Thunder Road International SpeedBowl

Last updated

Thunder Road International Speedbowl
Thunder Road, "Nation's Site of Excitement"
Location80 Fisher Rd., Barre, Vermont 05641 [1]
Capacity8,000
OwnerCris Michaud and Pat Malone
OpenedJune 30, 1960 [1]
Major events
  • Community Bank 150
  • Memorial Day Classic [1]
  • Vermont Governor's Cup [1]
  • Labor Day Classic [1]
  • Vermont Milk Bowl [1] "The Toughest Short Track Stock Car Race in North America"
Website www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com
Oval
SurfaceAsphalt
Length0.25 miles (0.40 km)
Turns4
Banking18°

Thunder Road International Speedbowl, more commonly known as just Thunder Road, is a .25-mile (0.40 km) high-banked, paved short track speedway located in the town of Barre, Vermont. The track was founded by Ken Squier in 1960. [1] and sold by Squier and co-owner Tom Curley in the spring of 2017 to former Thunder Road track champion Cris Michaud and local businessman Pat Malone. [2] [3] Currently, Thunder Road hosts three weekly divisions: Late Models, Flying Tigers, and Street Stocks. [1] The track is known for hosting its weekly races on Thursday night. [4] As of April 2020, it was one of three active race tracks in Vermont. [1]

Contents

History

Ken Squier envisioned the need for an asphalt track in the area which had been full of dirt tracks. [1] He worked with pavement contractor Reginald Cooley to build the track. [1] Squier operated the track until selling to local businessman Tommy Kalomiris. [1] Kalomiris operated the track for two years; he faced lawsuits in 1978 and the track only ran six events that year. [1] Squier bought the track back in 1979 along with Tom Curley. [1] After running four events in 1981, the duo was forced to shut the track down again due to a lawsuit. [1] They regained control by 1982 and operated it until April 2017. [1] They sold the track to former track champion Cris Michaud and real estate developer Pat Malone. [1]

In 2009, as part of its 50th Season in operation, Thunder Road was visited by NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Bobby Allison.[ citation needed ] Current NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer and David Ragan raced there at different events during the season as well.[ citation needed ]

The track was scheduled to host the second event of the 2023 Superstar Racing Experience season on July 20th, 2023, but the event was moved to Stafford Motor Speedway, the site of the first event of the season, due to the 2023 Vermont floods, with the track being awarded an SRX race in 2024 as a compromise. [5]

Touring Series

In the past, Thunder Road had hosted 22 races of NASCAR North Tour between 1979 and 1985. [6] Winners include Chuck Bown, Robbie Crouch, Randy Lajoie, and Kevin Lepage. [6] After the formation of the American-Canadian Tour in 1986, Thunder Road became sanctioned by the organization as well as host to nearly 150 ACT races between the Pro Stock, Late Model and Flying Tiger tours as of September, 2021. ACT winners include Jean-Paul Cyr, Brian Hoar and Phil Scott. [6] It hosted 7 races of the NASCAR Busch North Series, a feeder series of NASCAR, between 1997 and 2003. [6]

Currently, the track hosts regional touring series including the American Canadian Tour, the Pro All Stars Series and the New England Antique Racers. The track has hosted several high profile drivers from the highest level of NASCAR. On June 28, 2007, NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace raced at Thunder Road. [7] Ken Schrader, another NASCAR driver, had raced once at Thunder Road each of the two years prior to Wallace's visit. In 2009, Tony Stewart made an appearance at the track. [8] Clint Bowyer has raced in the track in 2013. [9] Kyle Busch raced in Vermont in 2017. [10] The next year in 2018, Christopher Bell raced at the highbanks. [11] And most recently, Ryan Preece has visited in 2021. [12] All these drivers making an appearance in the Vermont Governor's Cup, which is run on a Thursday night, which coincides with NASCARs visit to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the weekend. Phil Scott, current governor of Vermont, is a former track champion in 1996, 1998, and 2002. [4]

Milk Bowl

Thunder Road has hosted the "Milk Bowl" Late Model race since 1962. [1] It is the season finale each fall, and consists of three 50-lap segments, with cumulative scoring and full-field inversions between segments. [13] The driver with the highest combined total of finishes in the three segments is declared the winner, receives a loving cup full of milk as the trophy, and is expected to kiss a cow in Victory Circle. [1]

Past track champions (King of the Road)

The title of King of the Road is given to the highest points winner of the top weekly division at Thunder Road. While the other divisions have their respective champions, King of the Road is the most coveted title at Thunder Road. There have been fifty-five Kings of the Road; the one female driver who won the track championship, Tracie Bellerose, was christened the 2000 Queen of the Road. Vermont's governor since 2017, Phil Scott, is a longtime participant in Thunder Road's Late Model series, and is a three-time King of the Road (1996, 1998, 2002).

YearDriverHometownDivision
1960Ronnie MarvinBethlehem, NHSportsman Coupe
1961Roy "Pappy" ForsytheKeene, NHSportsman Coupe
1962Lee IngersonJefferson, NHSportsman Coupe
1963Lee IngersonJefferson, NHSportsman Coupe
1964Harold "Hardluck" HanafordPlymouth, NHSportsman Coupe
1965Harold "Hardluck" HanafordPlymouth, NHSportsman Coupe
1966Larry DemarHarwick, VTFlying Tiger
1967Larry DemarHarwick, VTFlying Tiger
1968Tom TillerEssex Jct., VTFlying Tiger
1969Clement "Desperate" DespaultWaterbury, VTFlying Tiger
1970Bobby GirouxSouth Burlington, VTLimited Sportsman
1971Jean-Paul CabanaSherrington, QCLate Model Sportsman
1972Bobby GirouxSouth Burlington, VTLate Model Sportsman
1973Bobby DragonMilton, VTLate Model Sportsman
1974Joey KourafasSharon, MALate Model Sportsman
1975Dave DionHudson, NHLate Model Sportsman
1976Bobby DragonMilton, VTLate Model Sportsman
1977Dave DionHudson, VTLate Model Sportsman
1978Stanley "Stub" FaddenNorth Haverhill, NHLate Model Sportsman
1979Stanley "Stub" FaddenNorth Haverhill, NHLate Model Sportsman
1980Jean-Paul CabanaSherrington, QCLate Model Sportsman
1981-Track Closed-
1982Joey LaquerreEast Montpelier, VTFlying Tiger
1983Clement "Desperate" DespaultWaterbury, VTFlying Tiger
1984Larry CaronWilliston, VTFlying Tiger
1985Chuck BeedeWilliamstown, VTFlying Tiger
1986Norm AndrewsNorthfield, VTFlying Tiger
1987Dan BeedeWilliamstown, VTFlying Tiger
1988Ron Lamell, JrEssex Jct., VTFlying Tiger
1989Greg "Burger" BlakeEast Barre, VTFlying Tiger
1990Joey Laquerre, Jr.East Montpelier, VTFlying Tiger
1991Dwayne LanphearMorrisville, VTFlying Tiger
1992Chuck BeedeWilliamstown, VTLate Model
1993Chuck BeedeWilliamstown, VTLate Model
1994Chuck BeedeWilliamstown, VTLate Model
1995Dave WhitcombEssex Jct., VTLate Model
1996 Phil Scott Middlesex, VTLate Model
1997Pete FecteauMorrisville, VTLate Model
1998Phil ScottMiddlesex, VTLate Model
1999Brian HoarWilliston, VTLate Model
2000Tracie BelleroseGorham, NHLate Model
2001Cris MichaudNorthfield, VTLate Model
2002Phil ScottMiddlesex, VTLate Model
2003Jamie FisherShelburne, VTLate Model
2004Cris MichaudWilliamstown, VTLate Model
2005Cris MichaudWilliamstown, VTLate Model
2006Chad WheelerWaterbury Ctr., VTLate Model
2007Dave PembrokeMontpelier, VTLate Model
2008Eric WilliamsHyde Park, VTLate Model
2009 Jean-Paul Cyr Milton, VTLate Model
2010Nick SweetBarre, VTLate Model
2011Dave PembrokeMontpelier, VTLate Model
2012Nick SweetBarre, VTLate Model
2013Derrick O'DonnellNorth Haverhill, NHLate Model
2014Derrick O'DonnellNorth Haverhill, NHLate Model
2015Derrick O'DonnellNorth Haverhill, NHLate Model
2016Scott DragonMilton, VTLate Model
2017Bobby TherrienHinesburg, VTLate Model
2018Scott DragonMilton, VTLate Model
2019Jason CorlissBarre, VTLate Model
2020Jason CorlissBarre, VTLate Model
2021Jason CorlissBarre, VTLate Model
2022Christopher PelkeyGraniteville, VTLate Model

Sources

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Fenwick, Adam (April 12, 2020). "Track Of The Day: Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl". Speed Sport . Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  2. "Pair buy Thunder Road". Times Argus. April 19, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  3. "THUNDER ROAD". www.catamountstadium.com. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "Phil Scott scores wire-to-wire victory". Barre-Montpelier (Vt.) Times-Argus. June 14, 2010. Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  5. "SRX Cancels Thunder Road Visit, Awards 2024 Date". Speed Sport. July 13, 2023. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Tracks-Thunder Road International Speedbowl". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  7. "Times Argus Online".
  8. "TONY STEWART COMES TO THUNDER ROAD IN '09 STEWART TO RACE IN VERMONT GOVERNOR'S CUP 150 | New England Racing".
  9. "NASCAR's Clint Bowyer Set to Tackle Thunder Road | the White River Valley Herald". July 4, 2013.
  10. Gallison, Tina (July 3, 2017). "Kyle Busch to Race in Vermont Governor's Cup at Thunder Road". Thunder Road Speedbowl.
  11. "Locals Prepared to Defend Governor's Cup Against NASCAR's Bell".
  12. "Ryan Preece to Enter Vermont Governor's Cup at Thunder Road".
  13. Fitzsimmons, Jack (October 5, 2020). "Corliss Wins 58th Vermont Milk Bowl". WCAX . Retrieved May 2, 2021.

44°10′47.26″N72°29′16.63″W / 44.1797944°N 72.4879528°W / 44.1797944; -72.4879528

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