BARRE – Once again in the 2023 season, Thunder Road drivers, fans and officials battled a rainy forecast with grim outlooks and without giving up. The Super Friday showcased some local talent that calls Thunder Road home every week throughout the summer season, with Super Friday bonuses waiting in victory lane. While rain has pushed the Road Warriors feature back to make it Double Features on championship night, the three championship divisions were able to seal the deal on Super Friday.
Trying to beat out the incoming wet weather, Chris LaForest got the green-flag jump over Matt Ballard to lead the Flying Tiger field. A shocking blow to the season standings, the right front tire on the Sam Caron machine blew on lap-two, sending him pit-side without calling a caution. The first caution would fly for Robert Gordon’s similar tire issue, causing him to stop in turn-three on lap 20. Logan Powers chose the outside lane on the restart with Cooper French to his inside. French cleared Powers on lap 24 leaving a fierce two-by-two-by-two battle for second through seventh behind him. Cooper French strolled away with the $1,000 Super Friday win followed by Cameron Ouellette who took the 0.119-second edge over Logan Powers to round out the podium.
Cameron Powers took the lead quickly at the start of the Street Stocks feature, the final round of their 2023 Triple Crown. Trevor Jaques unofficially led the Triple Crown standings by just 10 points moving into the feature event. After a quick caution for debris on lap-four, Powers again took over the helm with top rookie Ryan Foster with Jaques facing heavy mid-pack traffic. Jaques would go into the spin cycle after coming down on Kyler Davis in turn one giving the unofficial point lead to Dean Switser Jr.
While Switser made the charge to the front, his rear-view mirror was full of Kyler Davis before Juan “Paco” Marshall spun into the turn-three apron to call the final caution with four laps remaining. Although Powers had a handful of racecar under the two-to-go “popsicle sticks,” Cameron Powers claimed the $500 Super Friday win with season-long rival James Dopp second and Tyler Whittemore third with Dean Switser Jr. able to claim the 2023 rk Miles Street Stock Triple Crown.
Hinesburg’s Cooper Bouchard and Claremont, N.H.’s Cody Schoolcraft brought the Late Models to green in their 50-lap feature. With Nick Sweet lathering the pressure on from behind, Schoolcraft gave it his all to pass Bouchard as the two swapped the lead over and over again in the opening laps. The spin for Phil Scott and Darrell Morin brought out the caution on lap 12 with Schoolcraft and Bouchard again heading the double-file restart line. The restart was short-lived with Scott Coburn spinning on the backstretch. This time, Nick Sweet took over from his second-place position to lead lap 19. Ten laps later, Stephen Donahue began a serious challenge for the lead, looking inside Sweet for the lead.
While the two battled up front, point leader Scott Dragon slipped backward on the outside groove mid-pack. As Donahue continued to stalk Sweet just inches from bumper-to-bumper around the Speedbowl, the rain that had evaded the area finally reared its ugly head with a sudden and strong downpour descending on the Thunder Road property on lap-47. The Late Model event is official with Nick Sweet taking the $1,500 win followed by Stephen Donahue and Kyle Pembroke rounding out the top-three.
Late Models – (50 Laps)
4. 86VT, Marcel J. Gravel, Wolcott
9. 01VT, Stephen Martin, Craftsbury Common
Street Stocks – (25 Laps)
7. 34, Patrick Tibbetts, Plainfield
15. 5, Kyle Gravel, Wolcott