for 17 wins at Thunder Road, including victories in the Vermont Governor’s Cup, Labor Day Classic, and Memorial Day Classic.
Lanphear has spent the last three seasons in the Flying Tiger division. He won three features and finished in the top four in points every season. Lanphear also won the Rookie of the Year in the Street Stocks. He has two Late Model starts under his belt, including a 16th-place effort in the most recent Vermont Milk Bowl.
In 2021, the new pairing is set for a full card of weekly racing and special events at Thunder Road. Green also has the Midsummer 250 at White Mountain Motorsports Park and Night Before the 250 event at Oxford Plains Speedway penciled on the team’s calendar.
Thunder Road opens the 2021 racing season on Sunday, May 2, with the 23rd Community Bank N.A. 150. The ACT Late Model Tour and Late Models go 150 laps with the Flying Tigers, Street Stocks, and Road Warriors also on the card. The annual Thunder Road Car Show and an open practice are scheduled for Saturday, May 1.